On the Fence is the first Kasie West book that leaves me on the fence.
On the Fence follows tomboy Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds who is forced into working at a girly boutique to pay off her expensive speeding tickets. With four brothers and an athletic neighbor, Charlie has always been just one of the guys. One night, when Charlie isn’t able to sleep after nightmares about her mother’s death, she ventures out to the fence. There, she starts midnight talks with her neighbor and wonders if they could be something more.
I started reading Kasie West’s books at the tail end of last year and I immediately fell in love with her easy writing style and fun plots. While On the Fence definitely fits in those categories, it’s my least favorite of the books that I’ve read by her. While all of Kasie West’s books lean towards the stereotypical side, this one seemed the most unoriginal and I never felt incredibly invested in the characters. That being said, I still enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick summer read.
One aspect of this book that I really appreciated was the main character, Charlie. Many of Kasie West’s other characters are traditionally girly, but Charlie doesn’t really fit that mold. However, I also appreciated that Kasie West emphasized that even though Charlie’s interests are “traditionally girly,” girls can still play tackle football, know more about baseball than guys, and be interested in movies other than romantic comedies. It made me happy that Charlie’s inner monologue questioned this whenever a male character stated otherwise. Additionally, I liked how Kasie West showcased through Charlie’s experiences at the store that girls with many different interests can still be friends and support each other rather than tear each other down.
Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed in this book was staying true to yourself. Charlie struggled a lot with her mother’s death and who she was as a person throughout the novel which is relatable to many readers. When Charlie takes the job at the store, she lies about her mother’s death in order to avoid people treating her a certain way. She also dates a guy in the novel, who even though he’s not a bad guy, makes her feel like she can’t really be herself. I liked how Kasie West resolved these issues in the novel and sent a good message to readers.
As for the romance in this book, it reminded of a lot of other books I read and doesn’t really stand out compared to the relationships featured in Kasie West’s other books to me. Braden is a nice guy who likes Charlie exactly the way she is which is a definitely plus. He also had family issues which were hinted at throughout the novel, but were really never explored in too much depth. While Braden and Charlie were cute and I was happy when they got together, it just didn’t have the spark to make it particularly memorable.
On the Fence is one of those books that I finished in one sitting because it was easy and fun to read. This isn’t the most earth-shattering books, but it is perfect if you want something light-hearted that will leave you smiling. I give On the Fence three out of five stars.