July 3, 2014

On the Fence - Kasie West

On the Fence - Kasie West
On the Fence by Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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.

There are just times when it's a good idea to indulge in a cute, fluffy contemporary read. I hadn't read a Kasie West book before, but everyone who's read On the Fence (or her other fluffy contemporary prior to this, The Distance Between Us) has said that she's really good. So, during the busy-ness of BEA week, I started this one.

My favorite aspect of On the Fence are the relationships West portrays in it. I'm not just referring to the budding romance between Charlie & Braden. I'm also talking about Charlie's other relationships - with her father, her big brothers, her new friends and her new boss. Oh, and the relationships that these characters have with each other as well (especially those four boys, because that friendship is totally adorable!).

West handles these relationships with a deft hand. They all feel believable, because there are nuances in each inside joke and memory. In addition to that, West doesn't paint them all in the honey golden light of perfection. There are definitely ups, but there are also downs - and seeing the ebb and flow was very authentic indeed.

Charlie, as a character, is pretty likable. She reminds me of one of my best friends, as well as the character of Bridget/Bee from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I love that she's strong, athletic and not afraid to play dirty or be aggressive to get her way. Though it seems like Charlie will always be a tomboy at heart (thanks to the influence of three brothers + their next door neighbor-slash-best friend), it was fun to see her explore her girly side with makeup, clothes and even new (girl) friends.

But I think what I loved most was witnessing her vulnerability. She got very emotional, especially about her mother. It was heartbreaking, but it was also incredibly touching. These were the moments I felt like I could relate to Charlie the best, and I liked that West took the time to show us that she's not just a stereotypical jock or tomboy.

Obviously, there has to be some mention of that adorable romance that blossoms between Charlie and Braden! They've known each other for most of their lives, as Braden lives next door and happens to be best friends with her older brothers. Their friendship deepened with each nightly fence chat, and watching them bare their souls to each other was pretty darn wonderful. I was already excited for this relationship to form, since I've always found the falling in love with your best friend/big brother figure very cute, and West definitely nailed it on this count.

So, end verdict? On the Fence is cute. It's fluffy. It made me squeal and sigh. Is it an all-star in this particular area (for me, anyway)? Not quite. But that doesn't mean I didn't like it, because I did! It's the kind of book I'd keep in mind to recommend to a friend, or to return to on a day that requires a nice bit of fluff.

Did you have any childhood boy friendships? Did you ever want them to be more?

My original pitch to Rachel was a question about first crushes. She gave it a spin that made it more relevant to On the Fence -- and still happens to be applicable to my first crush! 

Okay, so growing up in the US of A, my mom had a really good friend from work. That friend + her family were my second family growing up, especially the youngest son and daughter. The daughter was BFFs with Mel, while the son - D - and I got along more. We used to hang out at each other's houses and attend each other's big events (like birthdays, etc). Some of my fondest memories include playing tag, Sega and many other things. We also went to the same school for a while! It will surprise no one that I eventually developed a liking for D, especially because D & I hung out so much one-on-one. Sadly, when we moved away to the Philippines, everything went kaput!

(But apparently, I still have enough leftover feelings to write a story about it. A story that my husband continues to tease me about until this day.)


  1. This one is next in line for me on my TBR! I really loved "The Distance Between Us" and am looking forward to reading this one as well.

  2. I'm glad that you liked this one, Alexa. I had a lot of fun reading this. Like you, my favorite part was definitely the different relationships that Charlie shared with the people around her. I also loved the scenes where she was experiencing her girly side. I did want a little bit more from some of the story lines and the romance when they finally got together, but overall you're right, it was such a cute and fluffy read. :)
    Lovely review, Alexa!

  3. I really loved this story and I'm loving seeing the responses people are having to it. I've loved everything Kasie West has written, beginning with Pivot Point, and it makes me happy that she has had such a positive reception in the YA world. Her contemporaries are a little bit fluffy, but as I mentioned on Hello, Chelly a few minutes ago, I think there is a place for that on my to-read list! Sometimes I read sad or heavy books, and I just need something like this to make me smile. (:

  4. I don't think you can go wrong with a Kasie West book! I hope this means you will pick up The Distance Between Us (my personal favorite) and Pivot Point/Split Second. There's something so effortless about her writing - it's so easy to sink into. It helps that her romances are always the cutest.

    So glad you enjoyed this one! Sometimes fluff is exactly what we need. :) Great review, Alexa!

  5. I've heard so many great this about this one. I am looking for a light contemporary, so I'll have to check it out.

  6. Sometimes it's the cute, fluffy ones that I just really end up connecting to so they become super stars for me and this was totally one of them! I really loved the relationship and I love the tomboy aspect because I'm definitely more tomboy than girly girl. I'm glad you still enjoyed it! I just love how Kasie West is able to combine sweet and serious!


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