Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... On the Fence by Kasie West

Monday, June 30, 2014

Just Finished Reading ... On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence
by Kasie West
To be published on July 1, 2014
by Harper Teen

Source: Thanks to Harper for allowing me to read an e-galley.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
My take:  I'm a big fan of Kasie West, and this book did not disappoint! However, I think the synopsis (above) makes this book sound way more breezy and superficial than it actually is. Yes, part of the story includes a sweet romance, a "friends become more than friends" kind of thing, and Charlie's secret job.  But at the core of On the Fence is a moving story about a girl who has been trying to come to terms with something really sad and difficult, and how she works through that to become a stronger person. (Since the synopsis doesn't mention what this is, I won't either, but I thought it was really well done and added a lot of emotional depth to the story.)

Like another of my favorite YA contemporary writers, Sarah Dessen, Kasie West does a great job at portraying family dynamics in a realistic way. Charlie is a tomboy, the only girl in a family of brothers. If you've spent any time around real teenage guys, you'll see that Charlie's brothers are really true to life -- loud, gross, obnoxious, competitive, but underneath it all, kind of endearing and sometime surprisingly sensitive.  Charlie also has a great relationship with her dad, which I loved.

Charlie's a tomboy, and one part of the plot of On the Fence deals with her having to pay a speeding ticket by working at a boutique. In doing so, she makes some friends who are girls and learns that, while it's great to be a tomboy and an athlete, part of the fun of being a girl can also be trying out some makeup or -- gasp! -- a shirt with flowers on it.

Okay, to the romance. It was a little more slow-paced and subtle than I expected, but really sweet. I loved watching Charlie try to sort out her feelings for not one but two guys. What I think I loved most about Charlie is that she was open to trying new things but managed to stay true to herself. Yes, she might have put on a little mascara now and then, but she didn't change who she was for a boss or a guy or anyone.

If you're already a Kasie West fan, I think you'll enjoy this. And if you haven't tried one of her books, and you love authors like Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins and Huntley Fitzpatrick -- what are you waiting for??

25 comments:

  1. I'm so happy you liked this one! I loved it to pieces!
    Great review, Jen!
    Lis @ The reader lines

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  2. I just commented on wanted to see your thoughts and yay so happy you enjoyed it.

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  3. I haven't read anything by Kasie just yet, but I'll fix that this summer. I'm actually glad that this book is more than the blurb gives off. I love the sound of this even more now. So glad you enjoyed this one. Great review, Jen :)

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  4. I reviewed On the Fence this past week. I'm so glad to see that you enjoyed it. I just love Kasie West. Every single book I've read by her has sucked me in and this one was no different. Great review!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

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  5. I loved this one, as well as everything else Kasie West has written. I have a slight author crush. :D Glad you enjoyed this one, Jen!

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  6. This does sound more like a fluffy read but I'm glad there's more to it. Is there a love triangle? You mentioned feelings for two guys.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Not really. One guy is interested in her, but she's not sure she's into him, and then she realizes she does have feelings for the other guy...

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  7. I really liked On the Fence too! But, if I'm being honest, I love the Distance Between Us more. I relate to both Caymen and Charlie, but Caymen just a little bit more.

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    1. Ahh - I fogrot to say in my review that Caymen makes a cameo :)

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  8. I loved all the romantic AND non-romantic aspects of the book. My favorite aspect was the family relationship. Charlie, her brothers and her dad were all such wonderful characters and I loved their dynamics!

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    1. I loved this family too.Those brothers were hilarious....

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  9. I enjoyed their family dynamics as well, and I agree, romance developed pretty slowly, but I think that is a pleasant change

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  10. I've seen this book everywhere and I mostly see positive reviews too. Since you're already a fan, I'm glad that this book exceeded your expectations and it gave you more than a fluffy read (although those ones are great too!) Awesome review, Jen :)

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  11. Subtle, sweet romance sounds great to me! I have heard such good things about this author's romances, but I still haven't tried any yet. Summer sounds the perfect time to remedy that. ;)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  12. Loved this one... The romance was so sweet and I loved her brothers. :) Great review.

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  13. Love the friends that become more than friends plot. So freaking adorable, this book. Yes, if you haven't tried a Kasie West novel yet, why not?

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  14. Oh, I really loved this one! I've loved all of her books. I fell into Kasie West pretty hard and fast. She is pretty much instant-read for me and I love that!

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  15. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!! It wasn't just adorable and cute, it was soulful and beautiful, in my opinion :) I hadn't read a Kasie West book before... suddenly, I'm finding myself obtaining both Pivot Point and The Distance Between Us (and hopefully Split Second too)! YAY Kasie West!

    Excellent review, Jen!!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  16. Now that my review is up I could come back here and read yours. :) I really loved this story. I loved that Charlie is a tomboy, but I think I loved the chats over the fence and her brothers. They really made the story for me.

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  17. Awesome! I like when an element of the book is hidden from its readers. Such a joyous wonder when you find it.

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