Okay, so it wasn’t until I already started the book that I realized it wasn’t actually going to be set in Paris. There are mentions of Paris, and it’s extremely full of the French language, so this may be a bit of a stretch for a Paris Month selection. 😉 (It’s also currently only $2.99 for Kindle & Kobo so click the links below to check it out!)
Coming from a family who is obsessed with not only baseball, but specifically the Cubs, Abby was determined to become fluent in French at an intense summer college course away from home. So the last thing she was expecting was to fall for her French class partner, a guy who wears nothing but baseball paraphernalia. But Abby prefers French Zeke, because English Zeke is different and she’s sure he’s hiding something from her.
I generally approach romantic contemporary YA novels cautiously, because I’ve read some that are fantastic and some that are just not so good. I’m glad to say that this falls under the former category! While the premise may seem familiar.. girl meets boy, girl shouldn’t like boy, girl finds she likes boy… this one felt a bit more unique to me. Maybe because I’ve had baseball fever with the Blue Jays and everything, but I loved that spin on this plot. That being said, I felt it really heavy on the baseball at times, and Abby’s reactions of pure hatred towards the sport felt a little over-the-top dramatic. The chemistry between the two characters felt so compelling to read, especially when she was with French Zeke. I don’t blame Abby for her feelings towards English Zeke, however, because his character motivations and actions did seem, well, out of character. In hindsight, it really did feel like a completely different guy and not all of his behaviour quite adds up still.
I loved the infusion of the French language into so much of the book too. Because part of their class requirements was to spend 80 hours of conversation, there was a lot of back and forth with English and the corresponding French translation – which made me feel like I was also brushing up on my own conversational French as well.
A less prominent, but equally important, dynamic in the book was Abby’s friendship with her roommate Alice. I appreciate Blitt writing such a strong and supportive female friendship dynamic as she did with these two characters. So often books focus on the love relationships (or lack thereof), and the friendship relationships are virtually non-existent or not pertinent to the plot. This was not the case for The Distance from A to Z, and I enjoyed that part so much.