She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door. With three older brothers, Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, has always been more comfortable calling the shots on a basketball court than flirting with the opposite sex. So when her police officer dad demands she get a summer job to pay for the latest in a long line of speeding tickets, she's more than a little surprised to find herself working at a chichi boutique and going out with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with her neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden, sitting back-to-back against the fence that separates them. Braden may know her better than anyone. But there's a secret Charlie's keeping that even he hasn't figured out—she's fallen for him. 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. On the Fence is a sweet and satisfying read about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect it.
On the FenceFeaturedHot
A boutique, basically a clothing store. Which is not a good place for tomboy Charlie, who doesn't know the difference between mascara and eyeliner.
Tossed into a brand new world, Charlie now has to navigate the complicated world of mascara, clothes, lipstick, and eye shadow. Chapstick used to be her friend, but now, she has to wear makeup and fashionable clothes for her work. Pretending to be a girl with an alive mother and someone who wears makeup has taken a physical and mental toll on our narrator. She goes to the fence and talks with Braden almost every night, and that is where the best parts begin. She is an intriguing character, but she is an even better narrator.
Braden is Charlie's love interest. Though he does provide some fresh drama and tension to the book, he isn't the main focus. Charlie is.
The book starts off with Charlie coasting along. The plot takes me along for the ride, and every transition flows smoothly, almost effortlessly. It keeps going (never speeding, never pulled over) until the ending, which is surprisingly undramatic. It ends sweetly, in a good way. Though I do find it difficult to get into the book and empathize with Charlie's problems, the book is greatly entertaining and hilarious in the right parts.
One of the best features of ON THE FENCE is Charlie's family. It is incredibly easy to imagine them. Those "lugs" (Charlie's brothers and Braden himself) are fiercely protective of their tomboy sister, which makes them endearing and adorable. Despite being Charlie's family and individual personas, they mesh together into one creature solely dedicated to Charlie's safety. With the exception of Braden, of course. He is his own character.
In conclusion, ON THE FENCE is a light-hearted book with a cute love interest and a whole bunch of personal baggage. Easy to read, the book isn't memorable, but it can take someone away for a few hours or so. ON THE FENCE is best recommended to those who enjoy a light romance, mild drama, and a lovable family.
Rating: Three out of Five
What I loved: On the Fence is a contemporary that really feels like a contemporary book to me. It hits every point on my list. I love Charlie's voice. I liked that she wasn't a girly girl-and I also liked watching her transformation throughout the book. I feel by the end of the story she found a happy medium and felt really good about who she was. And then there was Braden....seriously, is there a better book boy than Braden right now???? I don't think so.
I loved watching their story play out. They both have different family dynamics and they were both supportive of each other as true friends (who just happened to be crazy about each other). Their story was easy to sink into and I think every reader would be pulling for them to figure it all out.
What left me wanting more: Nothing. This was absolutely ideal for me. Pick this up for a fun summer read!
Kasie West is the queen of adorable. I’ve read all of her books and every single one makes me smile at both the romances and the friendships. On the Fence differs a little bit from West’s prior novels, both in heroine and tone. West tackles some darker issues in On the Fence, but manages to keep the tone fairly light even through the darker times. In addition, there’s a stronger focus on family and a bit less of a focus on romance, though that’s definitely an important factor too. On the Fence is a heartwarming novel about a tomboy who goes on a journey of self-discovery.
Charlie doesn’t really know how to be a girl. Obviously, she is biologically, but, since her mother died when she was only six, leaving Charlie with three older brothers and her cop father, she never received an education on womanly ways. Charlie loves to play and watch all sports, but has no interest in clothing or makeup. Her best friends are her brothers (Jerom, Nathan, and Gage) and the family’s neighbor, Braden. She’s the sort of girl who doesn’t know who Jane Austen is and doesn’t understand why a football match should be ended prematurely so a player can go mourn the loss of his grandmother. In fact, this early scene really bonded me to Charlie, since I suffer a similar lack of understanding sometimes.
Certainly, Charlie isn’t the first heroine to be better friends with guys than girls, but she may be the first one I’ve read who doesn’t actively dislike other women. Though she doesn’t understand other girls and is intimidated by them, Charlie doesn’t shame anyone for their way of life, unless they’re wearing text on their butt maybe. Charlie has a really healthy attitude and is very open-minded about the people that she meets. Throughout the book, she ends up bonding with people that she didn’t initially think she’d have anything in common with.
