Tuesday, February 21, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: BY YOUR SIDE BY KASIE WEST


BY YOUR SIDE
BY: KASIE WEST

A STAND ALONE NOVEL

PUBLISHED: January 31st 2017 by Harper Teen,  342 pages

GENRES: YA, Contemporary Romance, High School, Anxiety, Physical/Mental Trauma,
Social Issues

PURCHASED: purchased paperback at Barnes & Noble

RATING: 4.4 STARS out of 5

OVERVIEW:
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:
A book about being locked up in a library. With a cute guy? YES PLEASE. Can we say dream come true?!


Many people would be freaking out. Autumn was. At the lack of food and no blankets, I would have been too. However, the majestic row after row of lushious novels would have been a powerful distraction for me at least. Not to mention the eye candy that would have been next to me. ;)


I was surprised by Autumn's lack of reading. She was going stir crazy. Dax on the other hand was able to keep a cool head. It reminded my of 'The Breakfast Club' when they'd play games, run through the building and loose their minds a bit.


I thought the fact that Autumn was a photographer lent perfectly to how the story was captured for the book. It was a photo. Carefully angled, the subjects meticulously arranged and a tight focus. There wasn't much back story or foreshadowing. It was strictly on the now. It was a snapshot in time, capturing the story midstream, much like a photographer at an event edits his viewfinder to tell a story that happens in seconds.

Autumn bugged me. I'll admit it. I don't like wishy washy behavior. As someone who deals with Anxiety, I understand a lot of what she was going through. But I also believe in putting on your big kid panties and holding yourself accountable in relationships. Any relationships. As for Dallin. Oh Lord, did I want to whack that boy over the head with the book. He needed to group up. Fast. You would think a serious event (sorry, I can't tell you because I'd spoil it) would make him mature a little, but nooooooooo. He got worse.


Dax was an intriguing character. I felt like we could have dove deeper into his back story, but that didn't fit with the overall focus of the book. There were some really touching, emotional scenes that had me trying to hug him (the book by proxy).... yes, I'm weird. I wanted to know so much more about him. I was empathizing with him HARD. Break out the emotional pint of Ben & Jerry's....


The secondary characters weren't a huge part of the story, but her brother played a bigger role. I wish I could have seen more dialogue with him, he was my favorite. 

As for Jeff, he seemed one dimensional most of the time. I wondered what his motivations were. Some of his antics scared the crap out of me. It made you wonder what drew the two of them together in the first place. I guess opposites attract.

Autumn's future was discussed, but I think Kasie intentionally left it vague and open ended.  I hope she gains some more trust in herself and in her capabilities. It pains me to see people cling to choices based on fear of uncertainty. 


Not that the other choice (again, can't say about what, no spoilers) was a bad one, but it didn't seem like it used any natural abilities she already possessed. Her ability to communicate grew infinitesimally but it was centered around Dax, not in general. Again, I don't think the point of the book was to see major character development or long range changes, but rather a snippet of time.

Kasie West has an uncanny way of making you feel integrated into the story and the characters. Her pacing is always on point, and her ability to emotionally dunk you is impressive as always. My thirteen year old declared West her absolute favorite contemporary fiction author. And Sydney is INCREDIBLY picky by nature so consider this high praise indeed. I'll throw my two cents in and describe Kasie's writings are addictive as Girl Scout Samoas after a year long Paleo diet. You'll grab every book off the shelf and devour them in one giant binge fest. And you'll love every delicious bite. 


If you're looking for a "clean", imaginative and endearing read, you need to hop online or to your nearest bookstore and buy your copy of By Your Side today!