July 4, 2014

The Boy Next Door

On the Fence by Kasie West

Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins | Harper Teen
Pages: 320 pages
Source & Format: Edelweiss | e-ARC
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (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.

Thoughts on On the Fence
Pivot Point was the first book I read by Kasie West, but The Distance Between Us was my absolute favorite. I read and enjoyed Split Second, but I was really looking forward to On the Fence. Since West's standalone contemporary had worked so well for me last time, I was hoping there would be a repeat with this one!

On the Fence focuses on Charlie Reynolds, the only girl in a house full of boys. She fits right in with her brothers - sports are her passion and she doesn't know the first thing about makeup or even care about shopping. But when she gets a speeding ticket, she has to take a job at a local boutique in order to earn the money to pay it off. She's stressed and starts confiding in her neighbor and brothers' best friend, Braden, when they both find themselves outside one night when they can't sleep. Their "Fence Chats" become a habit, and Charlie starts wondering if there might be more to their friendship than she originally thought.

While this was a really cute read, I didn't love it the way that I did The Distance Between Us. Charlie felt a bit too much like a cliché to me for the most part. I know she's surrounded by boys and she's most comfortable when she's considered "one of the guys," but I think I got a little too annoyed with her while I was reading. The whole "what, makeup?!" and "oh no, feminine clothes!" was such a big part of the storyline, and it made Charlie seem more like a stock character (tomboy totally clueless about anything girly) than a real one to me. If she'd been fleshed out a bit more, I don't think I would have had the same issues with her.

I struggled because I couldn't relate to her at all, and I kept wondering how someone could be so clueless. I think that ended up being my biggest issue with the book - I just wasn't invested in her story. I've read plenty of things where I don't relate to the character but still fall in love with the book, but that just wasn't the case here. The brothers, too, are interesting at first but never really developed. They play that "warn every guy away from their sister" role, but they aren't explored much beyond that. I so wanted more from these characters!

The storyline itself was mostly cute - I do enjoy the whole friendship that turns into more storyline. However, there were some moments where I just wanted the characters to stop and have a real conversation with each other! There was some angst in here that could have been avoided if they'd communicated a little better. But that's often true to life, so I wasn't too hung up on that aspect.

When the book focused on the love story and Charlie's growth, I enjoyed it more. However, there was an additional storyline involving Charlie and her deceased mother that I found frustrating. It seemed so out of place to me! And, if it had to be included, I think it needed to be explored more instead of just one more thing to add drama to the story.

I liked a few parts of this book and disliked others, so it was ultimately just an okay read for me. Honestly, I didn't really have strong feelings about it either way. It was mostly fun and kind of cute, but I wasn't connecting to Charlie or invested in the romance. This is a book where I'd tell someone to do a little more research to see if it would be right for them. I know a lot of people have really enjoyed this one, but it wasn't quite what I hoped for from West.

So Quotable
"Sometimes we expect more than people are capable of giving at the moment."
*I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins in exchange for review consideration. I was not compensated in any way for my review.

1 comment:

  1. I actually have the same sentiment about On the Fence! It was super cute, and I did enjoy the romance + her brothers. But it didn't quite hit the sweet spot that I wanted it too, which is such a shame. I still have to read The Distance Between Us though, and since you loved it, I'm very much looking forward to it!

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