Review: A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley

Posted 13 June, 2013 by Gabbie in Review / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from ARCycling in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn HeasleyA Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley
Publisher: HarperTeen on June 5, 2012
Source: ARCycling
Pages: 336
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For too long, Kitsy has had to satisfy her dreams of becoming a real artist by giving her friends makeovers before prom. So when her best friend Corrinne's family offers to sponsor her for a summer art course in New York City, Kitsy bids a temporary good-bye to Texas to say hello to the West Village.

Between navigating the subway and the New Yorkers—namely, the Art Boy who has a nice trick of getting under her skin—Kitsy knows that this summer is going to be about a lot more than figure drawing.


Favorite Quote(s):

“’There’s nothing like Broken Spoke either, Kitsy. Just because you’re from a small town doesn’t mean that you’re small. Don’t ever think anyone’s more important than you are or has more valid experiences.’”

Favorite Character: Kitsy.
First Line:

“I remember where I was when I leaned about Santa Claus: in my parents’ closet.”

My Musings: A Long Way From You has been sitting on my shelves for a few months now. The reason I wanted to read it was its cover, in addition to the fact that I read and loved Heasley’s Where I Belong. A Long Way From You follows Kitsy Kidd as she travels to New York City to attend a selective summer art course. Kitsy has always lived in the small town of Broken Spoke, Texas, where the most exciting things were the football games at her high school. And although Kitsy was contented with the life that she was living there, she couldn’t help but wonder if there was more; and luckily, she found that there was, in New York.

I really enjoyed Kitsy’s character. She was a sweetheart who cared about others, to the point of somewhat neglecting herself. She developed a lot over the course of the novel. She grew up and matured, and she was able to come to terms with the life that she was living. And although she made some not-so-great decisions along the way, what matters was the end result. And in the end, Kitsy’s life took a turn for the better. She was a very relatable character in that she had small beginnings yet was able to make something of herself. Her love and passion for the art that she created was inspiring; and even though she may have lost touch with that passion in parts of the novel, she was able to gain it back.

The secondary characters also had great affects on Kitsy and her journey. Tad was a little sketchy to me. For some reason, I just couldn’t connect well with his character. But he did get Kitsy to put herself out there in the big city, and that’s what started her transformation. Annika was another character that I wasn’t sure about. She seemed really superficial for almost the entire novel, and we only saw a glimpse of her real character at the very end of the novel. Kiki was a favorite of mine. Although we didn’t read much about him directly, it was cute to see the way that he and Kitsy interacted with one another. Kitsy was truly a great big sister, and she really stepped up to the plate when necessary. Kiki’s love for his sister was super sweet, and it made the novel that much more realistic. Hands was a character that I wish I could have read more about. I feel as if he had more influence over who Kitsy was and why she went to New York than we were able to see. It would have been nice to learn more about their relationship and such, but alas, no such luck. And Corrinne. I really wish that there was more Corrinne in this novel. Although she and Kitsy are complete opposites, their dynamics were amazing. Their friendship seemed completely genuine, and I feel as if although Corrinne was a bit overbearing, she was just the type of friend that Kitsy needed. I wish we also heard more about Corrinne as well. For the little that we did see her, she was a very dynamic and deep character.

There wasn’t that much outright romance in this novel. Although there was an ongoing relationship between Kitsy and Hands, which had lasted for five years, the novel was more about Kitsy finding herself and doing what was good for her. So I can say that if you’re looking for a super romance filled novel, this one is not for you.

I also enjoyed the world building in this novel. This novel was mainly set in New York City, where dreams are realized. I think that this setting was an integral part of the novel. Kitsy came for the opportunities that the city held, and without the city, the novel wouldn’t have been the same. I loved that Heasley detailed different and unique parts of the city. It kept it personal and intimate instead of just describing main tourist parts on NYC that you would expect.

Healsey’s writing style is one that I fall in love with every time that I read one of her novels. It has a smooth flow; even with the typos that are common in ARCs, the novel flowed like silky smooth milk. The story progressed at just the right pace, with something every once in a while to stir up predictability. We definitely got to know the characters as the novel went on, giving the whole book a more personal feeling.

I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys coming of age novels. As stated, this novel wasn’t heavy on the romance, but it was a great novel about a girl realizing that she could be whoever she wanted to be. A Long Way From You was a warming, heartfelt novel about realizing and attaining dreams.

4 Stars

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