A Long Way from You by Gwendolyn Heasley
336 Pages (Paperback)
June 5, 2012
Source: Little Bird Publicity
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.
A Long Way from You is the companion novel to Heasley's Where I Belong. Since the novels are companions, not a series, it is not necessary to read the first before diving into this one
Kitsy has always dreamed of escaping her small Texan town and going to New York to find herself. When the opportunity arises to study art at a prestigious school over the summer, Kitsy has to go. See loves the experience of the city: seeing the sites and finding herself in her art. However, she soon discovers that the trip will change how she views a lot of things. How will this new outlook effect her life and her relationships? Will it be for the better?
My major problem that I had with this novel was that everything works out. I know I sound very pessimistic when I say that as a bad thing, but it is more an issue with being realistic. I have very little problems casting away the idea of being "realistic" with novels that have fantasy/sci-fi/etc. elements to the plot, but with a contemporary, I find myself being more particular. All the characters just become so... enlightened. They see the wrong that they've done, they are all apologetic or realize something huge that makes them reassess their lives. Sure, these things do happen, but not to every character in a plot.
That being said, sometimes you just want to read a book where everything works out. There were a lot of really great lines in this novel, if you can ignore the fact that teenagers wouldn't actually come up with them, you can really enjoy the story. It is a very quick read and the language and content could appeal to a younger audience. It is very clean and polite but possesses some interesting views on art and life.
It definitely has that small town appeal. What I mean is, an essential part of the novel is Kitsy discovering New York and being wowed by everything she sees. I felt like her friend (not as obnoxious) because living in CT, I see those types of things all the time. Seeing NYC through Kitsy's point of view was interesting, but someone who has not really witnessed the city for themselves would appreciate it more than I did.
So if you are looking for a fun, quick contemporary, A Long Way from You would be a good choice.