On The Fence
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: July 1st 2014
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.
-A copy was provided by HarperTeen for review-
For readers looking for the perfect summer read, look no further than On The Fence by Kasie West. This was a sweet, fun read and although I didn’t really swoon as I was hoping to I did get lost in the lives we meet and I was fully engrossed in the story.
Charlie lost her mother when she was very young, in lieu of memories she has a box of pictures that she goes through from time to time to keep her mom’s memory fresh in her mind. Her mother’s passing left her growing up in a household of 3 brothers (which is basically 4 because of the neighbour boy, Braden, who has become a part of the family over the years.) She’s athletic and has a great sense of humour. The way that Charlie was developed to be a total tom boy in a man’s world reminded me a lot of a Miranda Kenneally novel. In my mind sports novels centred around females have become synonymous with Kenneally’s name, forgive me for the constant comparison. I didn’t really like Charlie in the beginning, she is pretty cold and heartless. There’s a scene where, during a pick up game of football, a friend gets a call that his grandmother passed away and the way Charlie dealt with it was terrible. I didn’t think there was any way I would come to like this girl but I think I did come to understand her as the novel went on even though I was never her biggest fan. She was the kind of tom boy who thought she was better and smarter than girls who were not one of the guys for much of the novel which irritated me a bit.
Even though I wasn’t Charlie’s biggest fan I did love the relationship she had with her brothers. They were constantly betting on things and just making everything into a game which ended up being really funny. I also liked that as she started getting into the dating scene they were really protective of her in front of others but managed to be good spirited about it all in private. Oh, I really liked her dad too! He was a cop and he always come home from work with things or pieces of advice from his co-worker Carol on how to raise a girl, a lot of those scenes had me laughing when he tried to pull off heart to hearts.
As the story goes on we see Charlie step out of the man’s world that she was raised in when, because of speeding tickets, her father makes her get a part time job. She finds a job at a clothing story and kind of creates a second life for herself. She starts to wear girlie clothes, makes some girlfriends and even does some make up modelling. I liked seeing Charlie step out of her element and see that being a girlie girl isn’t all that bad. She struggled with keeping these two parts of her life separate because she didn’t want her brothers to see her that way and make fun of her. She meets Evan and they start up a romance and through this Charlie realizes that her feelings for her neighbor/brother’s best friend, Braden aren’t simply friendly like she thought they were. I came to really like Braden and I wished we got more of their romance so I could have become more invested and swooned much more. We do get really awesome night time chats (that take place AT the fence, not really ON it, but anyway) where Braden and Charlie open up to each other in a way that they would never be comfortable doing in the light of day. These meetings were my favourite part of the novel because we got to find out more about Charlie’s feelings and see their romance grow very slowly.
This is a sweet contemporary read that should definitely find it’s way into anyones bag this summer as they head off to the beach for the day.
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