Book Review

Review: Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

Keeping the Distance (I Heart Iloilo #1) by Clarisse David
I Heart Iloilo # 1
Publish date: February 6, 2017
Amazon | Goodreads

No bets. No fake relationships. Just a very real one that has to be kept under wraps.

Seventeen-year-old Melissa wants to dye her hair cotton candy pink and focus on her ukulele instead of Physics. But she can’t. As the daughter of a Catholic school principal, living up to her model student image 24/7 is a must. Something’s about to give under all the pressure. She only hopes it isn’t her.

Getting involved with a troublemaking basketball player is the last possible thing she needs…

Lance is used to getting what he wants. With a pretty face he uses to full advantage and his role as co-captain of the basketball team, the easy way is the only way he’s ever known. Until the day he notices the prim Melissa he’s known forever is actually hot and decides to ask her out. He has no idea he’s about to learn the lesson of a lifetime.

Not getting what he wants might exactly be what he needs.

Let me start this review with the first line of the book:

The moles on the back of Melissa Ortiz’s neck resembled the Big Dipper, a cluster of seven stars that sometimes graced the night sky.

When I read this, I thought, “Wow, I wish I wrote that.”

Keeping the Distance was the story of Lance and Melissa, a mismatched pair from St. Agnes Catholic Academy. Melissa was top of her class, and the daughter of the principal, so she had this reputation to keep. Lance was a jock, and a campus heartthrob, and he had that reputation to keep, too. What started as a personal challenge for him to woo Melissa and make her fall for him turned into something that he didn’t expect, leading to tons of witty banter, pranks, and finally, falling in love.

The entire book was captivating with the banter and the  entire love/hate plot, which Clarisse had shown such deftness from her first book. Having the book set firmly in Iloilo gave another kind of flavor into the book, without alienating anyone who hasn’t been to the city yet. I think my decision was right to read it while I was in Iloilo, and it thrilled me when I recognized the places that she mentioned. But even if I read this without going there, I wouldn’t have minded and this would have made me want to go.

I love how the world felt so real, how the pressures Melissa felt was relatable, and how the two leads kept on crashing against each other until they finally clicked. The conflict would make you sympathize with the two characters a lot, and would make you want to root for them especially when Lance started being a darling. The surrounding characters provided the right balance and friction to the plot. My favorite is Jace, Lance’s best friend. Gotta love a guy who’s a bit of a germophobe. 😉

It was fun reading Keeping the Distance, and finishing it gave me warm fuzzies while I was in a tricycle while we were touring Guimaras. 😉 This made me miss reading contemporary YA, and I’m so glad to know that there are more books coming soon in this series. More please, definitely.

If you’ve been looking for YA books by Filipino authors set in the Philippines (and not in Manila), don’t miss this!

Also by Clarisse: Prom Queen Perfect

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