On the Fence
by Kasie West
Expected Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Length: 320 pages
Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
View at the Traffic light:
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.
On the Fence isn’t a book I’d probably pick up on my own. Sports-focused books are not generally my thing, and a main character who is ALL about multiple sports? Despite the fact two of my best friends in high school were of the SUPER-STAR ATHLETE variety, it’s just not something that appeals to me. But I’ve loved Kasie West’s other books, so On the Fence did not disappoint.
One thing I love about Kasie West’s books is how different but awesome her main characters all are. You would never get Addie confused with Caymen or with Charlie, but they’re all so awesome in their own ways. Charlie is awesome in the tough, no-survivors-on-the-field way. She’s grown up with her brothers and her next door neighbors, and she’s just “one of the boys”. She loves playing football pick-up games and basketball camp and watching baseball games. She’s also insensitive and rash, which is how she ends up in speeding ticket trouble, especially hard for her considering her dad is a cop.
Charlie took awhile to grow on me. Sometimes she would do or say things that literally made me cringe and I wanted to shout, “Be kind, Charlie! Not that hard, really.” But through the course of On the Fence, Charlie has to grapple with her pre-conceived notions about certain things–like what “real girls” talk about–and learn that maybe there’s more to herself than she always thought. Which, now that I think about it, is another theme that crops up in Kasie West’s books multiple times, but each time it’s so very different.
The family aspect in On the Fence was really lovely. I loved seeing Charlie fit in with all her brothers. They give her a hard time but it becomes quite obvious early on that they’re all pretty close to each other. Charlie’s mom died when she was six, and part of the book is Charlie trying to hold on to her mother. She remembers hardly anything about her mom, and that upsets her. At one point, Charlie also lies to someone and acts like her mother is still alive. This got me in the heart because as someone who has lost her mother, I have TOTALLY done that before for the same reason. It’s untruthful, which I always feel bad about, but sometimes you don’t want the sympathetic glances or the seemingly faked condolences, and that was the moment I really got on board with Charlie, despite all her flaws. There was also a conversation with Charlie and her dad later in the book that actually made me tear up! If you had told me On the Fence would make me cry a little before I read, I would look at you with disbelief, but I totally did.
The romance between Charlie and Braden was too adorable, if such a thing exist. It’s the epitome of a slow burn romance–there’s been something there, just hiding behind them for YEARS, but it takes several fence chat discussions for Charlie to realize it. The “love” realization came a little too quickly for my taste–my only complaint, really–but oh my, was everything before and after that cute! They totally accept each other for who they are and know each other so well. I don’t know how else to say this:
On the Fence totally did. Maybe even two bazillion.
While the word “love” got tossed around a little too fast in this book for my taste, everything else was just wonderful, as I expected! Charlie is a bit abrasive at first, but it was so worth it to see her grow and realize new things about herself while keeping true to her character. The romance was adorable and the family aspect put it over the top in the best way. 4/5 cupcakes.