Book Review: On the Fence

On the Fence
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Page Count: 320
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

On the Fence was my first experience reading Kasie West's work; I can't believe I waited so long! (I immediately juggled my July review schedule to fit in The Distance Between Us upon finishing this one.) I finished this in less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down. Every spare moment I had was devoted to burying myself in my Kindle to spend time with Charlie (aka Charlotte), the brothers, and Braden. I am enamored with these characters. If I was still a teenager, this is the house I would want to live in. The relationships (familial, friendship, and romantic) are the driving force behind this novel and one of its biggest strengths.

Charlie hasn't had it easy growing up in a house with only males. Her mother died when she was six and Charlie can barely remember her. All of her memories from her youth feature her Dad and her brothers prominently, but she can't figure out why her mother doesn't stand out in any of them. Charlie believes that she's damaged goods because she doesn't know how to be a "girl". She spends her time playing sports with her brothers and the boy next door, Braden, who she considers to be another member of her family. Everything changes the summer Charlie turns sixteen. After one too many speeding tickets, her father insists that she find a job to pay off her infractions. A chance encounter lands Charlie a job working in a boutique and serving as a canvas for makeup consultants. Charlie can't really understand how she went from soccer cleats and basketball camp to floral designs and mascara, but she learns that maybe she can still hold on to herself and embrace her femininity.

I adored Charlie and saw a bit of my teenage self reflected in her. I was also a tomboy and would much rather spend my time playing/watching sports than shopping or trying out new eyeshadow. It was always easier for me be "just one of the guys" than worry about being one of the polished, perfect girls. However, like Charlie, I always doubted that I could be friends with those sorts of girls because we'd have nothing in common. We share some of the same self doubt issues, but ultimately we end up landing on our feet.

In addition to Charlie, I loved her family and Braden. It's been awhile since I have loved every single character in a novel. I could easily see myself being friends with any of these people. My favorite brother was Gage because he kept me laughing. Jerom and Nathan are also endearing in their own ways. But the guy who really stole the show was Braden. Where were the guys like him when I was in high school? The banter between him and Charlie was one of my favorite parts of the novel. I also enjoyed their more serious moments by the fence.

If you're looking for a summer romance, this is a must read! It has everything I was looking for in a contemporary read this summer: romance, friendship, hot weather, and discussions with the moon. I found this one to be slightly reminiscent of The Hundred Oak Series by Miranda Kenneally - that is a high level of praise coming from me because I am a huge fan of that series. I love seeing girls that are real, down to earth, and into sports. It makes my heart happy. This one has earned a spot of honor on my contemporary favorites shelf alongside Anna and the French Kiss, Catching Jordan, and The Art of Lainey.

One Last Gripe: I don't have one. This is my new book crush.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The characters

First Sentence: The engine whined against my attempt to go faster.

Favorite Character: Charlie

Least Favorite Character: I don't have one.

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.


  1. This sounds like it might go into my beach bag! I think Charlie also sounds like an awesome character. I wouldn't mind having a romantic interest that wasn't overly girly for once as well ;)


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