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June 5, 2012

Book Review and Q & A with Gwendolyn Heasley, author of A Long Way from You

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age: Young Adult
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.
It has been a while since I read contemporary young adult novel, but I really enjoyed A Long Way from You by Gwendolyn Heasley.

Kitsy Kidd is a Texan girl who lives with her mother and her little brother Kiki. She's captain of the cheerleaders and has been dating the quarterback since sixth grade. She's very sweet, mature and likes art, so when she has the opportunity to spend one month in New York city and attend summer classes at Parsons, she can't miss it.

Kitsy was a great character, very realistic. She is experiencing a whole new world and meets a lot of new people, totally different from her. She wants to enjoy her trip, but her journey ended up being more a revelation to herself than she thought. She is a really nice girl and obviously New York tried to eat her, but she was stronger that anyone and managed to be true to herself after all.

I think I liked her more because she kind of reminded me at that age. Sometimes you don't know what to do when you face the world, but in the end if you follow your heart you will succeed. I devoured her story, it was easy to read and even when sometimes I wanted her to choose different, in the end it left me with a good feeling.

I definitely recommend A Long Way from You by Gwendolyn Heasley, specially for contemporary young adult readers, you will enjoy Kitsy's story and it's refreshing to find a young adult novel that concentrates on the character more than the romance. Obviously, if you already read about Kitsy's best friend Corrinne from the book Where I Belong, you can miss this one.

Questions and Answer with author Gwendolyn Heasley

Describe you book in 5 words: Country girl explores the city

What or who inspired you to write this book?

I also moved from a small city (Columbia, Missouri) to Manhattan, so I empathize with Kitsy’s experience. But Kitsy inspired her own story. After writing WHERE I BELONG, I didn’t feel “done” with Kitsy, who was a minor character in that book. I wanted her to have a chance to tell her own story, so that’s the true inspiration behind A LONG WAY FROM YOU.

Who is your favorite character from this book?

There’s a new character Annika Fox, who is from Minnesota, which is where I grew up. I loved writing about Minnesota through her but my real favorite character (other than Kitsy) is Tad. Tad is the older, mysterious musician. I liked seeing and writing him through Kitsy’s eyes, but I also liked that I knew who he was outside of Kitsy. That’s the most fun part of being an author: knowing more than you write and choosing what does and doesn’t go into the book.

What did you enjoy the most while writing this book?

Finishing it! That is my favorite part because after it’s finished, I finally get to share it. I love getting reader feedback, both the good and the bad. It helps me understand my strengths and weakness as a writer, plus I just love the fact that the book is out there for people to read.

Give us a recommendation! What should we read next?

I’m currently in love with Sara Pennypacker’s Summer of the Gypsy Moths. It takes place in Cape Cod and tastes of summer…And it’s got a great friendship story in it.


  1. Aww, this sounds like a really cute book ! :)
    I've never heard of this author before, but this book sounds like a light, but enjoyable book. It seems that you really liked it, Gabby. :)
    I'm going to have to give it a shot someday !
    Lovely review, Gabby.

  2. I like the idea of having a secondary character in one book get their own story in another. How fun. Thanks for the review and interview. I'm glad you loved it!


  3. Aw, this looks really sweet! I love character driven contemporary novels. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sounds like a great main character, I always enjoy when I see myself in a character.
    Thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog