I hate to say it because Kasie West is one of my auto-read authors and I have really enjoyed all of her other books, but By Your Side was bloody boring. Jesus Christ. I wasn’t expecting to be put to sleep by one of my favourite authors.
My biggest problem was probably the characters, to be honest. Neither the main character, Autumn, or her love interest, Whatshisname, had a distinct personality. Autumn had the usual snark going on, and Whatshisname was meant to be a bad boy, but it was all very dull and overused.
West did try to do some (minor) mental health representation, though, which was good. Autumn suffered from anxiety, which I could somewhat relate to. She experienced things very differently to what I do, though, so I don’t feel like I can 100% confirm that it was well done. It was also hardly mentioned in the grand scheme of things. Maybe some teenagers would be able to relate, though? I don’t know. Anyway, I was glad it was there even just a little bit because at the very least I was kind of happy (is that even appropriate) to read about a character who also had panic attacks.
I guess the book was alright at most. If I had liked either of the characters enough to care, there might have been some moments that I found cute. But this wasn’t typical Kasie West-style. There was no oomph. It was just another contemporary. SAD FACES EVERYWHERE.