Besides her Pivot Pivot series, I have read every one of Kasie’s books and I have adored them all. Every time a new book of her’s comes out I’m always terrified about the possibility of me not enjoying it. I honestly don't know why I worry at all because her stories are always perfect!
Each of her books provides me with a sense of comfort and hopefulness. Yes, they are romances, but her books focus on so much more. She usually looks at the main character’s friendships, family relationships, and the typical struggles that high school students face. Most of her books have been on the lighter side, and although they have dealt with serious issues, BY YOUR SIDE, has definitely been the one to explore the most serious ones yet.
The book follows Autumn Collins as she tries to navigate through a seemingly hopeless situation. In a matter of minutes, Autumn finds herself trapped in a dark library with no heat, no phone, or anything that could possibly help her escape. It’s hours before she really begins to crumble, and then suddenly, she realizes she’s not truly alone.
Eventually Dax, a mysterious and possibly dangerous boy from her school, reveals himself. So together they spend the next couple days trapped together and slowly going from strangers to possible friends.
As the story progresses, it just becomes more and more adorable. The romance was a slow-burn, which I really enjoyed because it truly allowed for Autumn and Dax to develop a strong friendship and trust. Both of the characters are extremely different- Autumn is constantly seeking to please everyone around her, she is full of laughter and joy, meanwhile Dax doesn't care for other’s opinions and plans to leave behind this town with no attachments
Dax was definitely a very interesting and complex character. He had all the qualities that would make him your typical "brooding YA love interest", but at the same time he felt a bit different. Despite all the suffering he had gone through in his past, there was a part of him that was clearly looking for someone to be there for him. Autumn was that person, and she definitely understood that it would involve a lot of patience, and some pushes, for him to accept her into his life.
Throughout the book they played games and talked about real issues that they faced, from anxiety to abusive relationships. It felt so real and natural, and it helped me really become invested in these characters. Together they built a solid friendship built on trust and understanding, as well as jokes and laughter.
From start to finish, BY YOUR SIDE just gets better and better. You’ll only become more and more invested in the lives of the main characters, as well as the secondary ones. There was so much love, acceptance, and hopefulness from beginning to end and it made for such a great read. From the weird games played by Autumn and Dax, to Dax’s resilience, to the amazing friendships and families shown in this book- it really has it all. I smiled so much reading this, so it’s definitely highly recommended by me!