Thursday, July 24, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* On The Fence by Kasie West

**I received this book via Edelweiss / HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. 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.

*My Thoughts*

On the Fence is a contemporary coming of age story that features Sixteen year old Charlotte "Charlie" Reynolds who lost her mother at an early age. Charlie is a tomboy at heart who excels at sports and there's no reason for her to want to be or do anything else since she hasn't exactly had a female role model to guide her in life's little journey.

Charlies finds a job working at a local boutique after yet another speeding ticket pushes her single father, who is a Police Officer, into putting his foot down. Having had no clear guidance or real female friends except for her sporting teammates, Charlie's eyes open to a whole realm of possibilities including new clothes, makeup, and friends who are actually female.

Personally, I loved the fact that West didn't make Charlie completely over. I loved that she can still play sports, while also being feminine without feeling like a freak. It's perhaps the perfect message to teenaged girls that they are allowed to be whomever they want, and to not worry about useless tools who say otherwise.

Charlie has the joy of having three older brothers (Jerum, Nathan, & Gage) who may, or may not be a bit overzealous in their protectiveness of Charlie, while playfully torturing her at each and every turn. No worries though, Charlie can dish it out, as well as she can take it. Their protectiveness is a bit sweet on one side, and perhaps a little too much on the other. Of the three brothers, Gage is perhaps the one that shines the brightest.

Braden Lewis, the boy next door neighbor, is the person who has been friends with the family for years, and as Charlie says, he is her fourth brother since he pretty much spends most of his time at the Reynolds household. He knows Charlie pretty well as you discover during their conversations over the fence. Braden and Charlie's friendship to romance development was nearly perfect, and I believe readers will have fun with the snark and banter between the characters.

I have to give West credit. Building a fatherly figure who lost his wife, and is forced to raise a teenaged daughter without anyone to really ask, takes a whole lot of understanding of the struggles that dads face. We seem to mainly focus on the mothers side of the equation, without realizing that there are good fathers out there as well. To my feminist friends, not all men are nasty, evil, rapists, or need killing. Single dads need not get disrespected and put down. They need encouragement and acknowledgement for the jobs they do day in and day out.

I'll jump on the Kasie West bandwagon now since apparently she has the right spark to make readers feel emotionally attached to her characters. I love the fact that West writes true to the heart stories that are fun, entertaining, and have characters that you just know will either break your heart, or make you crazy in anticipation of how they will finally discover true romance.

Author - Kasie West
Title - One the Fence
Published by HarperTeen
Released: July 1, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: E-book 304 pages

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