Author: Kasie West (Website | Twitter)
Age Group: Young Adult
Publication Date: July 1, 2014 by HarperTeen
For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.
To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. 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.
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My Review: Reading this book made me want to jump up and run around and kick a soccer ball and play baseball and do all that athletic stuff. But, instead, I just kept reading because I honestly couldn't put it down. It was just packed with awesome-sauce. On the Fence is full of heart-warming familial situations, swoon worthy romance, and a tough yet relatable main character that I want to be friends with.
Charlie was a totally down to earth girl who loved sports and getting on the field. She's lived with her dad and three older brothers - and swoon-worthy boy next door - her entire life so all she's ever known is rough and tumble athletics. It's even gotten to the point where she feels like she was just born the wrong gender. Things would be easier for her dad and family if she'd been born a boy. I really felt bad for her when she was thinking this way. I sympathized with her situation and could see where she was coming from but I also felt frustrated with her at times because of this. She wasn't willing to grab the solution that presented itself at first. And I understood that she was dealing with a lot of problems but I was still just like
My favorite part of this book was probably Charlie's relationship with her brothers. I absolutely adored the dynamic between them all. They all stood out, even when together. I loved the fact that they could tease Charlie and act like goofballs but, in the end, they were always by her side and ready to go on the attack for her.
I also really, really liked Braden. He was so amazing and so sweet and the fact that he didn't cut Charlie slack in athletics just because she was a girl earned him all the bonus points. He was still very kind and extremely gentle with her when the time called for it. I loved how their relationship changed and morphed as the novel went on.
The plot was fun! It never seemed to drag or felt boring. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Charlie discover what it was like to be around girls and try some more feminine activities. She struggled balancing her new interests and activities with her love of sports and it was interesting seeing her find peace with the way her life was going. Toward the end, it did take a darker and more serious turn, especially when talk of her mom surfaced. But it just added more depth to the story overall. My only complaint it that it felt a little rushed, especially between Braden and Charlie. I would have liked for them to slow down because it felt like a cope out ending.
Overall, I liked reading On the Fence a lot. I do wish the pacing had been a little different and that we would have seem more of Charlie and Braden. But, besides that, I had a lot of fun with this one. I hope to pick up more of Kasie West novels in the future!
“Hey guys,' I said. 'Don't be idiots. This is Evan. Evan, the angry-looking one is Jerom, the constipated-looking one is Nathan, and the goofball on the right is Gage.'
Gage laughed. 'Constipated, Nathan? We said to look fierce.”