On the Fence
by Kasie West
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Romance
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.
Charlie is your classic tomboy. She doesn’t wear make-up, dresses, love all things sports, and her friends are all guys. Her mom passed away when she was young and the only people she had to look up to were her three brothers and father. So needless to say, not only is she a tomboy by choice, but she really never had anyone to talk about girly things with. However, this summer seems to be the turning point for her. She gets a job at a boutique, she models for make-up demos, she becomes friends with the make-up artist, she starts wearing more feminine clothing, and she ends up dating a boy she met after one of her make-up demos. Charlie does a lot of growing in this novel and it was interesting to see hew slowly mature.
One thing I really liked about this story was that there really was no drama. Sure, Charlie gets a boyfriend while she harbors confusing feelings towards Braden, her neighbor. However, she moves on with her life when she doesn’t think he returns her feelings. I liked that she didn’t wallow over a guy who she felt didn’t feel the same. I will say that I wish I had more time with Braden and Charlie as a couple before the story ended. These two were super cute and perfect together and I just wanted more time with the two of them once they got everything figured out. 🙁
Another thing that I really enjoyed about this story was how close of a family unit Charlie has. Her brothers all look out for one another. There was no “slacker” brother, or “trouble-maker” that just didn’t care about the family. They were all this tight-knit group that seemed to do a lot together. I really liked that even though Charlie’s father was a single dad, he wasn’t an absent father. He was always there in the picture. He would try to talk to her or help her figure out things when it came to being a girl. He read books about raising a teenage daughter and I just loved that he tried. I’m so sick of absentee parents in young adult books. Here’s a guy who’s parenting four kids by himself and he was totally trying, and I loved that.
On the Fence is a super cute young adult book. It’s kind of a mix between friends to lovers and brother’s best friend romance. It had a solid supporting cast of family and friends, a coming-of-age story, and parts that made me “aww.” It was just super sweet read and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. I may have stayed up until the wee hours of the morning trying to finish this book. It was really good. 😉
“Sometimes we expect more than people are capable of giving at the moment.”