Friday, July 18, 2014

On the Fence by Kasie West [Review]

On the Fence4.5 out of 5 Robots!

On the Fence by Kasie West
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release: July 1, 2014
Hardcover:  304 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Copy: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. 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.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
Kasie West's books are the perfect sort of contemporary YA that isn't over the top or twee.  Her characters are funny and real and you can't help but root for them. On the Fence is no exception.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  It was neither too light or too heavy and felt grounded in all the right spots.  The characters are interesting and fun and don't veer too heavily into cliche territory.

I especially loved Charlie.  Having three older brothers (plus one older honorary one) and no mother means Charlie feels much more comfortable being "one of the guys".  She is a tomboy and mystified by all things she considers "girly".  But at the same time, there is a part of her that yearns to understand it even if she turns her nose up at the idea of dresses, makeup and shopping.  I loved Charlie's journey into the unknown world of femininity.  But what I liked most about it was this wasn't a ugly duckling kind of story.  Charlie's problems are not solved by wearing makeup.  Most of Charlie's insecurities come from within.  She worries how she will be perceived by her guy friends, but also by her new girl friends.  Mostly, she worried that becoming more of a "girly girl" will make her lose some of her sports cred and that she won't be able to really be herself if she is trying to be a typical girl.

The romance is also sweet, if not a tad bit bland.  It takes a long time for Charlie to figure out what to do about her feelings for Braden, but overall it was a decent romance.  But really I was more interested in everything else going on:  Charlie figuring herself out, making new friends, dealing with the death of her mother, and her relationship with her brothers.  Those things really drove the story for me.  The romance was just icing on the cake.

If you haven't checked out Kasie West's books, you should! If you like easy and fun romances, check out The Distance Between Us.  If you like paranormal-y type stories, check out her Pivot Point duology.

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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