Review: A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley

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.

I want Kitsy Kidd to be my best friend! Seriously, she’s adorable. She’s outgoing and friendly, and she talks to so many strangers in New York City that I kept waiting for something bad to happen to her, like someone stealing her purse or kidnapping her and selling her into sex slavery. She does take the wrong subway train, once, and ends up in New Jersey.

This is a companion book to Where I Belong. At first I was a little disappointed that Corrine, the main character from Where I Belong, wasn’t in NYC with Kitsy for more than a few days at the beginning and end of Kitsy’s stay, but I soon got over that. I liked Corinne okay, but I loooooved Kitsy. A few characters tell Kitsy “this is something you have to do on your own,” referring to going to an all-night diner and entering a secret garden area, and they’re right. Kitsy needs to experience NYC (mostly) on her own, without Corinne guiding her everywhere.

And she does. She shows no fear, going to parties (with Corinne’s friends) and museums and meeting people everywhere she goes. She’s embarrassed but she takes it in stride when her art professor singles her out for criticism, and she learns from it. By the end of the book, she’s a better artist than she was when she started. She struggles, she has fun, and she learns.
This book isn’t the traditional romance you might expect from the cover; Kitsy already has a boyfriend back home in Broken Spoke, Texas. It’s so much better than that. It’s about Kitsy discovering who she is and where she wants to go in life.

This is a fast read. I finished it in one night. It’s not necessary to read Where I Belong before you read this one. All you really have to know is that Kitsy and Corinne met when Corinne spent some time in Broken Spoke after her father lost his job and that Corinne’s mother is originally from the Spoke. I do recommend Where You Belong, though. I didn’t write a review, but I gave it four stars on Goodreads. Corinne loses a star because she’s not as easy to like as Kitsy.

Kitsy’s favorite painting above is The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh.