Friday, April 28, 2017

BOOK REVIEW | By Your Side by Kasie West

Title: By Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Pages: 346
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: I checked this out from my library!
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?

Back in the day, I had quite the issue with Kasie West's The Fill in Boyfriend. The main character annoyed me to no end, and the romance seemed forced. I gave West another shot though, and I am glad that I did!
My progress!

By Your Side starts off right away. Autumn, the main character, is stuck in the library after a misunderstanding with her friends. It is not long before she realizes that not only is the library closed for three days, but she isn't alone. Dax, the resident "bad boy" of the school, is also there, for reasons undisclosed at first. 

I found the plot really refreshing. By having Autumn and Dax stuck together, there was a lot of opportunity for character development as well as the budding romance. I adored Autumn's and Dax's interactions with each other. They have completely different experiences, and it was nice to see realistic interactions instead of the two characters becoming instant friends. They were pretty snarky to each other, and the bantering made me smile ear to ear.

The story gets a bit serious around halfway through, and I didn't mind. Most of the first half was pretty light-hearted, solely because it took place in the library. Things get more intense, and Kasie West handled everything well. Dax has had a hard home life, jumping between foster homes and facing the threat of a group home as well. Autumn, though it looks like she has everything on the outside, deals with anxiety attacks, and her friends are kept out of the loop. Dax and Autumn are both put into compromising positions, and the way the characters reacted weren't silly or not believable. The characters actually acted their age, which at times led to mistakes but wasn't irritating.  Kasie West handled these harder topics with poise, and it added more depth to the book.

The characters were more realistic and I was able to actually immerse myself in the story. However, this book isn't near a five star read for me. There are a couple things here and there that prevented me from loving this book. 

First, none of the secondary characters were expanded upon. The secondary characters are one dimensional and didn't exude any type of personality. It is only a couple of days since I have read this book, and the only character's names I can remember are the two main characters. I couldn't care for the secondary plots that dealt with other characters outside of Autumn and Dax. When the focus was on something else besides the romance, I didn't care as much in comparison.
My initial thoughts. :)

Additionally, the writing just wasn't great for me. When I am reading a book by Jenny Han, there is just something special that makes me connect to the story on a deeper level and makes the book become special to me. That "it" factor that I find every now and again was absent from this book. Yes, the writing was fine, but it wasn't anything better than that. It was simple and easy to read, but didn't add anything to the story.

At the end of the day, I had fun reading By Your Side. I don't think it was special, but I did have fun reading the book. The characters and their decisions were much more realistic than the ones in the previous book I read by West; By Your Side was a great step up from The Fill in Boyfriend. The simplistic writing and the one dimensional characters stopped me from loving the book, but I am interested in reading more of Kasie West in the future.

With that, I gave this book
3.75 out of 5 Stars!

Have you read any books by Kasie West? What were your thoughts?

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you soon with another post!

Happy Reading! 

Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!


  1. I'm glad you liked this one! So happy you gave West another chance. Have you read anything besides The Fill-In Boyfriend and this book? I highly recommend P.S. I Like You. And The Distance Between Us. And On the Fence. Basically all of West's books - her paranormal duo included. I've seen many people say that this book (By Your Side) was her weakest. (I sort of agree? Though I liked it.) So I think you'd LOVE her other books, if you enjoyed this book!

    Fantastic review, Genni! Have a wonderful weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. No, I've only read this book! And the mood I was in really effected how much I enjoyed The Fill-In Boyfriend. I wasn't in the mood for contemporary at all, and I forced myself to read it, which made me look at it with an uber-critical eye. I can tell you like West! Out of all of her books, I am looking forward to reading P.S. I Like You the most.

      Thanks for stopping by Alyssa! I hope you have one. :)

  2. I've still never read a Kasie West book, but I really hope to read at least one this year! So glad you enjoyed this book. Thank you for sharing your thoughts :D

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

    1. If you do, I hope you enjoy yourself! Thanks for stopping by. :)