Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: On the Fence

On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Published: July 1, 2014
Paperback, 296 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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 neighbour 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 a 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 in 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 devoured this book in a day! Kasie West is such a great writer and I love how she captures teen life. Charlie isn't your typical girl, she's been raised by her single dad and three older brothers so all she really knows is sports. So when she gets a speeding ticket and her dad forces her to find a job to pay it of, she can't believe it when she applies to a clothing boutique that is so out of her league and gets the job there. Its embarrassing to wear the clothes she has to wear while she's there and she doesn't want her family to know she's started wearing makeup. To make matters worse, she's started falling for her next door neighbour and practically her other brother, Braden. The five of them have always been a team, and Charlie's not sure what well happen if she tells Braden how she feels. Before she knows it, she's hiding a lot more from the people she loves than she thought she ever would and she's not sure how to get out of the mess she's put herself in.

Charlie is a great character. I love how sporty she is and how naive she is about girly things that I knew all too well about at her age. Growing up without a mother have turned her into a tomboy, but once she starts working with Linda, she starts to learn and appreciate the finer things in life. She's scared of what her brothers will think so she hides it all from them, but that's not who she is and it comes to bite her in the ass. Charlie's brothers are fantastic characters. They each have their own personalities and different relationships with her. It's easy to see that she's closest to Gage and I love their interactions with each other. Braden is the best sort of love interest. He has known Charlie all his life and he is very close to her family, so there is already so much love between them before it turns into a different kind of love.

This is a very different kind of coming of age story. The more Charlie works, the more she wants to be both the girls she's trying to be - the tomboy and the girly girl. She falls for a guy who doesn't know the real her and she tries to pretend she doesn't know anything about sports to get him to like her. Girls do this all the time, but I loved reading it through Charlie's eyes. We try so hard to impress people that we forget that it's important to show people who we really are. Falling for a guy is hard enough alone, but when he's friends with your three older brothers and practically lives with you, it's the hardest thing to do anything about. Charlie develops a lot throughout this book and I loved her every step of the way. Her and Braden are the cutest (Braden is certainly swoon worthy!) and I love how their relationship develops throughout the book. I love their fence chats and how open they are with each other when there is no one else around, especially her brothers. Charlie learns more about Braden during those talks than she's learned throughout their lives together. It's in the small moments in life that we fall in love and West has captured this perfectly. Her stories are romantic and real and oh so adorable. The prefect contemporary for anyone who loves a good love story.

"Sometimes we expect more that people are capable of giving at the moment."

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