Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 352 (eARC)
Source: Edelweiss
In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~
By now, I know that if I am in need of a quick, fluffy contemporary, I can reliably turn to Kasie West. She has never let me down! And while ON THE FENCE is still my favorite of hers to date, this is definitely a close second. Plus, it helps that this is such a cute and quick read that I read it in less than six hours. Literally the perfect pick-me-up for any book lover!

This book starts immediately with the main character, Autumn, getting trapped in a library. I felt really bad for her, especially because it was cold, but as she described this library I found myself being super envious of its awesomeness. But, anyway, Autumn is obsessed with control. She has to be in control of everything and liked by everyone. This may be because she has anxiety and has a panic attack when situations become truly out of control. While her family is ridiculously supportive (more on that later), her friends don't know about her anxiety because she is scared they will treat her differently.

Then there's Dax. Dax is also stuck in the library. He is a bit cliche in the sense that he is that school bad boy that has a reputation that doesn't fit him that then falls for the good girl, but I have no gripes. I loved Dax and his hidden heart of gold and calming nature. He is so selfless, thoughtful, and kind, and made the best of a really bad hand of cards life dealt him. We need more characters like him and Autumn that allow us to explore important issues like the realities of foster care and anxiety.

A huge shout-out to Autumn's family as well. As we all know, there's a bit of a plague in the YA world full of bad parents. Autumn's family are wonderful. Her older brother Owen comes home from college to see her because he cares about her, and she can tell him anything. Her parents worry for her and support her mental health consistently, allowing her to be independent but being there for her whenever she needs them. They see the importance in mental health days and overcoming anxiety-inducing situations. I really enjoyed their dynamic and think it was very refreshing to have in this book.

I loved so much about this book it's hard to find any negatives, but there are two things I didn't like. Firstly...I didn't like how Dax and Autumn met. I mean, sure, suddenly realizing someone else is trapped in the library would probably be weird, but their meeting seemed awkward and forced and like it didn't flow with the rest of the story. And then secondly, I hated Autumn's friends! I mean, Lisa's great, but the others seemed kind of two-dimensional and boring, and they didn't even realize Autumn didn't make it to the bonfire with them and was trapped in the library! I get it, she has a reputation for running off (due to her anxiety, not that they knew that), but if you are a good friend you'd look for her or confirm her safety before, I don't know, leaving her behind on a mere assumption. Also, Dallin, Jeff's best friend, is a terribly cold person that is rude. Cold person is cold. Situations of high stress may make people act out, but I found myself sneering every time he was on the page. Not a fan, though I guess it's a positive West could incite so much animosity in me.

I wish there was more. More kissing, more Dax and Autumn, more. They work so well together and this book was so quick I was a little surprised when it ended. I want to know what happens next because so many questions remain unanswered. I know West hasn't really written any sequels since her Pivot Point duology, but this book could easily swing one.

Read this if you want a fluffy contemporary, love libraries, and a respectful handling of anxiety and the foster care system. West will never disappoint.

4 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

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