Sunday, July 26, 2015

Book Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication.Date:July 1, 2014
Pages:296 (paperback)
Published By:  HarperTeen
Website:Kasie West 

On the Fence on Goodreads
My review copy:

Where to get:

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. 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.


I dropped to my hands and knees on the floor and collected the soda cans, then carried them toward the kitchen. As I reached the door, I looked over my shoulder. All their eyes were glued to the television. Warmth surged through my cold heart. I loved these guys so much. They were my life and I couldn't think of anything better than all of us together, just handing out and doing nothing.
I didn't know why I texted him to come out here. It wasn't like I had anything important to discuss. In a way it was nice to know I wasn't alone in my middle-of-the-night world. My brother's slept like the day. How was it my brain wouldn't shut off? I felt guilty asking my brothers about my mom. I didn't want to be the one to make everyone else miserable when they  had moved on. Maybe they'd moved on because they had real memories to hang on to while my brain had to make up its own. Why did my brain have to be so morbid about it?
"Charlie!" A loud cry echoed from upstairs, then what sounded like a stampede came rushing down. Gage wrapped me in a hug. "Be a big girl. Don't work so hard that you barf like you did last year."

"Your words of wisdom are invaluable."
It was amazing what happened when you let yourself be open to new things.

I'm not going to lie, I am a sucker for friends who turn into lovers, especially when it comes to the boy next door. What I like about how Kasie's has approached this is that Charlie hasn't been secretly pinning away over Braden, but their romance is something that occurred after these two begin late night chats between their fence.

Kasie's mother died years ago and growing up in a house with three brothers and her dad has left her a perpetual tomboy. She loves sports and all "guy" things and avoids anything "girly." (We're talking stereotypically here, don't start coming after me with pitchforks for not being PC.) It's not until she gets a job in a new age clothing store, and becomes a weekly makeup "model," that she starts to wear more feminine outfits and wearing makeup. Part of me feels bad for Charlie because as she is learning who she is and that she has likes outside of sports, she is hiding the new clothes and makeup from the guys in her life for a variety of reasons. Not that I can blame her, there is one scene where the guys talk about whether the girl whose disc golf frisbee they found is "probably a dog. Some aggressive, burly thing."

Charlie is your typical teenager, trying to navigate through the rough years and figure out who she is while trying to appease those around her. She doesn't want her brothers to mock her for wearing dresses and makeup and she doesn't want her father to be angry about it or feel bad that he cannot do more for her in terms of feminine issues (makeup, relationships, periods, all that good stuff that comes with being a woman). At the same time, Charlie is dealing with night terrors about the night her mother died and her lack of being able to sleep is what brings her outside in the middle of the night, leading to her chats with Braden that serve to deepen the relationship between the two.

Charlie's brothers are just that . . . Charlie's brothers. They're over protective in the way that older brothers are and sometimes treat her as if she is a fragile doll when she is in fact stronger than any of them realize. We do see a lot of interaction between the group, but it's really Gage we get the most from. I wish we got to see more interaction from her two other brothers, but at the same time the, Charlie states that she and Gage are the closest so it makes sense that we see more from him than from Jerom and Nathan.

The romance aspect of On the Fence is cute and innocent. There is the misunderstanding troupe that is found in all books of this nature, but it's a more believable misunderstanding and not one of the "that girl you saw me with was my cousin" type misunderstandings - which always cause me to roll my eyes and wish the characters could just grow up.

Kasie West is one of those authors whose books you can easily read in a day. They're fun, lighthearted, and full of super cute romance. She was able to accomplish this with The Distance Between Us and once again with On the Fence. A perfect summer read for when you're on the beach, by the pool, or just hanging out in the hammock.

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