~ Spoiler Free Book Review: On the Fence by: Kasie West ~
Being raised by a single dad and having three older brothers, sixteen year old Charlotte Reynolds aka Charlie is your typical sporty tomboy. Yet, after a speeding ticket, Charlie has to pay it off by working part time at a fashion boutique. Now, she is wearing clothes with lace, putting on makeup, and hanging out with a boy who knows nothing about her athletic talents. Losing the balance between her old self and new self along with struggling to grow up without a mother, Charlie discusses her problem with childhood friend / next door neighbor / practically fourth brother, Braden, through the fence at night. Because of their ‘fence chats’, Charlie finds herself falling for him, but who can she discuss this problem: she knows she won’t do anything to jeopardize their current solid relationship.
After finishing some high fantasy books, I decided to try to switch up the genre and picked up this contemporary. I have heard of this author and have been meaning to pick up her books. They always look so cute in the bookstore. Anyways, a cousin of mine had this book lying around in her living room, so I borrowed it and finished it in a day. It is a classic romantic contemporary, and I absolutely adored it. I love the main character, Charlie, and her search for self. I thought this was well done and didn’t make me cringe which can happen. In addition, I appreciated how this book doesn’t do the cliché YA thing where girls are put into boxes of either the sporty girl or girly girl (and sometimes nerdy girl). Somehow, we cannot be both or more which isn’t true. Thank you for not doing this! I enjoyed the strong theme of family and friendship in this book. It made the love story seem secondary especially since the main character is also going through some paramount hidden trauma from her childhood. It was a good balance between serious issues and a cute blossoming love story. By the way, Charlie’s brothers seem great and I envy their closeness. I wish there was more of them. I have to say I was thrown off by the randomness of trying to squeeze diversity in the book. I want to give the author props for trying to diversify her characters, but there could have been more effort to not make it seem so random and therefore unnecessary. Overall, I was entertained and loved every single character. It has everything to be a great contemporary. I would give it a 4.5/5 and will definitely pick up more Kasie West books.
Question: Doesn’t Charlie’s habit of running away from stress/problems remind you of a character from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?
Side note: Is diversity with no meaning (narrowing it to stories) still diversity at work?