By Your Side

by-your-side


Title: By Your Side

Author: Kasie West

Series: N/A

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: January 31st 2017

Rating:

Five Stars

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 favourite 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 rumours 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?

– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“‘Books, bringing people together.’ That would make a good slogan for the library.”

Being locked in a library (or even a bookstore; if I got trapped in the Piccadilly Circus branch of Waterstones I’d be in heaven) for a weekend would be my idea of a dream come true. Unfortunately for Autumn it’s a very cold reality, and not a welcome one. Left behind in the confusion when she runs back into the bathroom as her friends get ready to head out for a bonfire party/camping trip Autumn is convinced it won’t be long until someone comes back for her. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.

Unable to find her way out and unable to call for help, Autumn resigns herself to spending the weekend trapped and alone, only to find out she isn’t as alone as she first thought. Dax is a loner, a boy who has rumours floating around him because no one knows anything about who he really is, and unlike Autumn Dax isn’t trapped in the library by accident.

“We could play for secrets. Questions.” I had a feeling this was the only way I was ever going to get to know Dax, because he certainly wasn’t volunteering any history about himself. And despite my better judgment, I was curious about why he was the way he was—the dark, withdrawn loner.

With no one else around Autumn reaches out to Dax, believing that even the company of a loner she knows nothing about is better than no company at all, and tries to get him to open up more. Trapped with no other company the two share a lot more of themselves than they have with anyone else outside of their families. Autumn tells Dax things she can’t admit to her friends, and in return she learns more about the truth behind all the rumours spread about Dax.

Autumn tries to forget about how her friends have seemingly abandoned her, left her for missing, but when she discovers the reason no one came back for her the little world she has built with Dax in the library comes crashing down around her.

When I saw the plot for this book I was hooked. Trapped in a library for a weekend sounds like a dream come true and a brilliant premise for a book like this. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed with how that idea was explored in By Your Side. In all the time Autumn and Dax were in the library I don’t think I saw either pick up a book to read, and they seemed to struggle to find things to do to pass the time forgetting that they were in a library where there were likely hundreds of books for them to read.

…The Characters

“It was hard to remember what I’d been so scared of. Being treated differently? Lack of acceptance? I was the one who hadn’t accepted myself for who I was. I was the one who needed to be comfortable in my own skin.”

Autumn suffers from anxiety attacks which, although she takes medication for, means sometimes she leaves early and wanders off from group events her friends drag her too. As something I suffer from as well I loved seeing this part of me in Autumn. She worries a lot about things people wouldn’t normally consider, has panic attacks when things get too overwhelming, and generally tries to make everyone around her happy at the expense of her own happiness. These are all traits I can recognise in myself and traits that I think are common with people who have anxiety disorders as well.

Locked in the library Autumn believes it will only be a matter of time before her friends realise their mistake and come back for her, when that isn’t the case she creates scenarios in her head justifying this in her mind. Autumn is a determined character, she never really gives up on trying to find an escape, despite being thwarted at every turn, and she soon becomes determined to get Dax to open up to her.

He had nobody. Nobody he could count on when he was in trouble, nobody to help him if he made the wrong step or lost his way. He was all alone. My eyes burned with tears that I held back.
He sighed. “Don’t assign me emotions. Don’t pretend to know what I’m thinking based on your experiences.”

Dax has not had an easy life, and as such he’s learnt some harsh lessons that mean he keeps to himself, craves freedom, and hates commitment. While Autumn is locked in Dax is hiding, and he doesn’t want to deal with the questions he knows will come when they are both found in the library when it opens again. Dax is not someone who opens up easily, and when Autumn pries too much into his life and his past he backs away very quickly, but he listens to Autumn’s issues and never belittles them, instead tries to make them better for her.

“Even though I knew this might end in heartbreak, that he might make my life scary and complicated and unpredictable, I knew I couldn’t let him walk away. Because I knew he’d also make my life happy and comforting and full.”

The relationship between Autumn and Dax was a slow one to build. Neither knew much about each other and neither really trusted the other at first, there were a lot of walls to break through both on Autumn’s and Dax’s side, and while I feel we got a lot of development from Autumn’s side on her growing feeling it felt like there was something missing on Dax’s part. Maybe that’s to be expected considering this story was told in Autumn’s POV but it’s something I noticed more in this book than any other Kasie West has written to date.

