Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

on the fence -kasie westFor 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.

3 Drink Me Potions

On the Fence was a whimsical, on-the-spot choice for reading. And boy, I was not disappointed.

Charlie was unlike many girl protagonists in YA literature these days. She could hold her own with most boys her age and older. She did have practically 4 older brothers after all. I loved her spunk and her easy interactions with them. She wasn’t shy, but maybe felt a little out of place when interacting with other girls. In a way, I think I connected so well with Charlie is because I can kind of understand her ease with dealing with boys and occasional uncertainties when placed among all the pretty and glamorous girls who go on and on about makeup. She was real to me, and if she was real, I’d think we’d make great friends.

The romance was predictable. It wasn’t hard to see there was something brewing with her almost-brother Braden. The only problem for me was that I didn’t feel as much chemistry between them as I had initially hoped for. They had their vulnerable moments with each other, aka at the fence at night, but it still felt a little off to me. Like there was still something missing in their relationship. It picked up the pace a little by the end, what with another guy taking interest in the “girlier” version of Charlie.

I enjoyed the fact that this book never took a side to whether it was better to be a girl who knew all the girly things they should know, or to have a girl who could play sports and run with the best of the boys. Maybe because it’s true that there is no right side to it, and there is such thing as a nice balance between liking clothes and makeup while still enjoying getting down and dirty with the guys. I think Charlie managed that by the end of it.

To say I loved the book is a bit of an overstatement, but it was enjoyable. Maybe if I had felt some more chemistry, I would up my rating. All in all, not a bad start with Kasie West. I’m looking forward to checking out more of her books.

Overall Recommendation:
Maybe with a little too high of an expectation, On the Fence was a sweet story of a girl trying to find her place in a family full of boys. The romance and plotline was rather predictable but the way West wrote it made it enjoyable still to follow along. With a good impression, I would recommend this book and possibly checking out more titles by this author.

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