Review: On The Fence by Kasie West

Book Title: On The Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publish Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

By then time you read this, I will have read all of Kasie West’s books and have hopefully enjoyed them all. When I wrote this review I had only read Pivot Point but had just recently bought & received in the mail, Split Second & The Distance Between Us. I was hoping for a cute fluffy read and I definitely got that with On The Fence.

Charlie struggles a lot with this book and I was able to relate to that a lot more than I think I expected to. Charlie is a tomboy with 4 brothers being raised by her dad after her mother died 10 years ago. She doesn’t think that she is what guys want because she’s not feminine and she doesn’t wear makeup and talk endlessly about clothes and boys.

It was so clearly a struggle for her because she feels like she has to change who she is in order to get boys to notice her. She feels like boys don’t want girls who are “big and burly” and Charlie doesn’t know how to be delicate and feminine like she feels she should be in order for guys to notice her.I got that because I was much the same way in high school. Boys didn’t notice me because I was much more sporty than feminine. Boys went for the girls who were “hot” and who wore gobs of makeup and revealing clothing to make themselves look hot.

Working in a clothing store filled with feminine clothing initially makes Charlie borderline uncomfortable but then she begins to embrace her femininity and she begins to realize that she can be both. She can be sporty and feminine. Not having a mother in the past 10 years has made her feel like she must choose one or the other. Feminine or sporty. 

Charlie meets a cute guy named Evan, but she feels like she has to dumb herself down for him because apparently making a guy feel useless is emasculating. So instead of rattling off everything she knows about sports, she stays quiet, allowing Evan to believe that he is teaching her something. Next door neighbor Braden actually had some good insight on this whole dumbing herself down for a guy thing

“If you can’t be yourself around him, you shouldn’t be dating him.”

I absolutely LOVED this quote. I had highlighted several things in the book, but this one in particular stuck with me. Mostly because I think most teenage girls go through this. They feel like they have to dumb themselves down for a guy. They feel like they have to be something different in order for a guy to like them.

Watching Charlie realize that Braden was right and that a girl should never try to be something else in order for a guy to like her, was really awesome. If a guy doesn’t like her for who she is, he’s not worth dating.

It’s hard for longtime friends to admit to being attracted to each other. It’s terrifying because each of them worries that their friendship might be ruined.And what if the relationship doesn’t make it? Will they ever be able to be friends again? So I totally understand why it took so long for Charlie and Braden to admit their feelings.When they do though, its full of sweetness and swoons.

I really only had one complaint.When secrets are revealed about how Charlie’s mom died, I felt like Charlie reacted and then got over it really quickly. I mean I wanted more about that and I felt like it wasn’t delved into it as completely as it should have been.Had that been explored a little more, I think I would have given this book a full 5 stars. But I definitely had the feels while reading this book. Kasie is really good at giving her readers those all important feels. So this book will be getting 4.5 stars. Kasie has absolutely secured herself a spot on my author auto-buy list.

Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

Book Title: My Life After Now
Author: Jessica Verdi
Published Date: April 2nd, 2013
Published By: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it’s all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.

And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?

Now her life is completely different…every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

This book was amazing. There, got that out of the way.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it despite the rave reviews it was getting from the bloggers and bookish friends that I trust. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to relate to it considering I have never been in Lucy’s position.

All of that didn’t matter because what Jessica Verdi did, was create a VERY important book that I believe everyone needs to read.The prose was beautiful,not stilted like some contemporaries are. Jessica Verdi created a book that deals with a tough subject and that include tough subplots under the main plot umbrella.

Lucy is a teenager who makes one mistake and it’s a mistake that she now must deal with for the rest of her life. My heart ached for her. She knew that she had royally screwed up and now she had to pay for it with her health status.This book debunked several myths,one myth being that you won’t get HIV the first time you have unprotected sex. Because that’s exactly what happens.

Lucy had been very careful during her 2 year relationship with her boyfriend but after the week from hell,she just wants to get away. She gets in over her head and suddenly her life is filled with doctors appointments and vials and vials of blood being taken from her. Not to mention a support group that her dads make her attend. It’s a whole new world to her.

Unfortunately it’s not a new world for her two dads. Her dads grew up just when AIDS was prevalent in the 1980’s. They even lost a friend to the virus. They each handle the news differently but what doesn’t change is how much they love Lucy. Thankfully they are the two greatest parents anyone can ask for. Instead of throwing Lucy out of the house when they learn of Lucy’s condition,they decide to keep her as healthy as possible.

Then of course there is Lucy’s drug addicted mom who flitters in and out of their life. She is now pregnant with another baby and she expects Lucy’s dads to take her in until the baby is born and maybe even after.I thought she was incredibly selfish and I really didn’t like her at all and it was clear that Lucy would rather that she disappear again.

Now Evan was a wonderful surprise. I didn’t realize how much I would end up liking him until the end. He was wonderful to Lucy as well. Courtney and Max were great too. Each of them had their own adjustment periods when they learned of Lucy’s condition. I felt that was totally understandable. HIV is still very scary. Especially since there are still so many misconceptions about it.

I really want to give this book a full five stars BUT  Lucy was a teeny bit obnoxious at the beginning of the book so I have to knock it down to a 4.5 but I would still insist that everyone read this wonderful book.