On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence by Kasie West

Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Series: N/A
Pages: 296
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 1st 2014 

      “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 neighbor 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 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 for 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.

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I placed my palm on the fence as if I had somehow just sent the message to Braden. Then I sat down on the dirt. It felt warm between my fingers. “I dream about my mom,'” I said to the moon. “How is it possible to miss someone I never knew?”

Kasie West’s On the Fence is the perfect read if you’re looking for a contemporary novel with a well-developed lead and just the right amount of romance. West’s protagonist, Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds, is what really makes this book stand apart from her other novels. Charlie has grown up in a house full of boys, having lost her mother at a young age. She feels much more comfortable in a pair of cleats than high heels. Her three brothers and neighbor, Braden, have always treated her like another boy and she wouldn’t have it any other way. But her new job opens a new world to her, she meets girls she always dismissed because they were too girly and discovers that she may have more in common with them than she realized. One small criticism I had with this storyline is that it kind of implied that no sporty girl could be into makeup and fashion as well. While I don’t think this is what the author meant to do, it did feel like she was drawing a line, because although Charlie hung out with a lot of sporty girls, not one is mentioned as also liking “girly” stuff. To me this was very unrealistic.

Charlie really struggles with being vulnerable. Her father has never been into sharing his feelings and her brothers are much more likely to take on a crazy dare than open up to each other. Charlie, in turn, feels the need to be just as tough, even with her mother’s passing continuing to haunt her. Her secret talks with Braden is the first time where she feels she can talk about things she usually hides during the day. Braden also finds a confidant in Charlie. This is one aspect I wish had been explored more. While Charlie struggles with trying to remember the mother she lost at such a young age, Braden is dealing with an alcoholic father whose favorite activity while inebriated is picking a fight. While I understand this is a story about Charlie, I would have liked to have seen Braden open up more to her, especially when it came to this particular issue.

Having read The Fill-In Boyfriend and The Distance Between Us, I did not go into this one expecting to be blown away; however, On the Fence exceeded my expectations. Charlie’s relationship with her brothers is strong and easily relatable, a major highlight of the book. I loved that she was able to recognize that being athletic and girly are not mutually exclusive, and you should never change yourself in order to be accepted by other people.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

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10 thoughts on “On the Fence by Kasie West

  1. It’s such a treat when a book exceeds you’re expectation! It’s so much better than an overly hyped book that falls flat (and we’ve had our share). The cover is super cute with Charlie’s leg lifted, such a simple gesture with a lot of meaning. I have a feeling that this book appeals to you b/c (like me) you’re surrounded by a network of men–family and work. I work in a development team and I’m the only girl. Can you imagine what that is like? Heh. Anyhow, this book sounds very sweet and I’m really interested in it. I shall add it to my TBR, and hope to get to it this summer. Thank you, Alicia!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so hesitant to read another of West’s books after reading The Fill in Boyfriend. I really didn’t like it, but I’m willing to give another one a try! Would you recommend this one or The Distance Between Us?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Friday 56: On the Fence | A Kernel of Nonsense

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