Tuesday, September 9, 2014

{Book Review} On the Fence: Kasie West

Rating: 6.75/10
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic, Romance, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Page Count: 294
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
Would I Buy It?
Because the re-readability isn't very high, neither is the possibility of me purchasing it. While On the Fence was a cute book, I don't think it will go down in history for its storyline. The cover and spine aren't the most appealing, to be displayed on my bookshelf either. 

Background & Backstory

Again, there isn't an elaborate back story to go with this book.... I am SO losing my touch. I did however read The Distance Between Us also by Kasie West which is what made me pick up On the Fence. 

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Sequel is needed!

Pro ~ Cameos!!!: On the Fence could be considered a distantly related cousin to The Distance Between Us by Kasie West. In case you are wondering, I have read and guest reviewed TDBU on Divergent Gryffindor's blog, so you can click on this link to learn my thoughts about OtF's relative. It's set in the same town, well actually, the same strip of stores. Even though the book is centered around new characters, we do get cameos from Caymen and (her best friend) Skye which I was so happy about. They were extremely short, but then again, that's what a cameo is.

Con ~ Oblivious Main Character: One of my largest problems and other people's as well was how innocent and oblivious Charlie was when she was thrust into the world of femininity. It was similar to the children's book The Music of the Dolphins by Karen Hesse. The protagonist had been raised by dolphins and had never been into what we consider civilization before. She was fascinated with every unknown element that she came across with a child-like innocence that was completely understandable in the book. On the other hand, Kasie West -at least in my opinion- did not execute Charlie's discoveries with enough believability. I know she's grown up in a family with all boys.... but she's seriously NEVER had to dress up for ANYTHING before?

Pro ~ Incredibly Fast Pace: This is a YA Contemporary novel, which is Sofia-World means I either flew through it or it took me a week to read. In this case, it was the former. I started On the Fence on the walk down the hill from where my dad parked the car. I finished it around 8 at night. If you ask me, 12 hours is record time for being in school with lots of homework. Kasie West's writing  just rolled off your tongue, like chamomile tea infused with honey.... or maybe eyes, since I was reading silently. I was reading around two pages per minute, and loving every moment of it.

"Why do we pretend during the day that this doesn't happen?"

"Because this is like a dream. It doesn't have to be real. It almost feels like we're floating just outside of consciousness and we can say whatever we want, and in the morning, like with dreams, it just slowly melts away."

Con ~ Cliche Plot: Charlie gets introduced to the world of femininity by the summer job her father forces her to take in order to pay off speeding tickets. She is like a lost baby animal and is clueless most of the time. Yet, it is also a time of self-discovery and a personal journey that will prove to herself that she can like makeup and nice clothes, while still being the sporty, athletic girl that she is. She DOES NOT have to compromise one for the other. During this time, she starts "dating" a guy named Evan, but she comprises her integrity and values by changing who she appeared to be when she was around him. Of course, there is also Braden, her long-time friend and neighbor.... and he doesn't stay just that. You can fill in the rest of the information for yourself, it's the plot of a lot of Rom-Coms and movies about adolescent girls coming to terms with who they are and growing up.

Pro ~ Why that wasn't so bad: I had some issues with the plot.... okay looking through my notes, I have A LOT of issues with the plot. The flow of the story was very Disney Chanel-ey, the plot predictable, and done before. Yet what I had to do when reading On the Fence was separate myself from the storyline so I could focus purely on the feelings it gave me. I had to do this because of my harsh judgement of contemporary romance novels that don't have some paranormal, fantastical, or futuristic element to them. With OtF, I had to set aside my requirements and criteria for normal books and accept it for what it was.

Con ~ Forgettable Characters: The characters were a hassle at times too. Charlie was strong and tough, both physically and emotionally, but when she was so easily steered into the wrong direction (changing herself for a guy), I thought she was pretty pathetic. While I did have a sense of who she, Braden, and Gage were.... a lot of the second tier characters got jumbled up in my mind. Charlie is introduced to a lot of girls who she makes friends with, and they help her discover that girls talk about things OTHER than boys and makeup. Yet, for the life of me, I could not tell you the difference between them.

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?
I'm pretty certain that I will not be re-reading On the Fence any time soon. It was funny and enjoyable, but there wasn't a gripping story that's making me want to come back for seconds. I can see OtF as the type of comfort-read I would turn to when I needed something happy, but that is the only scenario I can think of,

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Other Contemporary Novels By Kasie West?
I have loved both of Kasie's contemporary novels in the way you can only love contemporary novels. You don't read them for the evangelic zeal of inspiration, or for the non-stop action and adventure. You read them because of the warm, fuzzy bunnies that appear only during young love. On that note, I will most definitely be reading The Fill in Boyfriend when it comes out Summer of 2015.


What Were Your Thoughts On....?

-The cameos from The Distance Between Us
-The relationship between Charlie and Braden. Are they your new OTP?
-The cliche plot
-Charlie's deer-in-the-headlights reaction to femininity 
-The godawful cover and font
-The meaning behind "On the Fence"

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