Review: On the Fence (West)

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AUTHOR: Kasie West
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
PUBLICATION DATE: July 1, 2014
ISBN: 9780062235671
PAGES: 320
SOURCE: Edelweiss
GENRE: contemporary romance
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS

SUMMARY: Raised by her father with her three older brothers, 16-year old Charlie has grown up a sports-loving, smack-talking, rough-housing tomboy. But when Charlie must get a job to pay for a speeding ticket, Charlie starts to discover who she could be when her brothers–and their cute best friend–are not always around.

IF THIS BOOK WERE FOOD, IT WOULD BE: a bag of Skittles–short, sweet, and impossible to put down

REVIEW: Cute, cute, cute! I’ve only read one other book by Kasie West (Pivot Point), and after reading this second one, I’m officially a fan. On its surface, On the Fence is like so many other “boy next door” romances for teens, but On the Fence‘s focus on friendship and family–and not just romance–really makes it stand out. I love Charlie’s interactions with her rambunctious brothers and their neighbor, Braden. It’s clear that the boys adore Charlie, and I love the way Charlie can hold her own with them. She’s a perfectly-flawed, believable tomboy learning how to to be herself and embrace her feminine side.

I love that Charlie’s dad is a very involved parent, even if he thinks he is clueless when it comes to raising a girl. Charlie’s three brothers are fantastic as well. They are never lumped together into just “general” brotherly characters–each one has his own personality, fears, flaws, and relationship with Charlie.

I recommend Pivot Point often at my school, and I will be recommending On the Fence as well. It’s one of those books that features a high school character and a swoon-worthy romance but is still clean enough for most middle school readers. No profanity and just a little kissing.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Love it! This will be a popular choice for teen romance readers.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. This will be a hit in my middle school library.

READALIKES: My Super-Sweet Sixteenth Century (Harris), Pivot Point (West), This Is What Happy Looks Like (Smith)

RATING BREAKDOWN:

  • Overall: 5/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5

CONTENT:

  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: mild; some kissing, brief reference to menstruation
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none
  • Other: SPOILER–highlight to see–> suicide
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