Contemporary Young Adult
Available July 1st
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
On the Fence is a story as cute as they come, a lovable and endearing tomboy of a heroine charming us instantly as she tries to find a place for herself amidst the testosterone of her all-male family. As is commonplace for a Kasie West novel, humor and witty banter abound, adding new creases to our cheeks from smiling so frequently even as our heartstrings are tugged repeatedly when growing pains force Charlie into a sweet and poignant journey of self-reflection. As was the case with The Distance Between Us, there are a number of facets to Charlie’s life and her relationship with her family that could have been explored with more depth, but that mild complaint doesn’t detract from a hugely satisfying story overall.
Charlie has known nothing but contact sports and brotherly teasing her entire life, her hugely athletic and hilariously mischievous older brothers keeping her on her toes at all times lest she find herself on the losing end of a dare she didn’t know they’d issued. She has no concept of her appearance in terms of how physically attractive she might be to the opposite sex, but its refreshingly clear that she’s neither the falsely modest type nor the frustratingly self-deprecating type, her observations of her brother’s preferences in girls simply give her no reason to think she might be appealing to guys in all her sports-loving athletic glory.
Her changing relationship with next door neighbor–and brother Gage’s best friend–Braden is the kind that makes us suck in a breath and hold it whenever they’re together, hoping that if we don’t so much as breathe these two will find fewer obstacles blocking their path to happiness. That way of thinking of course fails spectacularly, and Braden and Charlie quickly discover that knowing one another as well as they do can cause as many problems to a fledgling relationship as not knowing someone at all. While there are a couple of miscommunications between them, they’re not of the overly irritating variety, rather they feel genuine in nature, the complications of a friendship as close as theirs something we can all relate to in one way or another.
The only other very small complaint aside from the aforementioned lack of exploration in certain areas is the brevity of our time with Charlie and Braden once they finally do get together. Majority of the book is the humorously tense (and sometimes adorably mortifying) progression of their friendship to something more, and while we can’t help but love all the build up, their time together is our reward and it’s cut just a touch short with the last page finding us long before we wish it to. Overall though, On the Fence is cute and flirty and pure fun, a story destined for the rereads shelf so we can experience Charlie and Braden again and again.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.