Dear Kasie West:
Please never stop writing real girls with real insecurities and real family relationships! Oh, how I love a Kasie West novel.
I pre-ordered On the Fence a gazillionty years ago because I knew it would make me every bit as happy as each of her other three has, but little did I know it would be delivered on such a rotten, no-good, very-bad day. I plopped down, completely emotionally exhausted, and was so delighted to discover that On the Fence had appeared in my Kindle! I’d forgotten it was release-eve, and seriously, you guys: my stress just melted! West’s books are that good.
Charlie is a tomboy–a real one. She has three brothers, and plays football, soccer, baseball, you name it, just like one of the boys. She has enviable rough-and-tumble relationships with her brothers and their friends; especially Braden, the boy who’s lived next door for almost her entire life. Between lack of sisters and her mother having passed away, Charlie really doesn’t know how to relate to girls, much, and has no clue how to be girly, but she finds herself thrown into a whole new arena when she gets a job and meets some new friends. Her life starts changing, and she’s really not sure whether she thinks it’s for the better…especially when it comes to Braden.
Like every other Kasie West novel, On the Fence is absolutely adorable. There’s a little something different about each of her heroines, though, and I loved that Charlie’s so uncomfortable being a “girl.” West makes Charlie her own, unique person, and I loved watching her come into her own and decide who she wanted to be. The deeper vein underneath what made Charlie behave the way she did, sometimes, was so intriguing and fascinating to read, and I loved that layering. Charlie seemed entirely real, and I wanted to step right into the novel and be friends with her and Braden. And Gage and Jerom and Nathan!
Charlie’s relationships with her brothers made me positively envious. I do have one brother–one sibling–and our relationship is as loving and playful and close as it could be. There was something about reading about a whole gaggle of teenagers who are about the same age, though, that made me wish just for a minute I’d had something like that. It did make me smile for my daughter and her future; I have three boys and one girl, and I think I may have a little glimpse, now of what she’s in for! Ha!
I did feel like one part near the end of the book–Charlie’s understanding of the things that had been kept from her–may have been a bit rushed, but it could also have been how quickly I was devouring the thing. In short, I adore this book. I loved the plot and the characters, and Braden is way up there on my list of favorite book boyfriends. It made me laugh and smile and I read the whole thing in about 4 hours. If you’re looking for a happy summer read with a positive female role model and a swoon-worthy boy, this is your book!
100% clean, totally fabulous. 4.5 stars.