Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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?
♥ Quick Thoughts and Rating: 4 stars! By Your Side was filled with light and fluffy moments of new love and a heaping dose of angst. When Autumn finds herself trapped in a library for a long, snowy holiday weekend with resident bad boy, Dax, everything she thought she knew about herself and him are put to the test. Even when they make it out of the library, their story is far from over, and I enjoyed the ride.
♥ Review: I love Kasie West’s books. In fact, I don’t think I will ever not read or buy one of them simply because she’s the author. I love the way she writes romances and how she develops her characters. When I saw the synopsis for this book over a year ago, I knew immediately that it was one that belonged in my hands. A “bad” boy and a good girl trapped in a library? Pretty much my ideal fantasy back in my high school days (or even now, don’t tell my husband, haha).
Certain elements of this book really worked for me. Like these two in the library together? I loved that so much. The long holiday weekend capped off by the cold of winter creeping in, gave these two ample time to get to know one another. I really enjoyed watching this duo as they let down their preconceived notions about one another and started trying to learn who the other person really was, not what rumors or outward appearances dictated. Not even going to lie, every time he gave her the stupid sleeping bag, my heart banged around in my chest like it was swinging from a piece of thread. I also adored all the fun with the games and the distractions. They were hella cute distractions, after all. It felt real and honest, the way they allowed themselves to slowly become vulnerable to the other person. In fact, this building of awareness and attraction is all the best parts of West’s writing– where we learn more about the characters, connect with them, and then see them form that bond of something more between one another. It was the cuteness and light and fluffy that I’ve grown accustomed to when reading her novels, what I’ve really come to expect.
Then they’re rescued and real life comes back in to focus…
And that’s where the story split for me. It didn’t necessarily become weaker or worse, but I felt the momentum shifted and everything that I felt like they had gained in their seclusion came spluttering to halt. But I get that, it’s real life, and their social circles are different. Furthermore, other spoilery circumstances became more important and Autumn had to redirect her priorities. But uuuuuuuuugh… I didn’t want it to happen. It may be petulant and I know Ms. West has to write her story and go where the characters lead her, but *stomps around and flips stuff over because I’m childish*, I thought this issue took away from the page-time that Autumn and Dax could have been having and it made it harder to hold on to that connection that I first felt with them in the library. I mean, I get that one weekend doesn’t erase this other history or feelings, but… sigh, I only wish if it still had to have happened this way, that it would have been squashed just a little sooner so that I could get back to Dax and Autumn making out in cars again.
All tantrums aside, Autumn’s anxiety and Dax’s home life (or lack of one) added a good dynamic to the story that really made me connect with them better. I think West really maneuvered around these two elements, giving them the attention they needed to make them an authentic, believable part of the story, while still letting them only be a part of their character, and not the sole focus of who they were. That being said, I would have certainly liked a little more closure with Dax’s birth mom. Perhaps that will be something that’s changed before publication. If not, it’s not a major part of the story, so I can live with it.
In conclusion, this story seemed like it had a different feel to it that West’s previous works It wasn’t my favorite from her, but that in no way means you shouldn’t read this because I still very much enjoyed By Your Side. In fact, I suspect that other people will actually love it more than I did.
♥ Teaser Quote:
“You’re in for it now,” I said, buckling my seatbelt again. “Attachment is in your future. I warned you.”
–quote taken from the e-ARC of By Your Side at 80%
|Book Rating Breakdown|
|Cute, Fuzzies, Flutters|
|Angst Me So Good|
♥ Rec It? Yes! This wasn’t my favorite of West’s work so far, but it was definitely still a good story that had me flailing about over the romance just like she did in her previous publications. I will always look forward to more of Ms. Kasie’s words, and you’d be a fool not to jump on the bandwagon, too.
♥ A very special thanks to HarperTEEN and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.
*Disclaimer: An e-copy of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.
I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