Review: ‘On the Fence’ by Kasie West

Review: ‘On the Fence’ by Kasie WestOn the Fence by Kasie West
Genres: Young Adult
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-07-01
Format: Paperback
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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.

I’m still smiling like an idiot just thinking of this book. Oh Kasie West, you’ve done it again!

Just like in her companion novel The Distance Between Us, Kasie West adds a bit of a serious topic to an otherwise very light read, and does so spectacularly. Having lost her mom when she was just six, Charlie still struggles with that loss (though she remembers little), and also with the absence of a female presence in her life. When she is suddenly thrust into the world of clothes, guys, and makeup (while working at a boutique), she wonders if there’s more to sides to herself than just ‘sporty’.

How does she always manage to include issues that hit close to home for me? I wouldn’t label myself a ‘tomboy’ because I don’t like the label, but I’m definitely less ‘girly’ than average. I played a lot of sports growing up (but less so now), and still feel more comfortable in athletic clothes sans makeup rather than being all dolled up, though I will do so on occasion.  I felt for Charlie as she struggled through living with both her ‘sporty’ and ‘girly’ sides. It’s not an easy balance, and only gets more confusing growing older with guys starting to come more into the picture.

On a side note, this book reminded me of Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian, because of all the brothers! Seriously, Charlie’s brothers were the best. I wouldn’t mind some other companion novels with them in it! West definitely captures what life is like with lots of siblings (trust me, I have 3 of them [and I’m a triplet!]), and what I would imagine having three fun older brothers would be like. From the teasing to the dares and the wrestling, life with siblings is messy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Braden and Charlie are adorable. Can I award them best couple of the year award? (Oh, I should make a list!) They knew each other so well their relationship was second nature — so to have their late-night ‘fence chats’ open up another side of their relationship felt so intimate and special. They knew exactly how to comfort each other when one was feeling out of sorts, and while they still had misunderstandings, they always got past them because they understand each other so well. But they still such a fun pair, never completely letting go of the teasing and pranks they were used to with each other. And their chemistry and romantic tension…wow it was good.

My only complaint was that so many of the serious things started happening near the end that I would have loved to read about throughout the book…I would’ve read a lot more pages of this book, to be honest. Dealing with the loss of her mom comes very near the end of the book, and while I understand that it formed the climax, it would’ve been great to see some more development. But all of Charlie’s issues were wrapped up in the end, so maybe my complaint isn’t all that valid.

A great contemporary that touches on the serious, but is still light enough to make me grin like an idiot.


  • Seriously, if you want a feel-good, fluffy, romance book, Kasie West is the author to go to. I’m glad that you loved this one despite some faults, Lina! I know so many others who just fell in love with the couple in this one. Unfortunately, I can never get into West’s books, but that’s not her fault… It’s just really hard for me to get into Contemporary books in general. Haha.
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…Mini Reviews: Romantic Suspense EditionMy Profile

    • She does do light and fluffy, but I really think her books do go deeper than most contemporary romances. In this one it was discovering yourself and dealing with the loss of a parent, and in The Distance Between Us it was social classes. But I think West does a good job of never making her books too serious, either.

      It’s too bad you have trouble getting into her books! I always find them really enjoyable. Contemporary books aren’t my favorite genre either, but I try to pick out the very best ones to read! They make a nice change of pace from sic-fi and fantasy sometimes.

  • You’re a triplet? That’s cool! So much better than bland, single child, me. Haha xD

    Anyways I LOVED Charlie’s brothers. Made me wish I had them! Or at least Gage as my brother.

    I agree about the ending, though. That’s what I notice a lot with Kasie West contemporaries. Her endings seem a bit rushed (but I don’t mind all that much)!

    Great review!
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer EcholsMy Profile

    • Haha yup and we’re all sisters. 🙂 And then I have a little brother (but doesn’t an older brother sound so much cooler??)

      But really, shouldn’t they have their own companion novels? Maybe not so much Gage and the girl that was her best friend, but maybe Nathan and Frisbee-golf Lauren!

      You’re right, the ending in The Distance Between Us was kind of the same way, but I didn’t notice it as much. But it does provide for quite the climax!

  • Great review! 🙂 Your last sentence describes On the Fence perfectly!
    Emily @ Books & Cleverness recently posted…Review: Stolen by Lucy ChristopherMy Profile

  • Hi there, just discovered your pretty blog! ^^ Once the Fence is a book that has been really praised by reviewers lately so I’m looking very forward to reading it. I love when we can connect with some characters or situations AND where there is a cute couple. Wonderful review, Lina 🙂
    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books recently posted…Review of Ashes to Ashes and Cinder to Cinder (The Grimm Diaries Prequels #2) by Cameron JaceMy Profile

    • Aww, thanks! 🙂 It definitely has been buzzing on the blogosphere. Braden and Charlie are ADORABLE and I love how they know each other so well. What really set the book apart for me though was being able to connect to Charlie and her sporty side. Everyone should find a book that they can connect to, it’s a great feeling!

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