Book Review

Book Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Contemporary romance
Length: 293 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

LIGHT & HEAVY READING.

I picked this up because the audio is only 6 hours long and I needed something short while I waited for some holds. I’ve been into Kasie West books lately and am slowly working my way through them. This was a cute read, but definitely had some heavier subject matter than I originally thought going in (it will be mentioned in my Trigger Warning section at the bottom!).

I did not love Charlie at first. She lacked empathy and the ability to hold her tongue when it was truly necessary. As her character changed and grew over the book, it just made me want to give her a hug. Charlie had a lot to learn and allowing herself to be open to new situations and trying new things really helped her. I loved seeing that she stayed sporty/more tom-boyish while also finding her more feminine side. You can be both (and whatever combination of the two) you want to be, and I appreciate that this book gave off that impression. Also the impression that you should never feel like you have to change yourself to be with someone. That someone is not for you.

Absolutely loved her brothers. Oh wow, I live for a good family dynamic in the background of the plot. Charlie’s brothers were a bit protective, but real and kind to her. They had her back and were funny to listen to with their ridiculous antics. Braden, the best friend, was cute and a generic good guy, but I still enjoyed his character. I liked the way the romance played out between the two (even if it was a little too fluffy at the end for me).

What was a big surprise for me was the sub-plot about Charlie’s Mom. Charlie copes throughout the book about losing her Mom through a car accident. She continually struggles to find a balance with letting go and holding on to her Mom. The way her mother truly died tore me up. A trigger warning [but I know some consider it a spoiler, so skip this next little bit if you’d like!]: she passed away from suicide. And it brought out a much darker/heavier side to the story I wasn’t quite expecting.

These stories are easy, if not cliche. And that’s okay for me. I know going into them that things will be pretty typical for a contemporary young adult romance. I like the fluff and the light nature of them. I plan to keep working through her books and see if I can find any other gems I love (i.e. P.S. I Like You).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: car wreck; see Trigger section
  • Trigger warnings: car wreck, suicide (mother passes away from purposely crashing her car); domestic abuse (Braden is hit by his Father)

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