Forced to get a summer job after getting a second speeding ticket, Charlie gets a job at an eclectic little clothing store, close to where both Skye and Caymen from The Distance Between Us work. In different ways, she bonds with her boss Linda and makeup artist, Amber. Both of these characters could have easily been stereotypes, but West builds them out fully and looks beneath the surface. Charlie ends up allowing Amber to put makeup on her for demonstrations and having to dress up nicer for work. At first, Charlie feels like her work self and her sporty self are different people, and she spends the summer getting used to the fact that she has more depths than she ever imagined.
Though she does change her style throughout the book, the message of On the Fence is one of tolerance and open-mindedness. Charlie doesn’t stop loving sports or become some ideal of femininity. She starts wearing prettier clothes and feeling more confident, but only goes so far as she actually wants to and would never let that stand in the way of having fun. The romance plays into this too, as Charlie always thought she was just one of the guys and that none of them could ever actually be interested in her.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The romance is a slow burn, so slow that I am a little annoyed with this trope at the moment. I love it, but also JUST KISS ALREADY. Unlike West’s other couples, these two have a long association. The evolution from friends to love takes place largely during conversations overnight through the fence. Charlie has trouble sleeping because of nightmares about her mom’s death and Braden’s often awakened by his drunk father coming home late. By the fence, they alternately banter (in an adorable game of who knows more about whom) and talk about real things they’ve never discussed with anyone. I only wish I could have gotten to see more of them as an actual couple.
The Final Verdict:
Over this summer, Charlie learns more about herself and finally confronts the psychological trauma of her past. It’s impressive that West manages to deal so well with Charlie’s grief without making the book depressing. If you’re a fan of Kasie West, don’t worry because her streak of amazing is not over. If you’re not a fan yet, you can really start with any of them, but I think this might be my favorite one so far. This one or Pivot Point. Don’t make me choose!
I liked Charlie and her all-boy family dynamic and being the daughter of a cop myself, I could totally relate to the awkwardness of her relationship with her dad. Braden was probably my favorite character and his interactions with Charlie, both during the day and along the fence at night, made me feel all warm and fuzzy.
We also got a teasing glimpse of Caymen and Xander, although she (along with those creepyars dolls) is the only one who shows up on the page, albeit briefly. Skye played an important role in Charlie's story and I enjoyed getting to know her a little better. If I had to guess, I would say her story is up next.
My only qualm with ON THE FENCE was the lack of "together" time Charlie and Braden actually had after declaring their feelings for one another which left me frustrated. But as with West's other books, PIVOT POINT and SPLIT SECOND included, ON THE FENCE is fast paced, full of swoon, and clean. It makes for a fun summer read!
The best-friend-turned-boyfriend story is one of my favorites.
I feel madly in love with Charlie, her family, and of course Braden. I loved Charlie and Braden together. The connection between them was beyond adorable, and the romance was extremely swoony. I love the friends to more trope, a lot!!!
If you haven't read any of Kasie's books yet, but look for cute, awesome YA contemporaries, you should definitely add her novels to your TBR.
I’m not sure which one I liked better but I love both books just the same, but I do have to say that I was able to easily relate to this one. It was also filled with tropes that I easily fall in love with, such as tomboy heroines, childhood friends turned lovers, big brothers, and sports!
Charlie is now one of my ultimate favorite contemporary MC. I can definitely relate to her since I’m definitely a tomboy as well. Although I actually have sisters, instead of brothers, I still see myself clearly through her. It was like looking into the mirror. I definitely love her relationships with her brothers (I can’t pick a favorite though haha!) and with Braden. Being surrounded by men throughout her life, she had a bit of a trouble trying to get in touch with feminine side. Though, I don’t mind it, in fact I really did enjoy reading her. She’s like the epitome of a teenager trying to find herself.
Braden was definitely an enjoyable character. I love his quirks and his personality. It was so easy to fall in love with his character. I also love his sense of humor and his sweetness. It was fun to see how his relationship with Charlie blossomed from being platonic to romantic.
The pacing of the story was great, there was never a dull moment which made me finish the book easily. Kasie West’s writing style is a mix of light and drama. The balance among the emotions and the tone of the novel was amazing. The chemistry and dynamics of the character and the story was great too!
