I say this every time I review a Kasie West book, but she has done it again! There is a reason why she is on my autobuy list, and On the Fence is a great example of that reason. After reading The Distance Between Us last year, I was excited to see that West was writing another contemporary novel, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
I didn’t go into this review wanting to make comparisons between Caymen and Charlie, or between The Distance Between Us and On the Fence, but I think it’s kind of hard not to. Both books follow a similar formula: they start with introducing us to the characters, to the love interests, and then there’s a slight mysterious undercurrent throughout before the big reveal towards the end of the book. That said, I don’t think On the Fence becomes stale at any point. The same formula was used, yes, but the fresh batch of characters combined with Kasie West’s writing made for a compelling read.
Charlie was a lot more relatable than Caymen, although both of them are relatable for me in different ways. This is probably partly due to the fact that she has a dozen or so brothers (i.e. three) like I do, and she feels like no one is going to find her attractive because she likes football and doesn’t wear make-up or like “girly” things. While I don’t feel that way about myself, I felt like I could relate to what Charlie was going through all the same.
I also really liked the romance because the two characters already knew each other at the start of the novel. It was nice to not have to go through the first meeting which could have turned into instalove. Because they already knew each other, they have a lot of history and they both know each other inside out. It was refreshing, and you could see why those initial feelings could turn into love. I often get annoyed when characters fall in love within one book, because it’s like, hey, you only met five days ago!, and so to have Charlie and Braden already know each other was a good move on West’s part.
The romance wasn’t as steamy as I would have liked, but there were some great scenes between the two of them that gave me goosebumps. But the romance wasn’t why I kept reading. My enjoyment of this book is partly due to Kasie’s enticing writing, and partly due to the platonic and familial relationships between Charlie and her family. It reminded me a lot of My Life Next Door, with the Garretts, only the main character here is actually part of the giant family. Here’s an idea: Kasie West and Huntley Fitzpatrick should write a book together, where the two families (plus Sam and Braden, obviously) meet. I think it would be perfect. Am I a genius, or am I a genius?
On the Fence is a very good summer read by one of my favourite authors. It’s exciting and summery, and the main character is wonderful. If you are on the fence about considering buying it, let this review give you a little push towards the bookstore.