Friday, January 27, 2017

By Your Side by Kasie West

Title: By Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: HarperTeen via 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?
Review by Nara

In the few months since I got this book for review, I've already read and reread By Your Side. I think one of the things I really like about Kasie West's books is that they have such great rereadability potential. They're short; they're light and fluffy; the romances are generally adorable. By Your Side is also quite a good West novel, although out of the novels of hers that I've read (all except P.S. I Love You), it probably ranks last.

The biggest thing that struck me about the novel (especially on the reread) was that the premise was a bit ridiculous- I mean, what kind of friends would just forget about someone and not even bother to follow up on if they are alright. And it was pretty unbelievable that in the few years they've been friends (best friends even), they wouldn't have noticed Autumn's anxiety, especially since it does seem pretty severe in some situations (full on panic attacks). Ignoring that though, there were a lot of things to like about the novel.

Autumn's parents were supportive of her, which was quite nice to see in a YA novel. Most of the characters were actually pretty well developed and likeable, including Jeff (the almost-boyfriend), who was pretty reasonable throughout the book. On the other hand, Dallin, Jeff's best friend, was clearly the most irritating character with his almost bullying of Autumn and general idiocy.

The romance was pretty good, but it definitely wasn't as good as the romances in West's various other novels, which is probably why this book falls a little short of the others. The love interest Dax just wasn't quite as engaging as the love interests in her other novels. That being said, the romance progression was not bad, and you do end up shipping the two.

So while this book wasn't as good as Kasie West's previous novels, I think I would still recommend it to those looking for a light and fluffy contemporary romance.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 1/5