Review: On the Fence by Kasie West
Release date: July 1, 2014
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss
Length: 320 pages
Rating: Sunshine in my soul
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.
Fun? DEFINITELY. Original? Not really. Endearing? HELL YES. Kasie West is an auto-read, auto-buy author for me, and while I didn't love On the Fence as much as The Distance Between Us (which I CRAZY LOVES, so it's a pretty high bar), I still could not put OtF down. And oh, my soul needed this joy, you guys. I was in a low point where all the things were sad and I just needed a ray of Kasie West contemporary sunshine to shatter the darkness.
|The clouds parted and LO, A KASIE WEST NOVEL APPEARED!|
(Sorry for your eyeballs)
On the Fence is about a tomboy named Charlie. Her mom died when she was six, so she's been raised by wolves--that is, she's got three older brothers, a cop for a dad, and a next door neighbor who might as well be her fourth brother. I always love to read girl-amongst-boys stories, since I grew up with a twin brother and four male cousins and was totally the Ginny Weasley of my family. But Charlie, unlike teenage me, is pretty clueless when it comes to what she considers tyipcal girl stuff: makeup, clothes, and boys.
This book made me happy. I read it in one day and just couldn't stop, because it has banter and it has a slow-build romance and it's just a super enjoyable summer read. It features healthy girl relationships with ZERO girl-on-girl hate at all, when it so easily could have swung judgmental. But watching athletic Charlie learning to reconcile the different "parts" of herself--the parts that want to feel attractive, that like getting dressed up, that fear being teased by her insanely protective older brothers--was really lovely.
And then there's the romance, which YAY! I didn't ship it like BURNING, but I still very shipped it. Very ship indeed. Braden is the aforementioned next-door-almost-brother. THey've known each other for years. They play pickup games of football and soccer together, they banter together, they fight together. Until the night both Braden and Charlie can't sleep, and they find each other on opposite sides of the fence in their backyards. And they start to talk. Suddenly, they're talking aobut the kinds ot things they don't usually talk about. Personal stuff. And Charlie starts to get feeeeeelings.
CHARLIE AND BRADEN are so cuuuute, but of course they're so close that she's scared to ruin things and he obviously doesn't feel that way about her, right? Right?? Charlie's always just been one of the guys, playing sports, in sweats with no makeup. And nobody's ever made a move.
But when she gets a job that requires her to appear more girly, this hot guy, Evan, asks her out. This element was totally necessary for Charlie's growth, but I wish Evan had been less of a flat character. I don't know anything about him at all, really, but who even cares, because Braden, I guess. I also wanted to know Charlie's dad more, outside of his "super protective but super loving cop dad" role, and ditto Charlie's brothers. Gage is the only one I felt I knew, and I loved Gage. Also, her brothers and dad are kind of vaguely sexist in their protection, even though her brothers usually see her as an equal, but Charlie kind of calls them on it.
But Charlie's emotional journey is aces. She's also learning to deal with the nightmares and the grief left over from her mother's death, give this book quite more weight than I was expecting. Plus, there are cameos from characters from The Distance Between Us! I ended this book with a big goofy smile on my face. It was just want the doctor ordered.