Source/Format: An ARC was sent by Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review
Expected publication: July 1st 2014 (tomorrow!)
Charlie is a sixteen-year old tomboy who lives and breathes sports with her three big brothers and her neighbour Braden. She’s really one of the guys, so it’s probably not a surprise that she dresses mostly in sporty, non-descript clothing and runners. So when her dad forces her to get a job to pay off her speeding tickets, and she ends up working at a trendy boutique, Charlie isn’t sure how her family will react. Slowly, Charlie begins to realize her own identity as both a girl, and as a girl who might have a thing for Braden.
This book is a sweet summertime beach read. It’s a fast one that I got through in about 4-5 hours. It’s engrossing and fun, and since it’s about summer, I read most of it in parks, and I would highly recommend that.
I was immediately drawn to Charlie and her character – I wasn’t ever a tomboy like Charlie, but I did dress kind of like her early in high school. The thing about Charlie is that she’s never been asked to step outside her comfort zone and try new – girly – things. She’s scared of being laughed at by her brothers, and it’s kind of fascinating and sweet to see her navigate that.
A big part of Charlie’s tomboyishness is because her mom died in a car crash when she was little. Charlie still has nightmares about her mom, and she often exhausts herself with runs and physical activity so that she can sleep dreamlessly. Night after night, she ends up outside, sitting near her fence, with Braden on the other side. They end up talking, and Charlie is able to go to sleep more soundly after she works things out with Braden.
This is the part of the novel I liked the most – the fence chats. It’s here where Charlie and Braden can be friends and a little more, and it’s both adorable and heady with that feeling of something more. I liked how much they challenged each other, but also how much they understood and were each others’ sounding boards.
I also loved seeing Charlie’s growing interest in her job and discovering how she had an eye for fashion. For Charlie, it wasn’t really okay to be both a sporty girl and a girl who dressed nicely at first. It’s great seeing her open up a bit to a new world and new friends – while still keeping herself her.
I did find that the stuff with Charlie’s mom was a bit glossed over. There’s actually a lot to work with in terms of Charlie’s development, so I found that I was a little bit disappointed in the ending and the way the family handled everything. It almost felt a little too easy to me.
That said, there’s nothing here not to like, from Charlie’s fun, outgoing, and protective brothers to her new friends at work. On the Fence is definitely an enjoyable light read, and one that would be perfect to grab for the beach.
Genuinely Nice Secondary Characters: There really wasn’t a bad guy in this book – in fact, everyone in Charlie’s life, including another guy she dates, her new girlfriends, and her boss at work, are all wonderful, accepting people. It’s really interesting that it’s Charlie who has all the hang-ups about herself and how girls and guys should be.
|Blue Jays Wikipedia page|
Sports Montage: I’ve mentioned this a million times, but I am not a sporty girl. That said, I LOVE reading about sports – and this book has them all. I’ve included a picture of the Toronto SkyDome and the Blue Jays because we are WINNING!
The Final Word:
On the Fence is definitely a light summertime read. It reminded me a lot of the Love Stories series that I used to read in high school – a bit formulaic. I wanted to delve deeper into Charlie’s relationship with Braden, deeper into her Dad’s relationship with her, more into who her brothers were. Basically, I just wanted more. That said, if you’re looking for a beach or park read in the summer heat, this might just be perfect for you!
ON THE FENCE comes out tomorrow! Are you interested in reading it? Have you read Kasie West’s other books, The Distance Between Us, Pivot Point, or Split Second? How do you feel about really light reads? Are you into makeover books? Are you a tomboy? Let me know in the comments!