Jul 3, 2014

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: July 1, 2014
Pages/Format: 320, eARC
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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.

Book in One Word: Fencey!*

*Or Funcey. Sometimes I can't help myself. And I'm not even sorry.

Okay, so, here's the deal. This review should be super duper easy peasy to write, right? Well, if that was the case, then maybe I would've written it when I finished this book a few days ago. But no, I've been putting off writing it, and here's why: I'm on the fence about On the Fence. I know what you're thinking: "Rachel, girl, you cray cray!" Ah, but I wasn't finished. I liked this book. I did. (But not as much as the super adorable it's-so-fluffy The Distance Between Us.) BUT. There's a but.

I don't know if I was just in a funk when I read this, but I don't know. (And really, I think this is going to need a reread.) Really, On the Fence just wasn't what I had expected. I was expecting an it's-so-fluffy, and I didn't really get that. Part of it felt more serious and like a mystery: (minor spoiler, maybe) what was up with Charlie's mom that no one will tell her about it, and is something up with Charlie herself? Also, I wasn't loving the writing. Sometimes scenes felt too short (and maybe even almost pointless) and abrupt and I'd want more. When I was halfway through the book, I was surprised. I thought more would have happened by that point, and that certain things would have developed by then, too. I mean, it wasn't bad. But I had some issues with it.

All that said, On the Fence still had good aspects. (And yes, I definitely liked this more so than not.) One of my favorite things about this novel--heck, maybe even the favorite thing--was Charlie's brothers: three of them, to be exact, and all older. Jerome, Nathan, and Gage. I loved the sibling relationships here. I loved how they all interacted with each other, protected each other, and just plain hung out and had fun. But Charlie also had a sort-of-brother, the family's next door neighbor and close friend of many years, Braden. The dynamics between all of them were just so fun and great and I loved it--it was definitely a high point of the novel.

Obviously, based off the synopsis--and the fact that this is a contemporary novel from Kasie West--there's romance in this. And while I shipped it (no, that other, stupid guy), I wanted more from it. I knew the romance would happen, but it need some more build-up, more things to suggest it was going to be a thing--and sooner in the book, too. Even though I knew Charlie and a certain someone would be a thing, there weren't enough signs confirming it or saying when it would happen. So when did it did happen (and a certain word was mentioned), I was kind of surprised. I wanted more of the romance. Yes, I shipped it. But ships need a lot of things before they can set sail.

I know this review may make it seem otherwise, but I really did like On the Fence! In the end, I just don't think it was what I had expected, and I had a few issues with the execution. But the story (cute), characters (GREAT), and feels (you KNOW you are going to get those with a Kasie West contemp) override the negatives and make this a fun book with some depth! Really, I just need to reread it when I get a physical copy. And when I finished the book I said out loud, "Don't end THERE!" Because, like so many books, I wanted mooore!

Did I like it? Yes!
Did I love it? Not quite.
Would I reread it? Most likely.
Would I purchase it? Yesss!
Who would I recommend it to? Contemporary lovers, especially of the more cute and fluffy variety, and people who like strong (and great) sibling relationships.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way sways my opinion of the book.


  1. We all come across books we can't seem to decide if we like it or not. I'm glad that you still liked this book inspite of having issues with it. I don't really read much from the contemporary genre but maybe I'd give this a try. Thanks for the honest review, Rachel.

  2. I'm really looking forward to meeting the brothers! I love it when there's a focus on sibling relationships. That sort of bums me out that the romance doesn't appear sooner in the book, but hopefully, that won't be much of an issue for me. I'm starting this one today and I think I'll enjoy it. It'll be my first Kasie West book!


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