On the Fence
By: Kasie West
Expected Publication: July 1st 2014 by HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--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.
I picked up On the Fence because I needed a light and fun read. I just finished a really dark and heavy book at the time of writing this review (which is several months prior to the post date), and I needed a completely opposite feel for what I read next. Something that wouldn't be too taxing on my emotions and yet that I could get hooked on and read through quickly. On the Fence was just the book I needed. Aside from the description, which indicated that this book would meet my needs, I've also read Kasie West's The Distance Between Us and figured that if these two books were even remotely similar in tone then On the Fence would suffice.
I could really relate to Charlie. She's a bit of a tomboy because she's grown up surrounded by men. Her mother died when she was younger--like 10 I think. And so she was raised by her father and surrounded by 3 older brothers and the next door neighbor who might as well be another brother. Charlie plays sports with her brothers, she watches sports with them, she gets pulled into their typical boy pranks and bets, and she pretty much has no clue how to be a girl.
After being forced to get a job to pay off a speeding ticket, Charlie is thrown into multiple situations with other females. There's Linda, who owns the store where Charlie now works, there's Skye who works a door or two down in the same shopping center, and there's Amber who uses Charlie's makeup-free face as a canvas for teaching periodic classes on how to apply makeup. All of a sudden Charlie is immersed into the intricacies of being feminine.
At the same time, she's started meeting next door neighbor, Braden, at their shared fence where they begin a competition of who knows who best. Of course, you can't really know someone unless you've been paying attention to them, right? And so we quickly begin to root for the tomboy and the boy next door.
All of the main plot points of On the Fence were not particularly original, but as with The Distance Between Us, Kacie West's writing style is so smooth and fluid that you hardly care. She has a way of making you care about her characters and feel what they feel. As I said before, I really related to Charlie. Though I grew up with a mother and a sister, both of which I love dearly, I was still a bit of a tomboy and struggled to feel confident in my femininity until my later teen years and early twenties. And Charlie's feelings were so easy to understand.
My favorite quotes:
-"Never date a guy whose jeans don't cover his ankles," Gage said, pointing to the guy twenty yards ahead. He shuddered.
"But he'd be able to walk through puddles and stuff without even getting his jeans wet. He's a planner."
-"...we can't let boys define how we feel about ourselves. You have to know who you are before you should let any boy worth anything in."
-"Are people not allowed to feel sorry for your loss?"
On the Fence isn't a mind blowing book, but it's a solid read that I think anyone who picks it up will enjoy. The characters are all easily likeable, and I wouldn't begrudge Kacie West if she also wanted to write about some of Charlie's brothers that I was intrigued by throughout this book. On the Fence gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read On the Fence? What did you think? Let me know!