19/09/2014

Review: On the Fence {Kasie West}



Written by Kasie West

For Charlotte Reynolds, 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 neighbour 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 a boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pick-up 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 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 spilling her secret could mean losing him for good.
I wanted to like this. Heck, I wanted to love this. But I just didn't.

It wasn't that it was a bad book, it was just dull. Maybe because I've been reading so much epic fantasy and sizzling love stories and amazingly crafted mysteries; books with endless possibilities and too-hot-to-stop chemistry. Maybe On the Fence just fell flat because of what else I have on my shelves. Maybe.

But Charlie never grabbed me the way I wanted her to. As a heroine, I felt like her character wasn't interesting enough to hold the story and in a sea of YA heroines with the same back-story (a dead parent), she didn't bring anything new to the table. Reading about Charlie was like reading about so many other typical YA girls.

I also really disliked how because Charlie played sports she was shown to be not at all feminine. Because she didn't wear make-up it was like she was one of the guys. It was a very stereotypical portrayal of what it means to be a girl and I found Charlie to be a little judgemental of more 'typical' women. It irks me in books how girls who play sports or have male friends always need to be portrayed as clueless at being a girl, because there is no right way to 'be a girl'. It's a tired plot device

The romance was . . . well, it wasn't. Kasie West wrote the most perfect romance in The Distance, with Xander and Caymen's chemistry leaping off the page. But here I felt nothing between Braden and Charlie. There was no heat or passion or spark. I even found myself skimming over their fence chats, because they were kind of boring and bog-standard

One thing I can't deny is that I loved Charlie's family and their dynamic. Her relationship with her brothers was sweet and playful; the perfect amount of teasing and sibling-love. It was really well-written and I preferred the parts of the book when Charlie was just hanging out with her brothers to anything else.

I wish I enjoyed this more, because I know Kasie West can write such beautiful and fun romances. I just didn't feel the spark here, and what I thought would be a great contemporary turned into a story I felt like I'd read so many times before.

"Sometimes we expect more than people are capable of giving at that moment."

  

Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart
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22 comments:

  1. Oh no! I am so sorry you struggled with this as much as you did, especially since I know you probably went into it expecting to love it.

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    1. I did expect to love it, so I was so disappointed :( I think Kasie West and I just aren't meant to be lol!

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  2. You had the same problems as I had. It was my first Kasie West, but it's good to hear that The Distance Between Us is so much better, so I probably will also read this and give the author a second chance!

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    1. Yeah, The Distance was my first Kasie book so I loved that and just feel like compared to that this floundered quite a bit, unfortunately. Felt the same with Pivot Point, but then everyone else loved that one!

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  3. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy this one very much. The story sounds right up my alley though, with brotherly-love and the childhood friend to lover romance. Bummer that the romance didn't sweep you off your feet. But yeah, the stereotyping of sporty girls as unfeminine would irk me too. I might still check it out just for the bromance lol. Lovely review :)

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    1. Everyone else seems to really be enjoying it, so I'm definitely the odd one out. Read it – you might love it :D

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  4. Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, I never heard of this book, or this author. I'll have to look them up.

    Ivana @ Bookish Teens

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    1. Really? Seems like Kasie West is everywhere these days!

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  5. Aww...I'm sorry this was such a disappointment Allie! :( I haven't read anything by Kasie West, but I've heard so many great things about her work that I was almost considering giving this a try even though it's not my usual read (I'm not a huge fan of straight-forward romances). However, I think I'll skip it because I trust you and I completely see where you're coming from. It's always hard to enjoy a romance when you don't feel the spark or connection between the two characters, so it's a shame that happened here. :( Thanks for sharing though, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! Hopefully your next read is better Allie! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. Yeah, so many people adore Pivot Point and stuff. For me though, The Distance is the only book of hers I've actually liked :(

      The writing was just a bit too basic in this and . . . I don't know. Maybe I just want more from my books these days, but it just didn't grab me. Plus with the leads not having that spark, I didn't feel drawn into it at all :/

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  6. Ugh, I am sorry that this one didn't work out for you. I'd been on the fence (ha, such an awful pun) about this one, I'd worried it would be kind of "meh", and I think this is probably going to seal the deal for me since I wasn't super excited about it anyway. I totally agree with you about the stereotype thing! I mean, I swam in high school and college, and there was every "type" of girl imaginable on our team: from the most tomboyish, "rough" girl, to the girl who HAD to dry her hair and put on makeup after every practice, to everywhere in between. None was any more "girl" than the next! (Though, I will admit, we did not have much patience for that girl with the curling iron and eyeshadow when we were trying to leave!) Great review, hope the next book works out better for you!

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    1. See, I was actually excited because I loved Kasie's previous romantic contemporary, but this just had none of the same fire and the stereotypes were too much for me. The 'how to be a proper girl' thing was ridiculous – Charlie even hid the fact that she was learning about makeup. It was really weird lol

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  7. Awww, too bad you didn't enjoy this one Allie! I did like how Charlie was a tomboy and had such a great sibling relationships with her brothers. I didn't expect the romance to take the entire book to resolve though. hope your next read is better!

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    1. Yeah, the romance was a bit dodgy in this one. Also, when they professed their love I was like, 'WHAT? Already?' I know they'd known each other for ages, but still. It seemed a bit excessive!

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  8. Oh, Allie! I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy this one. I've enjoyed all of West's other books, and have this one out of the library at the moment, so I'll be curious to see what I think of this one if it fell flat for you. Great review nonetheless!

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    1. I think Kasie kind of lost me at The Distance, which is unfortunate :( I really didn't like Pivot Point, and now with this . . . I think I'm going to be wary of trying out her future books. The Distance is still one of my favourite contemps though. You should chekc it out if you haven't already!

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  9. Heyy!! I'm not going to read your review atm simply because I don't want to be influenced. Will probs read this or another short fluffy contemporary to get over my emotional breakdown from last night. I'm sorry you didn't love this one, but we'll discuss when I'm done reading :)

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    1. YES. WhatsApp the heck out of me when you start / finish. I wanna know if I'm being a big meanie, or if you end up my twin on this!

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  10. Completely agree. I had the same issues with this one too, it just felt so generic. What was up with Charlie playing sports, so obviously she's a tomboy abet an attractive one. Can girls not still be feminine and play sports? Urgh. I couldn't get over that her brothers were described as big beefy guys, yet threw her around like a rag doll. I'm all for equality, but that just seemed ridiculous. Brilliant review Allie <3 I'm so sorry you couldn't haven enjoyed this one more.

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    1. Totally agree with the generic thing. Everything was just a little . . . trite. The characters seemed to be an amalgamation of all these clichés I'd seen before :(
      And the tomboy thing . . . that really irked me, because it was so stereotypical and I hate when books embrace gender stereotypes like that

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  11. Sorry you didn't love this, girl! Actually your thoughts are exactly how I fear I would feel. I skimmed it a bit before I read it and thought there wouldn't be all that much romance, like in The Distance Between Us. But I ended up loving it (TDBU is still my favorite). I understand where you're coming from though. I hope your next read is better! <3

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    1. I'm glad you loved it! SO many people did, I guess I'm just on my own in the corner sulking haha

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