Publication Date: July 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.
Most of what Ive been reading lately has been a lot of YA contemporary books, which makes me remember why I fell in love with reading in the first place. Now, while I have not yet read Kasie Wests paranormal-ish books (Pivot Point and Split Second), I have read The Distance Between Us and it was great! On the Fence, however, completely exceeded my expectations with what YA contemporary is supposed to be, and can I just say, Im a Kasie West fan for life.
Charlie Reynolds is your typical tomboyshe plays every sport imaginable, is surrounded solely by guys, and has no clue whatsoever when it comes to feminine things. Being raised by her father, along with three older brothers hasnt left much room for fashion and makeup, so when Charlie gets a job at a boutique and realizes she has to dress the part, shes a little out of her comfort zone. And as Charlie branches out more and more, she starts to realize that there is more to her than just being one of the guys.
I think I fell in love with Charlie somewhere around the second page. Im not a tomboy by any means, but I couldnt help but to relate to and understand Charlies struggle with who she is and what shes supposed to look like. Despite the pressure Charlie felt to keep her two worlds separate, she still came off as a headstrong, albeit stubborn, protagonist. As Charlies story progresses, we start to see these vulnerabilities shine throughin relation to her mother, her image, and Braden.
Braden, the boy next door, has always been a part of Charlies life. Theyve grown up together, and now that theyre older, theyve started to seek refuge in each other with their talks along the fence separating their houses. It is there, at night, with Braden, that Charlie feels comfortable talking about her fears, and in particular, the nightmares that lead her to completely exhaust her body. I dont think I was preparedeven though I shouldve beenfor the level of depth this book has. On the Fence isnt just some light, fluffy read, and while its not an heartbreaking book, it does have a serious undertone.
One of the things I loved most about this book was the relationship between Charlie and her brothers. Charlies family isnt perfect, but you can feel the connection and love they all have for each other. Another thing I adored? The build-up in Charlie and Bradens relationship. There are a couple of misunderstandings along the way, but it is evident from the start that their relationship isnt just a quick fling. Braden becomes Charlies rock in a time when shes figuring herself out, and vice versa. Most importantly, the years of friendship makes for a strong backbone in their relationship.
I could keep singing Ms. West praises, but the fact remains: this book is one of her best works yet, and its a must for all contemporary fans. The strong characters, the endearing storyline, the amazing development of the story itself, all speak for themselves. On the Fence is the type of book that captures your attention from the very first line, and doesnt let you go until the last page has been turned.