On the Fence by Kasie West
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
My first Kasie West book, and what a time for me to read it! This book broke my heart, in the best of ways though. It didn't end sadly - it ended perfectly - but my heart, it hurts. A little background about my situation - a boy broke my heart and doesn't even know it. Or maybe he does. But he didn't do anything, and that's why my heart is broken. The kicker? He's one of my best friends.
Charlie is a hardcore athlete (LOVE! because I'm one too!), with three older brothers and a next door neighbor who might as well by a fourth older brother. Charlie is not girly at all - so, surprise surprise when she starts working at a clothing boutique, and finds herself getting used as a makeup test model, and picking out clothes, and things like that. Charlie feels like guys don't notice her because she isn't a "normal" (read: girly) girl, but she wouldn't have things any other way. When she finds a guy that she likes, things get complicated, because it seems like Charlie harbors some feelings for her neighbor, Braden.
I love best friend romances! I love neighbor romances! This book reminded me of Huntley Fitzpatrick's debut novel, but it was quite different. I love that Charlie is so athletic, not the typical heroine we'd expect in YA novels. I also play lots of sports, and watch lots of sports, so I really liked how present the aspect of sports is in this book. I'm also not girly when it comes to makeup, so I can really relate to Charlie.
I really like Braden! He has his own voice in this book, despite there being so many characters (especially males). I feel like we get a good feel of Braden, and he is swoony. Kasie West captures the teenage boy really well! Although, most of the hardcore male athletes that I know are more of the player-and-kinda-jerk type. The Guy that I mentioned? He's a hardcore athlete at the university. Trust me when I say I know what I'm talking about.
This book has a beautifully written romance. It's not overbearing, overwhelming, etc. There are barely any physical scenes between Charlie and Braden, and yet, it's so clear to readers that the two of them share feelings for each other, but neither of them want to act on them. Neither character are SUPER jealous or ridiculous, but they're jealous and ridiculous enough for readers to cheer for them when they one-up each other. Yes, I'm competitive like that - so are Charlie and Braden!
This book is more than just a romance though! There are "tough issues" present in this book - both Charlie and Braden have demons they need to handle. The "tough issues" aspect isn't heavy though, so that was nice. You all know how I hate the heavy stuff.
In this book, Charlie and Braden play this game where they try to one-up each other, in terms of who knows the other better. Like, they exchange facts about each other. Charlie knows that Braden doesn't like guys who wears loafers. Braden knows that Charlie doesn't like when girls wear pants with sparkly letters printed on the butt. This is such a beautiful part of the book - the exchanges occur during their nightly fence chats. It made me a little sad though, because The Guy and I know each other super well, and we used to hash out personal tiny little details about each other, like Charlie and Braden.
I loved the romance. I loved the story. I loved the nightly fence chats. I love the characters. The character development is really nice - you can see how Charlie grows in this story, physically and mentally. There are a lot of great relationships in this book, including friend-friend, sibling-sibling (older-younger, heh), father-child, friend-friend-turned-boyfriend-girlfriend... this book was so great. I definitely want to check out West's other three novels! And I'll be following her for upcoming novels!
So I mentioned that this book broke my heart - in a good way. When I finished, I almost cried, because I wished so much that things could work out for me (in terms of The Guy) like they worked out for Charlie and Braden. This novel is sooo well-written, and the story spoke to me, it made me heartsick. In a good way though - perhaps I need this story to keep going, if that makes sense. Anyway.
What I Did Not Like:
This isn't really a complaint or a "bad thing", but I wanted MOAR CHEMISTRY between a certain two characters :D
Would I Recommend It:
YES! Contemporary fan or not, this is a really well-written novel. I usually dislike contemporary novels (they're too fluffy or too cliche or I hate the heroine, etc.), but this one is definitely a good one. If you liked My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, you'll LOVE this one!
4 stars. I really liked this novel! My Kasie West cherry is popped, heh. I feel like this will be the year in which I read a ton of YA contemporary novels, and I'll really enjoy them! It's already happening, I'm turning into a contemporary convert.
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