On the Fence
[July 1, 2014]
egalley from publisher
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 couple nights ago, I meant to sit down and watch Big Love. I left my laptop with the episode loading since my internet isn't great and came upstairs to get in a little reading while I waited and before getting ready for bed. Next thing I knew it was 3:30 in the morning and I had finished the book thanks to the "Just ONE more chapter" game.
This book has everything going for it, honestly. Kasie West totally won me over to reading all her contemporary books ever with THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US last summer and I'll probably be checking out her PIVOT POINT series...someday. Plus, it's a boy next door story. I don't know WHY boy/girl next door stories are so hard to find in YA, but it's kind of absurd and I'm going to read all I can. And this didn't disappoint the very high expectations I came in with.
Charlie was so endearing. She was a tomboy nearly because she didn't know what else TO be. She had no experience with women since she was surrounded by three brothers, a next door neighbor, and a dad who didn't know how to teach her to be girly. Watching her grow and open her eyes to what other girls are really like and who she wants to be and what her life really is was amazing and realistic. I always had a hard time embracing my more feminine side in middle and high school and I DID have some great female role models around. So I totally felt for her and thought it was really well done.
The supporting cast Kasie West built was broad and all well defined. Her brothers and her dad were semi-stereotypical, but in context it made sense for them to act the way they did. Braden quickly breaks free of his own mold. Charlie makes these unexpected friends who appear to fit a trope, but show their real colors quickly. Each characters was memorable in their own way and important to Charlie's journey. And I loved them all and kept sitting there thinking I wanted more. Always more.
The story itself did manage to play a little more with the love story and Charlie's realization it's okay be girly. The little twist is something I picked up on pretty quickly, but it took an extra little turn I DIDN'T see coming that made the story so much richer and gave everyone more depth. It was an incredibly well written page turner that managed, yet again, not to fit any typical mold. It seems to be Kasie West's specialties to take predictable story lines and make them much richer. It's remarkable.
What I'm REALLY saying is, if you're not reading Kasie West, you should be. Her contemporary books are perfect, fun summer reads that still hold plenty of depth. So get her on your TBR ASAP.