I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by HarperTeen on July 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Goodreads • Good Books • Amazon
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.
Hi guys! Welcome to Early Cuddles, a new feature where we break down the pros and cons of upcoming releases as a sort of teaser until a full review at release time.
I am kicking off the inaugural post with a breakdown of the 5 biggest reasons you should get super excited for Kasie West’s upcoming squeeathon, On The Fence.
Reasons to read:
1. It’s sooooooo cute.
Do you ever have those days where you think ‘I just want to read something happy. Something with enough substance to make me care and kick my heels while I giggle and squee adorable?’ If so, have you tried Kasie West? She is the master of the fluff that hits the spot and On The Fence is no exception.
Charlie is a bit of a departure from West’s usual heroine MO and I love it. She’s a hardcore athlete with very little patience and a heavy dose of bewilderment for traditionally “girly” things (clothes, shopping, make up, etc). Her mom died when she was little which has left her with a massive amount of scar tissue around her heart and a bit of a complex when it comes to seeing herself as a girl boys could like. There’s a slow chunk in the middle where Charlie spends way too much time pretending to be someone she’s not in a misguided attempt to get a boy to like her, but I thought it was realistic, albeit frustrating. She makes a couple of questionable decisions for understandable reasons but again, realistic. I love her for her sass and strength and most importantly, her growth.
3. The ship
It is no secret that Kasie West ships are the bestest. This ship is no exception. As far as plot devices go, I am so okay with the ‘let’s make a game out of proving who knows who better’ thing. Its an unbearably cute way to get to know the characters and it shows us that they’ve both been paying a lot of attention to each other over the years. Naturally, I instashipped. There are few things I love more in a ship than the trust and love that comes from knowing the other person intimately.
Braden earned my undying love and affection when he asks Charlie what normal girls are like (in a way that implies ‘normal girls’ are a myth) and then goes on to correct Charlie’s views of herself as a big burly girl by explaining that she’s actually strong and awesome exactly the way she is. Granted, he is not perfect. He then blows it in the most awkward moment in awkward town and proceeds to act like an ass when she goes out with someone else. His intentions are good and his overall point is right, but that doesn’t totally excuse his behavior. (Important lesson folks, the best of intentions don’t always make up for shitty actions). But even when he’s being a jerk, he’s still a sweetheart and he definitely earns a spot next to Trevor in the Kasie West Love Interest Hall of FameTM.
5. The supporting cast
Kasie West characters are my favorite. It’s interesting because her books are generally on the not long end of the spectrum and are mostly about the MC/ship, but she still manages to create fully fleshed out supporting casts with a handful of strategically placed sentences and scenes. Charlie’s brothers are definitely a testosterone overload, but it’s cute. Behind all the teasing and games, they all love each other so much and it warms my heart. Charlie’s dad is adorable and trying so hard. What he fails at as far as raising a daughter is concerned (while he did buy her tampons for her first period, she had to read the directions and figure it out herself) he makes up for in effort and intent. I also loved Amber, Charlie’s first “girly” friend. It would’ve been so easy to make her a shallow, one-note, bedazzled footnote, but instead she serves as a lesson in giving people a chance and not writing them off based on initial appearances and impressions. Sometimes the greatest friends are the ones you initially think you have nothing in common with because they are the ones that can introduce you to experiences you would never have on your own.
Reasons to pass:
I really don’t have much to say here. I do think that Kasie West raises a number of questions/issues/points of interest about traditional gender roles and how subtly pervasive and damaging they can be and then never really says anything about it (she does a little, I guess, but I wasn’t fully satisfied on that front). I don’t really count this as an issue because when I pick up a Kasie West book, I’m not expecting it to be an advocate for social change. I’m looking for a shot of pure sweetness and in that aspect, On The Fence not only delivers, but the delivery is as pretty as a Pinterest picture.
If you were already looking forward to this one, get excited. If you were (pardon me) on the fence, get excited. If this wasn’t even on your radar but totally sounds like your thing, get excited. Kasie West has struck again.