On the Fence


Title: On the Fence

Author: Kasie West

Series: N/A

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: July 1st 2014


Four Stars

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her long-time neighbour and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

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.

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“We can’t let boys define how we feel about ourselves. You have to know who you are before you should let any boy worth anything in.”

Charlie has always been just one of the guys; she takes part in her brothers insane dares, plays pick-up football, and knows more about basketball than most of them. She has no desire to be one of the normal girls she sees hanging around in malls, wearing clothes showing off their figures and makeup, she’s content with her hair tied up and her baggy clothes hiding her figure. Until the day she gets caught speeding.

When her dad finds out about the ticket instead of paying it off for her like before he makes Charlie get a job, not only to pay off her most recent ticket but also to pay him back for the one before and the rise in car insurance they will likely cause. After Charlie finds a job in Linda’s Bazaar she starts becoming a different version of herself; a girl with a mother, a girl who wears pretty clothes and is a model for make-up sessions, a girl who hangs out with other girls after work instead of playing football with her brothers. Even the girl who draws a boy’s attention.

“I was a sporting-event type of girl, not a loud-music event one. At least that’s what I had always thought. But here I was standing in this store, in these clothes, hearing the sound of laughter in the back room, and realizing that maybe there was more to me than I realized.”

But in spite of her new job and her new ‘her’ most nights Charlie can’t sleep. Nightmare of her night her mother died keep her awake so instead she goes into the garden where she starts talking to Braden through the fence. It becomes their secret; the two of them sharing secrets about each other and not mentioning it again during the day. Braden knows everything about Charlie, but he doesn’t know about her new clothes, the make-up, or the guy.

Charlie starts becoming two different people; balancing her work life and everything that goes with it alongside her home life playing pick-up football with her brother’s and Braden. She starts facing her feelings, both the unearthed ones about her mother’s death and the subject of her nightmares, and about her feelings for Braden which deepen with every meeting at the fence they have.

…The Characters

“A girl who plays disc golf? She’s probably a dog. Some aggressive, burly thing.”
The guys laughed, not seeming to realize I was standing right there…playing disc golf. Maybe that’s how they saw me. Maybe that’s how most guys saw me.

Charlie has always been a tomboy but one of the things I liked about her was that she doesn’t view other girls, girls who are more concerned with their appearance and boys, with scorn but instead sees them as something she has no desire to be. She loves being treated as one of the guys with her brothers; someone who isn’t fragile and who knows as much about sports as they do. However at the same time she wants to be seen as desirable and attractive by a boy she likes.

The Charlie she becomes at work is someone who wears pretty clothes and make-up, who has fun at concerts and has a boy who is interested in her. It’s a different life even if she has to pretend; pretend that her mother is alive to her boss and pretend that she knows nothing more about sports than any other girl would to Evan.

“Braden cringed. He hated the word jerk. It’s what we all called his dad—well, what Braden called him, and we all agreed. It was as if he felt that word belonged to his dad and was too big of an insult to assign to anyone else.”

Braden has been a part of Charlie’s life since the beginning. They have been neighbours for years and best friends, Charlie is as close to Braden as she is her brothers. Braden maintains he knows everything about Charlie and can be as protective of her as her brothers are. He doesn’t see why Charlie is changing herself to fit in with Evan, he knows she was desirable to guys before she wore make-up and he doesn’t feel their relationship means anything if she has to lie about who she is.

“He trusts you. You’re like our brother.”
“But you’re their sister.”
“And yours.”
“You’re not my sister, Charlie. And they know that. They are very protective of you. More than you could possibly know.”

While I enjoyed Charlie and Braden as separate characters I didn’t think there was as much development to their relationship as there was between Lily and her mysterious pen pal in P.S. I Like You, and between Caymen and Xander in The Distance Between Us. This could be just because Charlie and Braden already have that foundation the other characters didn’t, being friends for so long, but I still would have liked to see more of their feelings develop and more of their fence chats.

One thing I love about contemporary books is the family dynamic, and Charlie’s family is everything I love to read; loud and chaotic but close and loyal to one another. Her father has always made so much more of an effort with Charlie, trying to make up for the fact that her mother died and couldn’t teach her about boys and periods. Her brothers are loud and very over protective, but at times they seemed to blur together a little in my mind, becoming JeromNathanGage instead of Jerom, Nathan and Gage. I felt like that about Alison a little as well, Charlie’s friend from work, that her development was kind of lacking a little.

