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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
I can't believe I haven't read this book before now! I'm a little late to the Kasie West world - I actually think my own teen years would have been so much better if she'd been writing these stories then instead of the only YA novel options being Judy Bloom - and I keep finding new books of hers to read, even if they are technically older books. I has heard of On The Fence, but it's only recently that I had time to read it. It definitely reads like one of West's first books, but I still enjoyed the story!
It will be no surprise to anyone who has ever watched a romantic comedy that Charlie ends up with Braden, but their journey to get there is really sweet. I loved watching them realize that the like each other and how he's always been such a constant in her life. Unlike some movies where the guy doesn't realizes how awesome the girl net door it, Braden knows from the beginning that Charlie is special. Instead, their story is about Charlie coming to terms with how she sees herself and finally recognizing that she loves him. It's pretty cute.
Liked Charlie's Growth
Charlie has four older brothers - FOUR! - and this has definitely shaped the way she acts and sees herself. Her growth over this story is fun to watch as she realizes that she doesn't have to chose between make-up and baseball, but can actually have both. While this shouldn't be surprising news, I can understand why Charlie would have a hard time with this. Imagine growing up surrounded by men and no female influences; it would hard to understand how to step into "girl world" after never being part of it. It was really sweet watching her mature and figure out what she wants for herself.
Charlie's Mom's Death is Poorly Talked About
The way Charlie's mom is discussed was my biggest issue with this book. After all the build up about the family's secret and why no one talks about their mom, to find out that it's because she suffered from depressed and committed suicide was really sad, except that everyone seems to blame her for dying! There are zero conversations around mental health, depression disorders, having Charlie speak to someone about this, or really understanding that no one makes the choice to commit suicide on a whim; I know this is meant to be a "light" story, but I really don't think it's ok to use suicide as a throw away plot device. This is a real issue and mental health needs to be talked about and understood a lot better than West has done here.
Overall, this is a cute story and a good choice for an easy summer read. I recently recommended Kasie West to some of my students, so I'll reiterate that here and recommend this book to people who enjoy YA contemporary romances, easy reads, cute love stories, or have enjoyed any of West's others books! Have you read On The Fence?
FINAL RATING: 3/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
Follow Me on Instagram