Honestly, I would read this book over and over again but since this is only the second book I’ve read from Kasie West, I need to check out her other books especially Pivot Point and Split Second since I’ve heard amazing things about the series. This book though? 10/10 would recommend!
Alright how do I start to explain my feelings toward this book? First off I have never ever read anything by Kasie West before so I didn't know what I was putting myself into, but if you're like me and it's searching for something to see if her books are as good as the raves on GR search no more, On the Fence is a stand alone, really short so even if you hated (but I don't see how, really, is that good) it will not gonna be a real pain in the ass.
I don't know how West does that but she mixes sad and happiness in such a short story, at times I was reading it and was laughing very happy with life and everything but them the narrative would have a glimpse of sadness that made me deeply sad. I mean it's not a depressing book by any far (and if you not as much as crier as I'm you probably will not even get close to crying with this book, but I'm a baby when it comes to crying so I cried. And hard.) but the way some things are said it just would made me heart pang, and hurt and it really touched me, and sometimes I got myself crying of happiness too - I don't think I've ever cried of happiness over a book, but the scenes with Charlie and her brothers are just... Perfect.
Not really any spoilers but [Also the dead of her mother, I mean I had totally called the true story ages ago in the book but it only made me feel more pain at each time she was mentioned and them when the truth was revealed to Charlie I was just like and I could stop crying I actually had to get up and wash my face and blow my nose a couple of times to recompose myself. ]
And about the characters gosh I loved them so much too. Charlie was just the perfect tomboy, contemporary main characters usually have this thing that they're very girly girls even the ones that say they hate make up and only hangs out with boys usually end up making something very girly like obsessing over the first boy that flirt with them but Charlie was actually a real tomboy, that was so clueless about some things. I loved how in this book she discover that she can be a tomboy and also dress up, wear make up and feel very girly sometimes and this is not gonna change who she is, will only make her more herself - I feel like more contemporary books should pass this message, because every girl has a tomboy side and a girly side and both of these sides are more than okay and can perfectly co-exist.
The dynamic between the characters was amazing too, I already told above that I loved Charlie and her brothers, but I also loved her relationship with her father (it made me tear up a little bit too) I could relate so much with her father being so clueless about what to do with a teenage girl and just you know doing his best - with was so heartwarming and such a daddy thing to be so clueless sometimes. And, as it couldn't be different the love interested was so good too, I loved Braden and how his relationship with Charlie played out it was so obviously to everyone else what was happening but it was fun to watch them struggle to realize the obvious.
Well I could go on and keep talking about each aspect of this book and all the scenes that are important to me in details as to why but I think I made me point here. This is must read to everyone, I don't care if you think young adult is only for childrens go read this book and come around, or if you don't like contemporary reads, go read this book and find out what you're missing, just go read this book - seriously, you're not gonna regret because reading this one was a hell of a good ride.
This was my first time reading a Kasie West book and I was not disappointed. It left me excited that I already own some of her other books so I can read them soon. This one seemed like it would be a good summer read but it turned into something more and I really enjoyed it.
Charlie was absolutely great. I loved her journey of discovering herself that she had throughout the book and I really appreciated that it never felt like the book was looking down on any of the girls who appeared. Charlie had her own perceptions but they were hers. To me, it felt like the book was saying it’s okay for girls to like sports, it’s okay to like make-up and dresses, it’s okay to like both. Charlie’s acceptance of that was important and well handled.
The family dynamics were also great. The boys were so protective of Charlie, their bond was so evident, and the teasing just made me smile. The romance was adorable and also believable. Their banter during their fence chats, their playfulness, just everything about them together made me smile. I did a lot of smiling while reading this book.
The writing flowed really well and made for an easy read that I didn’t want to put down. There was never a time I felt like the book was dragging, though it did end up being a little predictable. Still, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment and I look forward to reading more Kasie West soon.
So, far, I've loved every single one of Kasie West's books. The Distance Between Us was an adorable contemporary and Pivot Point remains to be one of my all-time favorite series! So, I had pretty high expectations for this book! And I am happy to say that I enjoyed reading this book!
