When it comes to my favorite Kasie West books, By Your Side definitely sits off to the side.
In By Your Side by Kasie West, Autumn Collins finds herself trapped in a library over a holiday weekend during a snowstorm. Autumn quickly learns that she isn’t alone and is trapped in the library with the school’s notorious bad boy, Dax Miller. Little does Autumn know, nothing will be the same after that weekend in the library.
I became a huge fan of Kasie West earlier this year and was so excited once I read the plot of this book. While this book wasn’t exactly what I expected and didn’t meet all of my expectations, it was a cute and quick read that I still enjoyed. In terms of all the Kasie West books that I’ve read, I would say this book falls somewhere in the middle because it contains aspects about her books that I love, but also aspects that I find need improvement in her books.
I think one of the most successful aspects of this book are the two main characters, Autumn and Dax. I like how Autumn already possesses a solid group of friends all with unique personalities which I find fairly uncommon in young adult literature. Autumn also struggles with an anxiety disorder, which is relatable to many readers, and plays a significant role in the plot. With Dax, I appreciated how Kasie West gave him a little more depth than some of her other male characters. In On The Fence, I liked how Braden had a darker back story, but wish Kasie West explored it more. Fortunately in this book, readers get a more well-rounded view of Dax and his backstory.
One aspects of this book that I thought could be improved was the pacing and plot. From the book’s description, I assumed this book primarily took place in the library. However, Autumn and Dax escape around halfway through the book. For the next 25% of the book, it didn’t seem like much happened and the plot kept moving around in circles. Although Kasie West is known for playing on a lot of cliches in her books, but twisting them into her own ideas, a lot of this portion of the book felt a little too generic and bland to me. Luckily, the book picked up again in the last quarter of the book.
Overall, By Your Side is a cute, but predictable book that is perfect for readers going back to school. While there were some aspects about this book that I really enjoyed, there were others that I felt could use improvement to make this book a more solid and cohesive read. Still, I enjoyed this book and give it four out of five stars.