My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: HarperCollins Canada
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Point of View: ist Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Contemorary
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?
My favourite Kasie West book to date.
‘‘By Your Side’’ is a little different from her other YA contemporary romances. Yes, the narrator has a similar voice and, yes, there is a love-triangle (although mild) and, yes, friendship is an important theme.
BUT. The other themes that are explored are deeper ones, such as child neglect, loneliness and trust. Also, the main character suffers from anxiety attacks and the love interest is more broken than the ones in her other books.
Maybe this is why I liked this so much more. Kasie takes things slow, giving Autumn and Dax a fair chance to find reasons why to fall in love, ones that exclude physical attraction because, as we all know by now, physical attraction is not the main key to a great relationship.
If you’ve read the blurb, you know what happens. I have to say it; I want to say it! Okay, hear this: THEY GET TRAPPED INSIDE A LIBRARY.
With books. And an entire weekend to explore each other’s minds. To drive themselves crazy, basically. Never fear, that is not true. That was only my post-election mind having trouble coherently expressing its ideas. Okay, I’m back.
Like in previous Kasie West books, you will find humour, adorable (though momentarily cheese-induced) scenes, original & highly entertaining situations in which the characters are put and a whole lot of love.
However, there is one thing… Jeff (the other love interest)’s reaction to what Autumn admits to him towards the end of the story is not at all authentic, I felt. It is true that he is a happy boy and a very understanding one at that, but I find it unrealistic for him to be THAT happy after what he tells her. Didn’t ring true to my ears.
Otherwise, EXCELLENT novel! Oh, since we’re at it, I do wish Kasie West’s books were more diverse in terms of the characters’ ethnicity and/or sexual orientation and even maybe have more culture inside them, because that’s something that’s really missing and culture is such an important part of our world. But maybe that’s asking for too much, and it’s not as if her works are COMPLETELY devoid of it.
Again, REALLY ENJOYED this book. And now, I want to get trapped inside a library, too.
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