“He really liked her. More than he’d ever liked any girl. Maybe more than he’d ever like anyone.
One of my goals this year as a reader aside from reading my ever-growing to-be-read piles of books on my shelf is to discover new works written by my fellow Filipino authors.
Clarisse did not disappoint.
I first met her during the YA talk facilitated by Ms. Ines last year and even then, she already had the aura of a promising writer.
“Keeping the Distance” proved that.
It showcased the author’s wit and inpeccable knowledge of the English language and of how to manipulate the reader’s feelings—a mark of a true writer. One moment I was laughing, the next I was pissed at Mel, mad at her dad, sad that they have to hide just to be together. A lot of different emotions had been invoked in reading this for two days (because work got in the way of my reading time *sigh*)
I especially love her writing style, and the metaphor she used all throughout.
Here are my favorites:
“He realized Melissa was pretty the same way he sometimes caught himself singing along to a song he didn’t even like on the radio.” -Chapter 1
“She could read the expression on his face like the well-worn pages of her favorite book.” -Chapter 12
“…his whole body turned toward her, like she was the sun and he was a dumb plant straining for a bit of light.” -Chapter 17
She kept the ‘galaxy’ thing consistent too. Like these:
“…they’d sat next to or behind one another since Grade One, forever orbiting but never colliding.” -Chapter 1
“That outline alone tilted his world on its axis.” -Chapter 4
“His mind drifted back to Melissa’s moles, the Big Dipper on the universe of her skin, and he almost laughed at himself.” -Chapter 2
As a sucker for enemies-to-lovers trope, I had fun reading Lance and Melissa’s story. Their banters are so rich, natural and humorous. Though I would normally roll my eyes at pick-up lines, I found myself actually laughing at whatever Lance spouted just to get Mel’s attention. (Yes, Mel…let’s leave the pick-up lines to Lance, okay? The fart one had me snorting, hahaha).
Many might find the plot a total cliché—playboy falling for someone who wouldn’t give him the time of day, yadda yadda. But the twist was that Mel was the daughter of their school’s uber strict principal. Just imagine the complications if they were caught dating. So Mel’s fear of disappointing her father is justified all throughout.
I also loved how Lance was able to turn a new leaf. This is what I always look forward to finding out in these kinds of stories: how a ‘bad boy’ would change for the better for the person he loves so dearly. It was clearly shown in this story—in Lance’s words, his thoughts, his actions. I couldn’t help but appreciate all his efforts—big and small. And the fact that he even had to ask for his sister’s opinion in the situation he was in, made him adorable.
Perhaps the only thing I found that wasn’t justified enough was how quick Mel fell for Lance. Sure, he was irresistible and all the girls have the hots for him. But after getting her into trouble for a couple of times, even getting them both to report to her farher’s office, I was expecting her to be more reluctant to date him. I was actually hoping she’d keep rejecting his advances just to put him in his place and all that. But then again, on hindsight, for a young adult, that would be too much for Lance to handle? I mean, the girl he was pining for is the daughter of their school’s highest authority. It would have been an overkill hehehe.
Things I’m looking forward to after reading this would be Hunter and Cam (I couldn’t get over her comment on his ice cream-eating skill); and Jace, the germophobe’s story (if he’s getting any, I hope so!).
And perhaps a new story from the author soon 🙂