Sunday, August 3, 2014

Book Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: July 1st 2014
Length: 304 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship, tomboy
Source: 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.

 Summary by Goodreads

Charlie lives with her three brothers and her dad. Her life is dominated by sports and all-male topics, so no wonder she's grown up being a tomboy. The five of them were such a great team and always supported each other that I couldn't but want to be a part of their family. Charlie and her brothers can be goofy, dare each other to do the most hilarious, disgusting or reckless things, but they can be serious, too, when necessary. Charlie lost her mother when she was very young and her feelings about that and how it has always influenced the direction her life has taken, are an important part of who she is and who she can still grow up to be.

This summer is about the person Charlie wants to be and the person she needs others to see. Missing a mother, Charlie has never been into makeup or shopping like other girls her age. When she decides to get a job in a hip boutique, her constantly being confronted with girly clothes and makeup and the possiblity of actual girlfriends, finally give her the confidence to discover a more feminine side of herself. Besides that she's running a lot and is very good at sports, too, so every reader should find something to like about this story or find a piece he or she can identify with. It was fun to see Charlie's transformation and I wish I could've been there for her along the way, holding her hand and telling her that a little lipstick wouldn't ruin the boys' respect for her. 

Charlie and Braden have been friends for quite some time now. He's been kind of like a brother to her. So you can imagine the emotional distress any romantic feelings for him would cause Charlie. Things are shifting between Braden and Charlie, feelings changing over time. And of course it takes her more than a few chapters to realize what the change in their relationship is all about. 
A relationship starting off as a new or even deeper friendship always has a different dynamic to the whole way the story gets under way. So the realization of Charlie and Braden's romance is kind of slow and, surprisingly, I was fine with that. The advertised Fence Chats tough weren't everything I had imagined them to be. They could've been even more emotional, intimate and frequent, so that they would've been a more significant determinator of how the entire story would develop and so I could remember them as more of a highlight to the story.

Braden is Charlie's neighbour, too. So this is the story of the girl who falls for her neighbour/friend/quasi family member/substitute brother. There's a lot factoring into the building of their relationship. I'm a fan of those kind of relationships that grow out of familiarity, knowing another person and his or her flaws and best qualities before developing stronger feelings. Charlie and Braden were just too cute to be true.

Kasie West made sure fans of her YA contemporary debut were reunited with some of their beloved THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US characters. I'm really hoping Kasie continues to connect her YA contemporary books with each other so that we'll never lose contact with our ON THE FENCE characters either. Would be so happy to catch up with Braden, Charlie and her brothers sometime, for they have become characters who are very dear to me.

4,5/5 ****/* ON THE FENCE - Friendship is the new romance! And this is your #1 feel-good summer read in 2014!

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US didn't really work for me but ON THE FENCE threw me off my feet. It revived the Kasie West fangirl feelings I felt when I read her fantasy novel PIVOT POINT in 2013. Kasie West's star on her way to one of the most popular YA contemporary authors is rising fast.

'I laughed.
Braden let out a large yawn. "Okay. I better get to bed or you're going to school me in soccer tomorrow."
I smiled. Considering how crappy I felt when I came outside, I was surprised at how my insides seemed to soar. "Make sure you wear the right shoes."
"Always."' p.73

ON THE FENCE you might enjoy MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins and CATCHING JORDAN by Miranda Kenneally. Three stories that are about falling for the boy next door and/or your best friend, with CATCHING JORDAN also exploring how a girl can also be football star.

* THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US is Kasie West's YA contemporary debut novel. You should read it if you liked ON THE FENCE.

* Kasie's next book, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, comes out May 2015.

* Click here for an excerpt of ON THE FENCE.

* Want to meet Kasie West? Check out her summer tour dates.

* For more information about Kasie and her books visit

* Thanks to Harper Collins International for the review copy of ON THE FENCE! 



  1. I was expecting the fence chats to be more frequent and emotional too! I haven't enjoyed West's contemporaries as much as I'd like so I'm actually hoping that she writes more books with a blend of paranormal and contemporary.

    1. I love both her contemporaries and her paranormal books. Very excited to see what Kasie comes up with after her next contemporary. I'm hoping for a contemporary and paranormal, too.

  2. I still have yet to join the Kasie West fangirl train unfortunately! I should really get on it because people almost always seem to be raving about her books. This one sounds sooo cute and like it would probably make a great summer read!

    1. I'm sure you'll love Kasie's books, especially Pivot Point;)

  3. Aw, yay :) I'm glad you loved this book sweetie. <3 I am curious about it ;p It do sound so sweet. Sigh. I might read it someday :)

  4. I loved The Distance Between Us and can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the review!

  5. I've heard so many amazing things about this book!! Sounds awesome. Shame I haven't read The Distance Between Us either. :(

  6. I am doing a book report for school. And I need some details haha. Like what time frame was this book and and where were they.. Please help