Monday, August 11, 2014

She Shoots, She Scores?

Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Source: Publisher

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.

Review: On the Fence - Kasie West 

Kasie West's books has always been a sure win for me. Her dystopian debut, Pivot Point captivated me with it's time travel angle. When she followed it up with The Distance Between Us, another smashing success West became one of my auto-buy authors.

When it was revealed that she was releasing another contemporary this year Kasie West cult (including moi) went like Hallelujah. Tomboy falling in love with boy next door?? GIMME. The pre-release reviews were promising so I was definitely hyped up for the book.

I thought that I could count on West for a contemporary novel that would make the reader swoon, giggle and re-think. In short, I expected a mind blowing, coming of age read that I could would add value to the genre. And yes, majority of the readers thought that the novel succeeded in this aspect. Unfortunately, I'm with the minority saying nuh uh.

Contemporary novels usually has a good portion of romance in them and I have absolutely no issue with that. But when romance takes center stage and the other (more important) plot lines take a back seat, it irks me. The spotlight was put on Charlie's romance with Braden to such an extent that Charlie's struggle with her identity and the mystery about here mom seemed trivialized. Can we please talk about the way identity is portrayed in this novel? Being a woman is not defined by one's ability to understand how conditioners and foundation works. It is not defined by the extra-curricular activities that a girl takes on. Nor is it defined by the clothes she wears. On The Fence has quite a confusing stance on the whole identity issue and I was left wondering whether Charlie enjoyed the change from tomboy to girly.

The romance? To put it bluntly, I simply did not give a crap. Where were the trademark Kasie-West-Swoons? The spark filled chemistry? The synopsis promises this cutesy, friends to more than friends romance and I'm given this. This incredibly awkward and bland thing?! Also West, can we please cut down on all the extra cheese next time? Thank you.

So what did I love? Charlie's family was wonderfully done. Her single dad, her insane, dare-loving, prankster brothers should have been given more screen time because I adored their interactions! As always West's writing was beautiful but even that could not redeem the damage that was done by all the stereotyping. 

West's next book, The Fill-In Boyfriend is coming out next year and I CANNOT wait. It's sounds promising so lets hope that I'll enjoy this one 'cause I'm not ready to leave the Kasie West fan club yet!
My Rating
Over to you: Did you enjoy On The Fence? 

Haven't read it yet? How about West's other novels?


  1. Oh my god, the gifs made this review even greater. I haven't read anything by West before, but I know that soooo many people love her. I'm sorry to hear this one wasn't a better read.

    1. LOL, thank you! Her other novels, The Distance Between Us and Pivot Point were both wins for me so I suggest that you start with those, Jillyn. :)

  2. I finished reading this a few days ago and didn't enjoy it as much as the The Distance Between Us. It took me a while to connect with Charlie but I loved her brothers :)
    Great review!

    1. I love the brothers too-they were so much fun and had me giggling out loud! :)
      Thanks for stopping by, Jess.

  3. I completely agree with you! I thought this would be a slam dunk, but I had the exact same problems. I wasn't on board with the romance and the whole identity thing never felt resolved. The book tried to deal with so many problems at once that it only scratched the surface of each of them. :(

    1. "The book tried to deal with so many problems at once that it only scratched the surface of each of them."
      DITTO, that is exactly what went wrong. There were too many angles and all of them were not completely explored.
      Thanks for stopping by, Ashley! :)

  4. OMG THOSE GIFS THOUGH. I confess I was just sitting there watching the baby one for ages. Way to give the child trust issues. Aaaand if it was my niece when she was that age? She would've spat it back out at me. -_- Hehe. RANDOM I KNOW. Anyways....I'm surprised you didn't like this one! Just because I've heard like non-stop raaaving reviews. I'm still curious. Although I've never read a Kasie West book. So maybe I should start with Pivot Point or something as an intro?

    1. I know, I can't stop watching it too! LOL, that would probably my nieces and nephews too.
      I'm among the minority that's just not happy with it, everyone else LOVED it. :((
      Kasie's other books are flipping amazing, so you should either start with Pivot Point, if you are a sci-fi/dystopian person or The Distance Between Us, if you adore contemporary.

      Thanks for stopping by, Cait! :)

  5. I'm with you completely. I've read and adored all of West's other books. This is the first book of hers I've actually purchased rather than get from the library, because I figured of course I would like it just as much as the others. Of course this would be the one book of hers I don't really like.

    My biggest problem is the identity/stereotyping issue. You can like sports and hate make up and fashion and still be a girl. I get that Charlie was still finding things out for herself, and had her identity issues been properly explored, it probably would have all been fine. The end did hint at the fact that there doesn't have to be a distinction between girls who wear make up and girls who like sports, but it was still lacking. Hopefully her next book will be better!


Words are powerful - Please use yours wisely.

I read and appreciate all comments, so do feel free to leave some comment love! :)