While On the Fence wasn’t my favourite Kasie West book it was still a cute story, and a really quick read as well at less than 300 pages. If you’re looking for a light YA contemporary romance; a fast read with a fluffy romance and an engaging story then I’d recommend this book, along with everything else Kasie West has written.

What did you think of On the Fence? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

21 thoughts on “On the Fence

    1. If you love the best friends romance trope then you will love this book. And if you want to read more of Kasie West as well you could start with this one if you think you’ll like it the best! 🙂
      Definitely a cute read, typical of Kasie West’s books but I am really really enjoying them so far! And yeah at the moment it’s definitely what I need! 😀
      Thanks Marie! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m really loving reading your reviews of Kaise West’s books and am now tempted to just go and add every single one of them to my TBR. Though lack in development usually puts me off of books a lot of the time this one has the best friend romance trope which I love. Plus the whole family aspect you highlighted. I always want to see more YA with strong family units because I’ve started to notice that a lot lack that. (Though that isn’t always a bad thing considering sometimes it is a part of the plot in heavier books.) Another one I’ll have to read! Lovely review, Beth! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thanks so much Melissa, also yes I am so glad my reviews are making you want to go out and add all her books to your TBR list! Honestly the lack of development didn’t bother me at all, it’s possible I was reading too much into it and you may have a completely different opinion to me. Either way the major part of the story was the best friend romance trope so if you like that trope you’re pretty much guaranteed to love this book!
      The family aspect was another major part of this story, I did like the relationship between Charlie and her dad but even more I liked the way things between her and her mum (who died when she was six) had been written as well (I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say anything more!)
      Thanks again Melissa! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! ♥️
        I can never have too many good contemporaries on my TBR. They’re good go to books when I can’t figure out what to read 😊. I can’t wait to read it! I’m going to stuff her books in between certain reads since it seems like her books are good ones to read if you ever fall into a funk reading wise.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah that’s how I feel, if I ever don’t have something immediately next on my to-read list I reach for a YA contemporary book I have on my TBR list.
        Oh they’re definitely good for if you’re in a funk. It’s pretty much why I’ve been reading them, trying to recover from the epic book hangover that was Empire of Storms! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well that’s good! 😊

        You remember how I requested that ARC of Gilded Cage from NetGalley? Well I got approved for it today. I’m so excited! Still no word on Caraval though. I’ve been checking NetGalley daily to see if I got approved for it. 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh that’s amazing, I still have Gilded Cage on my to-read list but I hope you really enjoy it as well!
        Also, funny story, the UK ARC of Caraval was put up on NetGalley the other day and it turns out the ARC I originally requested was from one of the American publishers. I requested the UK one and got approved for that so now I need to email the US publishers and let them know, but I hope you get approved for that one as well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I hope you do too!

        I’ve had that happen to me before but reversed to where I accidentally requested a UK ARC for a book lol. That’s amazing though! I hope you enjoy it. And yes, hopefully I get approved for it too. I’ll be keeping a lookout for you review of it either way. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah I think it’s an easy mistake to make sometimes isn’t it. In the case of the US Caraval book it wasn’t until the UK edition was put up there that I realised the one I requested was the US one!
        I hope so too, and yeah I’ll let you know when I post my review as well! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Beth! I’m glad you liked it. This was my favorite Kasie West book until I read P.S. I Like You. And I completely agree with you on relationship development. There was so much more of it in P.S. I Like You through the notes. That was such a cute and completely different love story. I think I connected with On The Fence so much because I see so much of myself in Charlie. She’s like my book twin. I’m the girl who you’ll find in a group of guys. That’s always been my comfort zone. I could totally relate to Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jill! Yeah as much as I enjoyed this book at the moment P.S. I Like You is still my favourite of Kasie West’s books, possibly because I read it first but honestly who knows.
      Yeah I enjoyed the dynamic between Braden and Charlie but would have liked to see more of their relationship, but I guess given Lily and (you know who) didn’t have that history there needed to be more development to have the relationship make sense?
      Either way yeah, definitely a cute and different love story.
      It’s great you could identify with Charlie as well, I can’t say I’ve really been able to identify with any of Kasie West’s characters completely, maybe a little of each you know?

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.