Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: ON THE FENCE by Kasie West

Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publication date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: an e-galley provided by the publisher for an honest review

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.

A lot of authors try to be The Great One in fun, YA contemporaries. There are so many superb authors out there. I have my favorites, but I have come to a solid conclusion. Kasie West succeeds. When it comes to summery books, she's your woman. 

Others try. 
While this wouldn't be my favorite West novel, it still doesn't disappoint. The main character Charlie is  the only girl in her family of brothers and single father. She's sporty, one of the guys, and her connection as a narrator doesn't waver for me. Their lifelong friend and neighbor has felt like one of the brothers, but as to be expected, Charlie's and Braden's perspectives of each other changes as situations unfold. 

I have to admit that I'm a sucker for these kind of stories. The next-door neighbor romance, the tomboy, the girl with lots of brothers; it instantly appeals to me. These stories also have predictability, but when they're fun and written by Kasie West, it's completely fine with me. Call me bias, I don't care. 

Charlie starts becoming interested in hot Evan, a cardboard cutout character, after her new job and discovery of makeup. I see it in the way of Evan solely being in the story to move things along. His presence pushes Braden's feelings to come to play, to get Charlie a new outlook, and to push Charlie to feel okay with putting effort into her looks. He's basically a stepping stone in Charlie's life and while he didn't impress me as a character, he was necessary to the story. 

I wish we knew more about Charlie's brothers. For the longest time, I couldn't remember who was who, except for possibly Gage. I would've liked to see their personalities come through a little more. The only thing we truly know is that they're incredibly sporty, include and love Charlie, and are protective. Here's the gray area: some bloggers have ranted about how sexist the brothers are. While I can see why they think that, as a girl who has a protective big brother and father, I see it as love. I'm all about WOMAN POWER! and not treating women as if they're naive, weak, or unequal. But they were being brothers. In my opinion and from what I can remember, I thought they were being sweet. Maybe if they had come across stronger to me I would have felt differently. But I saw it as innocent.

Just like with The Distance Between Us, I loved the interaction with the two lovebirds. I still believe that the greatest relationships are friend-based and that's what Charlie and Braden have.

"I already told you to stop reading me."
"I can read you because I know you better."
"In your dreams."
"Yes, you've been there, too."

It wasn't as if the whole book was perfect, there were annoyances and I nitpicked certain areas. I still wasn't disappointed though. It was fun. Summery. Cute. Romantic. Stable. Another Kasie West novel. 

Verdict: I only hate that I don't have another Kasie West book to binge immediately afterwards.

Quotes and other elements may change after publication.


  1. I enjoyed On the Fence as well! It was a very cute contemporary romance. I loved the relationship that Charlie and Braden develop, but I especially loved the dynamic of the brothers. Honestly, I've always wanted that (older brothers) for myself so it was fun to read about!

  2. I've seen so much love for this story so it doesn't surprise me you liked it, too, Summer. Falling for someone you've known for a long time, the boy next door is an appealing type of romance. I'll have to check this out. Great review! :)

  3. I LOVED THIS BOOK. It actually is my favorite of hers because I connected with Charlie the most. Omg, see, that's why I rarely read reviews for books I love so much - SEXIST? Wtf? I'll just assume those people don't have much experience around regular guys.

  4. I (*feels guilty*) haven't brought myself to read a Kasie West book quite yet, but I'll definitely have to try one! And honestly, I'll agree - I am a sucker for these kinds of books with the brothers and the tomboy and the romance...
    Great review, Summer!

  5. On The Fence isn't my favourite Kasie West novel (XANDER AND CAYMEN 5EVER) but it's definitely great for a lazy summer afternoon read!! It's cute, it's predictable, it's the kind of book to pick up when you're craving for something fluffy to fill the empty day :)) Agree completely with all you've said in your review, and I can't wait for the next contemporary by Kasie West!

    Alicia @ Summer Next Top Story

  6. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one - it's terrible when an author's second book doesn't live up to his or her first. I won't be picking it up because 1. I couldn't bring myself to get past the first 50 pages of The Distance Between Us because the writing style annoyed me, and 2. CAN WE STOP with the characters who "don't know how to be girls," please? THERE IS NO SET WAY TO BE A GIRL. But that doesn't mean that I don't want other people to love this title, so I'll stop ranting now and finish my commenting spree.

  7. I swear I'm gonna read this book this week. I'm not too thrilled about the Evan character, but I figure I can get through it. I love KW, but sometimes she skirts those love triangle lines that drive me crazy. :P But I'm a sucker for friends-to-more romances too (so much better than insta-love), and KW has yet to fail me. Lovely review, Summer!

  8. I hate that I don't have another Kasie West book waiting for me, too. I really liked this one, might be my favorite. Or it might be tied with Pivot Point. Not sure. I'd have to read them both again to decide. Hey, now THERE's an idea! :D

  9. It does sound like the story could stand to flesh out the family characters a little more. (That seems to be the case in a lot of YA.) Still, it does indeed sound "summery." :) Thanks for the great review!