I'm going to go ahead and say it: This is a perfect contemporary romance. It's short, sweet, and just all-around gives you a good feeling! The relationships in this book were amazing! I'm I'm not just talking about the romance (I'll get to that later), but Charlie has great brothers and it's obvious that they care about her (even though they can be annoying, but, come on, they are brothers). And the relationships that she began to form with people outside of her family was interesting as well.
Now, about the romance. One of my favorite kinds of romance in books is the best friend romance (my other favorite is the hate to love romance) and this book perfectly showed that romance and I found it to be really sweet.
I also need to mention how much I loved the fact that this book takes place in the same town as The Distance Between Us! The references to The Distance Between Us were placed in such an amazing way that it didn't interrupt the plot or confuse those who have never read the book. We would just see or hear mentions of characters from the book or maybe pass by places in The Distance Between Us. And, I'm sorry, I love it when books acknowledged other books that the author wrote!
And now we get to the negative side of things. I obviously loved this book but I just couldn't give this book 5/5 even though I love it. The main reason is that this is not exactly a new story. I've read many similar books and there are many books out there that I haven't read that share the same ideas. I also had issues with Charlie's mother (who is dead by the way. I did not have issue with her mom, just with the odd mentions of her). I just felt like a majority of the things with Charlie's mother did not do anything to the story at all and didn't advance the plot.
This was a great contemporary romance and while it's not exactly original, I still loved it! If your looking for a feel-good book to put a smile on your face, pick this book up! And if you have yet to read any of Kasie West's books, what are you waiting for?! READ THEM!!
The main character is named Charlie. She is confident, sporty, and a pretty cool chick. According to Charlie, she is a tomboy who doesn't know how to be a girl. After getting into a bit of trouble, her dad makes her get a job. Charlie ends up in a workplace that she didn't expect to like, but ends up enjoying anyways. Over the course of the book, Charlie makes new friends, finds herself, realizes that she doesn't need to change for anybody, and that true love might have been in front of her the whole time. She's a spunky protagonist who you're going to love!
After reading awesomeness that is The Distance Between Us, I was ecstatic when I got this ARC. I gobbled it up and loved every word. Plus, there's a squealy moment towards the beginning that readers of The Distance Between Us will love! The plot was fast paced and fun. I loved the characters, and like how Charlie's protective older brothers are portrayed. I feel that the defining point in many of Kasie West's novels is the characters learning that they aren't a stereotype, that they don't really exist. It's a journey that all teens go through, which makes this incredibly relatable. Make sure to pick up this book when it comes out in July and I am hungering for whatever Kasie writes next! A definite five stars!
The dynamic between Charlie, our tomboy main character and her brothers is so endearing. They are like an amoeba, where one is, you'll find the rest. They have folded into their circle of boyhood, wrestling with her, playing sports no holds barred with her, and letting her be with them all the time. Part of this group of guys is next door neighbor Braden, who is an only child and loves the inclusion. He has a dad who he dubs jerk and him getting out of the house when dear dad comes home drunk is what leads him to be out so late at night to begin the fence talks with Charlie.
And yes, we can all see where this is going. But I liked how they had a friendship first, and they were aware that if things changed, it would effect more than herself. But I like that as they have the deep conversations at night, she is working out things about herself and her mom who died when she was little. They have this deeper connection and it makes me smile.
Charlie's dad was also present. He was awkward a lot of the time, but he was at least trying. Red in the face talking about conditioner and bras, doing what men shouldn't have to do. I also like that he was in on some of the nerf action. Speaking of, I love the playful nature of the house. That and how the dares kept things adventurous and deepened their bonds.
Through her job she is also getting in touch with parts of herself that she didn't before. That she could be a little girly and it wouldn't be the end of the world. What I think the most important message was though is how she learned to be herself. That she could be girly or wear makeup if she wanted, but that she shouldn't have to be fake or only show half of who she was in order to be liked.
The light nature to the book was also good. Because even though it had some rough subject matter--drunk dads and dead moms--it was dealt with and still managed to focus on the now. Being able to push through, showing your strength and at the same time vulnerability to open up to someone else and share feelings, to lean on them and to get through.
The ending was sweet and nice, but I couldn't help putting down the book and wanting to get more time in their chemistry, in the sureity of their relationship, with others knowing, with their hearts a little less confused.
Bottom Line: Fun, fast and light with slow romance that was sweet.