On the Fence by Kasie West
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: Kindle E-Book
Total Pages: 296
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.
There hasn’t been a Kasie West book yet that I haven’t liked, and this one is no exception. Yeah, I know that nobody is shocked by that sentence. So let me just gush a little bit about this book and then we can move on with our lives. Sound like a plan? Okay, good.
I liked Charlie as a character because she is exactly like me when I was growing up. All of my closest friends were boys, and we played sports, watched wrestling, explored the woods, and got more bumps, bruises, and cuts than my Mom preferred. This made her an easy character to relate to, and it made me appreciate how she acted, especially when she described her interactions with her brothers. How they treated her, and how she reacted back to them was all too familiar with how I used to be treated and act with my friends, whom I was so close to that they practically were my family.
I liked Braden as a character, too. I mean, come on, Braden was so freaking adorable! Number one, he fell for Charlie before she started trying to impress someone, when she was just completely herself, living her life how she was happiest. Number two, he cared about her enough to pay attention to the most miniscule details of her life. Number three, he got angry when she pretend to be someone that she wasn’t. Number four, he sounds like a hot, perfectly tall, muscular dude who would be as cuddly as a teddy bear. Okay, so maybe that last one is just my interpretation of him, but it’s my review, so still legitimate!
The relationship that was developing between these two was equal parts frustrating and swoony. I respect the sensitivity and hesitation in having a relationship with your brother’s best friend, which has potential disaster written all over it in bright, flashing, red lights, but obviously I was fighting for it to happen and all the bumps in the road had me going crazy.
I don’t want to give anything away, but there was some underlying drama in the book that I felt came a little bit out of nowhere, and I don’t know that it particularly added much to the story. The inclusion of this seemed sort of rushed, and overall just a little bit unrealistic and fake. If you’ve read this, I hope you know what I’m talking about, and I hope you get where I’m coming from.
Slight problem with the cover: While Charlie did start to embrace her femininity throughout the book, I don’t particularly like that they have the supposed Charlie wearing a dress on the cover. I just feel like Charlie at the end of the book was still more “I like sports, I wrestle with my brothers, I’m more comfortable in basketball shorts and t-shirts” than it was “I let people put make-up on me and I love wearing dresses”. Super minor, obviously, but still something that bothered me.
Overall, another great one from Kasie West.
Did this book make you wish that you had a group of really awesome older brothers like Charlie had?