There is a love triangle of sorts in By Your Side but I didn’t mind it, despite normally not enjoying love triangles at all. I felt it showed Autumn’s growth as a character as she changed throughout the story, and realised not only what she wanted but who she needed in her life and who suited her better.


As much as I enjoyed this book it isn’t my favourite Kasie West read to date, that honour still belongs to P.S. I Like You. By Your Side was an enjoyable read and it has everything I’ve come to expect from a Kasie West novel; a cute story and a fluffy romance to keep me entertained for an afternoon.

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

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26 thoughts on “By Your Side

  1. Ouuhh nice review! Totally agree. Getting locked up in a library (or even a book store) would be a dream come true. Especially if I get compensation afterwards (like… books? 😀 😀 :D) for getting locked up without someone checking the place out before closing! The premise definitely seems to promise a more character-driven story, but it’s unfortunate that it didn’t blow your mind away. I’m glad you still found some elements entertaining though. 🙂

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I think everyone on WordPress agrees with that, being locked in a bookstore would literally be our dream come true wouldn’t it? And free books would make it even more amazing! 😀
      It was still good just not as good as I expected which is a shame, but yeah there were still parts I enjoyed about this one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s good to see that you ended up enjoying this one, Beth! I so need to pick up more Kasie West books already. I’ve put all of her contemporaries on my TBR for this year so I’ll definitely be getting to some of them. I remember being so excited that this had the whole ‘locked in the library’ thing but it sucks that the setting wasn’t utilized. I’ve read another review that was disappointed by that too. I know that if I was locked in a library, even with some mysterious guy, I would be looking through the books big time 😂. Still this does sound like a really cute book and I already feel like I can relate to Autumn and that I’ll enjoy her story. And it’s good to hear that the love triangle didn’t bother you! Great review as always!! 😁💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Overall I thought it was a good story, and yes you need to pick up some Kasie West books. I’m guessing after reading TSR you’ll need some contemporaries to take your mind off fiction for a bit and that would be the perfect time to pick up some of Kasie West’s releases! 😀
      Yeah ideally I’d like to see more of the locked in the library theme and I think a lot of other people would agree because honestly they could have been locked anywhere and it wouldn’t have made much difference to the story. Same, I’d just be sat in a corner with a pile of books next to me reading one after the other, forget the guy! 😀
      Yep, still a good book and I really loved Autumn’s character, I’m sure you’ll feel the same when you read this one as well.
      Thanks Melissa! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I plan on it! And yes! After TSR I have a feeling I’m going to need a fluffy contemporary pick me up type book. I actually have to jump right into The Inexplicable Logic of My Life after TSR because I got approved for it a few days ago but after that I’m so going for a feel good contemporary.
        That kind of sucks since the synopsis focus on the whole locked in the library aspect.
        Right? I mean being locked in a library means all I have to do is read. That sounds like heaven. Definitely forget the guy. 😂
        You’re welcome, Beth!! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I may have to do the same after I finish TSR. I can’t imagine it’s the kind of book you could put down and then go straight into another fantasy one! I imagine The Inexplicable Logic of My Life would be a good one to pick up so I hope you enjoy it.
        Yeah I felt Kasie West could have made more of the locked in a library part of the story, but it was still an interesting concept so it had that going for it! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Definitely not, at least for me. I’ll most likely need time to process TSR. I’m even going to give myself several days to write the review.
        Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Inexplicable Logic of My Life so I hope so too. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely review, Beth! I’m glad you enjoyed that one, and you know I am all for cute and fluffy stories, so I’m all for that one ahah. Too bad the library setting wasn’t used to its full potential, a.k.a to show some love for the books around or read or find secret books or something – I understand you were disappointed by this. I would be, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie. 🙂 Yeah it was a great book overall, and definitely one I’d recommend if you’re looking for a cute and fluffy story to pick up. I think when I read the blurb I expected the library part to be more of an actual part of the story, but honestly they could have been trapped anywhere and it wouldn’t have changed the story at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Okay, I will admit something, love and fluffy stories are not so much my thing, but knowing that the main character’s issues might help me connect with her is worth trying to step out of my comfort zone and finally grab a book from this author! Great review !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t use to think they were my thing either but Kasie West’s books are part of the reason I changed my mind. And even if it doesn’t work out that way for you hopefully you’ll connect with Autumn as a character and that will make this one worth picking up. I thought her issues were really well written and represented throughout.
      Thanks Donna! 😀

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