Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
I’m not usually a fan of romance novels. They just aren’t my thing. Most of the time. However, there are a few authors that I will read time after time, book after book, because they can actually write romance that doesn’t make me roll my eyes. Kasie West is one of those authors. She is able to create a sweet story that could fall into the cliché and ridiculous. Falling in love with your neighbor? Faking a life to make others happy? I’ve read those. Kasie West, though, makes those plots feel fresh and sweet in her novel On the Fence.
Charlie is the only girl in a house of males. She has three older, protective brothers, a father who doesn’t have the slightest clue how to raise a girl, and her mother died when she was young. When she gets a speeding ticket, she gets a job at a boutique to pay it off and inadvertently falls into the world of dresses, makeup, and other assorted female things. She doesn’t hate this world; she just doesn’t feel like she’s entirely herself in it. She begins dating a boy who doesn’t know her true self, the sports playing, anti-skirt Charlie who’d rather play sports than watch them. Charlie’s late night chats with her neighbor and friend Braden start to mean more to her than she thought they would and she becomes torn between what she thinks she should want and what she actually wants.
I liked Charlie. I’m not as quite into sports are she is, I’d rather watch than play, but I used to be her. I still don’t care too much about what I wear, how I do my hair, or if I’m wearing makeup or not. I enjoyed reading Charlie’s journey as she moves from being comfortable in her own skin, to questioning if who she is makes her worthy, to finally accepting herself again. I could tell that she didn’t feel like herself when she was in the boutique world. She wonders if she might have been like that had her mother lived, but in the end she is who she is and she’s happy with that.
Braden was sweet. He’s not my favorite book boy, but he’s not bad. I did enjoy his relationship with Charlie’s family. He’s already part of it, being a friend of Charlie and her brothers, but there’s possibility for a new dynamic as the story progresses. I only wish we could have seen just a little bit more of the story after the actual end of the story. Not much, but a little bit more. Maybe one more short chapter?
My only real problem with the book has to do with the cover, and that isn’t really West’s doing. The girl in the dress doesn’t represent who Charlie really is. It’s a beautiful cover, but it’s not quite right for the book.
On the Fence is a simply sweet teen romance. It’s not overloaded on the drama, it has amazing character growth, and it’s just a good read. This is definitely a book for anyone who wants a book that leaves them with a smile at the end.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.