BOOK REPORT for On The Fence by Kasie West

Cover Story: Body Bag It
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Easy Breezy
Bonus Factors: Tomboy, Boy Next Door
Relationship Status: Fleeting Flirtation


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On the Fence

Cover Story: Body Bag It

It's the unwelcome return of the headless models! Publishers, I thought we talked about this. Plus, Charlie, the heroine of the book, would never wear a dress like that outside of her job, nor would her toenails be painted. Nice try, cover designer, but I didn't fall for your trickery—that's a BRIDGE in the background, not a fence. Bag it and tag it, y'all.

The Deal

Growing up with a widower father and three brothers has left Charlie Reynolds more than equipped to deal with boys in every arena, athletic or otherwise— except when it comes to romance. She's never been one to wear make-up, and she certainly doesn't know how to flirt, but none of that mattered until the night she began talking over the backyard fence to Braden, her brother Gage's best friend. In the safety of darkness, Charlie and Braden open up to each other in ways that contradict their daytime reality, but once the sun is up, it seems like nothing has changed, with Charlie back to being one of the guys. Yet things feel different to Charlie, partially due to her new job at a clothing boutique, and as she explores a more feminine side of life, she attempts to reconcile her feelings for Braden with her identity as the ultimate tomboy.

BFF Charm: Meh

bff meh - on the fence

In high school, I probably would've been jealous of Charlie, who has such easy camaraderie with the kinds of boys that make most girls weak in the knees. She's a laid-back, up-front gal, and her willingness to explore female friendships was pretty endearing. It could be lack of depth, or the fact that she can't stand shopping, but her character just didn't speak to me, and while she's generally likable, I found her overall to be a rather flat, unmemorable heroine.  

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

As an only child, I never wanted an older brother...until I realized that older brothers mean lots of hot friends hanging out in your living room. Braden exemplifies this ideal with his athletic good looks and charming personality, and after 12 years of friendship, his relationship with Charlie is both sweetly affectionate and boisterously raucous. Their deepening connection through the fence chats is romantic, but I was too busy rolling my eyes over Charlie's obliviousness to truly feel any chemistry.

Talky Talk: Easy Breezy

Kasie West writes in a straightforward, no frills style that lends itself to a quick and casual read. The dialogue, particularly between Charlie and her brothers, rings true, even though the voices of the characters aren't particularly dynamic. Toward the end of the novel, there's a sudden left turn into darker emotional territory that felt out of place with the story's tone and hastily tacked on to add depth, and the result is a disconcerting detour that fails to take the book anywhere substantial.

Bonus Factor: Tomboy


Charlie pretty much kicks ass in every sport, whether it's mud football, soccer or roughhousing with her brothers. It's been a while since I've come across a true tomboy in YA, and her demeanor was a refreshing change, even if I ultimately didn't mesh with her.

Bonus Factor: Boy Next Door

boy next door

Charlie and Braden's friendship is rich with shared history, which makes Charlie's burgeoning feelings all the more complicated. Plus, he's a lot hotter than Brian Krakow. (Sorry, Brian!)

Casting Call:

Eliza Taylor

Eliza Taylor as Charlie

Alex Roe

Alex Roe as Braden

Relationship Status: Fleeting Flirtation

This book was a momentary and rather mindless distraction, and while its premise was incredibly attractive on the surface, I found myself losing interest as we got to know each other. But it certainly makes for a pleasant companion by the pool or on the beach during a hot summer day.

On The Fence is available now.