Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Format: Personal Purchase, Hardcover
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Summary (from Goodreads): For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, 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 longtime neighbor 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 chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup 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 Fence 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 if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
I adore Kasie West’s books. When I was scrolling on Twitter back in July and saw she had a new release, I knew I would buy it. I didn’t even have to necessarily know what it was about; I just knew I wanted to read it. This book did not disappoint. I also love that this novel takes place in the same town as West’s novel The Distance Between Us.
I absolutely loved Charlie. As with the ideas I discussed in my review of Dairy Queen, Charlie is not a female stereotype. She plays sports and is very athletic. She is described as “tall and strong.” However, now she is having a hard time dealing with what it means “to be a girl” and wonders it she can be a “real girl” and herself. What I loved is that Charlie discovers that her own preconceived notions and stereotypes of what being a girl means are not necessarily true. She also learns how important it is to be true to herself and who she really is even as she starts to discover new aspects of herself. I think that is a strong message for girls today to read.
There are a number of other parts of her life Charlie is dealing with as well. Along with figuring out her feelings for Braden, Charlie is dealing with some other personal issues, particularly the death of her mother when Charlie was very young. While there are definitely aspects of romance in On the Fence, it was not too overpowering and there is enough of the other parts of the story to keep it engaging and realistic. Plus, I loved so many of the characters, especially Charlie’s older brothers. Especially her brother Gage. They are fun, funny, and memorable.
On the Fence was a very enjoyable read. Not too light, not too heavy. It was just what I needed as summer is winding down and I’m still finding my reading groove again.