On The Fence by Kasie West Review: Tomboy’s best friend romance

July 23, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

On The Fence by Kasie West Review: Tomboy’s best friend romanceOn The Fence by Kasie West
Published by HarperCollins Australia on July 1, 2014
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. 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.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

Many people love this book and I’m happy to say – it didn’t disappoint! Kasie West really is a queen of contemporaries and her writing strikes the perfect balance between a fluffy romance and dealing with the more serious issues in life.

Charlie is a tomboy, having been brought up by her father and 3 brothers since her mother died in an accident. No one in her family talks about their mother and she has nightmares about her throughout the novel. On the other hand, Charlie finds solace in speaking with her next door neighbour and best friend of her older brother, Braden. They meet by the fence and share their innermost feelings and worries.

I was a girl who grew up without a mom and therefore had no idea how to be a girl.

Throughout the book, Charlie seems to struggle with her sense of identity, as she tries to hamper her sporty, competitive tomboy nature in favour of a more feminine girl who is into makeup and fashion. She can’t admit her feelings for Braden who she has known most of her life, and starts repressing her true self when she starts dating Evan, who she believes likes girly girls. From being brought up by her father, to not having a mum to guide her through her life, the book holds a surprising amount of depth when it comes to Charlie’s development, as she learns how to be herself.

The romance was so adorable and takes the entire course of the book to develop. It’s a best friend romance, and both Charlie and Braden have their reasons for not pursuing their feelings. Even when Charlie is dating Evan, you know that he isn’t right for her but it was all part of the journey for her. Braden was such a sweet, respectful guy who showed how much he cared about Charlie and her family throughout the book. The fence chats were great, as a sort of alternate reality where they could feel comfortable in being completely raw and honest with each other. It’s a very slow burn and will develop over almost the entire length of the novel.

One boy is driving me crazy and another boy might not be the One.

What this book really excelled in, was the family aspect. I loved the relationship Charlie had with her brothers, especially Gage, the one she is closest with. Their constant teasing, understanding of each other and even bickering felt honest and real. From Charlie’s doubts about her father, to wishing she had a mother, it’s all explored deeply here and I was surprised at the amount of depth in a summer contemporary.


Although On The Fence does have a fluffy romance, there is so much more to it as it reinforces the importance of family, dealing with issues and being true to oneself. It felt realistic, honest and relatable. Kasie West’s talent in creating multi-dimensional stories and characters really shows in everything she writes, as she takes the time to flesh out her characters’ thoughts, feelings and relationships.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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71 responses to “On The Fence by Kasie West Review: Tomboy’s best friend romance

  1. I've heard so many cute thingsa bout this book and author, but it's nice to hear that there's some substance behind it, too! Have to make room for it sometime soon. Thanks for the review. 🙂
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  2. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. I love Kasie West and I'm seen so many positive reviews for On the Fence! I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it! This books sounds so cute, I love best friend romances. The strong family aspect is definitely an added bonus, because I love when characters have good relationships with their family!
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  3. I really want to read this and I don't know how I haven't yet. I think Kasie West is really good with approaching the idea of family and relationships within them. I'm glad this disappoint because I was really scared that the hype would ruin it. Great review!!! I really feel like reading another one of her books. I've only read Pivot Point and Split Second.
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  4. My initial reaction when reading the summary was "aww…this sounds cute!", but the more you went on with your review, the more I thought to myself, "oh wow! This actually does have a decent amount of depth to it!" It sounds absolutely wonderful, and even though straight-forward romance isn't usually my thing, I'm willing to give this a try. Thanks for sharing Jeann and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
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  5. Glad to hear you enjoyed this, too! I'm such a sucker for friendship romance and neighbour romance, haha. Kasie West was totally spot on with the fluffy romance yet with the perfect of heart right! I loved the chemistry between Charlie and Braden, and the Fence Chats! And when Braden was finally like "I want this alllll time! and not just at the fence", so cute.

    Lovely review, Jeann!

  6. I just finished this book and I love it!! I love the slow burn love and the family relationship. Charlie was relatable, I remember the 1st time I figured out about make up stuffs, I was so stupid haha. I totally agree with her relationship with Gage, how they were teasing each other, that happens between me and my brother!

    I was surprised too how the story sent some depth feelings through the story of their mother. I nearly cried when Charlie visited her mother grave, though overall I giggled way more when I was reading it XD Glad you like this one too! 🙂

  7. Larissa Holt

    Awww (: I truly loved this one and honestly have adored each and every one of Kasie's books.

    I was worried about this one because it did sound fairly typical, but West breathed fresh air into this contemporary and made it really come to life. I think Charlie's character development was done fantastically, she undeniably wasn't the same girl as the one at the start of the story but retained her best qualities and was true to herself. I found her to be quite realistic and sympathizing with her was natural. Her narration felt organic and it was just compulsive for me to read.

    The romance between Charlie and Braden was simply adorable. It was slow burn which is my favorite type, especially when it spawns off of a best friends type of deal. It just makes their relationship seem so much more special and meaningful when they've already known each other forever, and there's just a undeniable spark. I found the fence chats to be magical, it was wonderful to see Charlie and Braden's walls come down as they simply talked to each other about life and all of its wonders and plights.

    Great review Jeann! So glad that you enjoyed this one as much as I did (:

    • The character development was great, even though she was never perfect, she managed to grow a lot and get over things with bradens help. I loved the romance, it was done really well as it went over the full course of the book

  8. Lovely review, Jeann! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this one as much as I did. I loved the romance too. It was so cute and fluffy. I also agree with you that the relationship between Charlie and her brothers was the best part. Kasey writes some wonderful YA contemporary books and I can't wait to see more from her! 🙂

  9. AHHHHH…. I loved this one Jeann! As my first novel by Kasie West, this was beautifully written and the contemporary.romantic nature of the book was completely adorable. I loved the whole Tomboy identity and how Charlie, developed throughout the story. I can't wait to read other novels like The Distance Between Us and her paranormal series as well. Lovely review as always!
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    • Thanks Emma, it was awesome wasn't it? I understand why so many people love her books! I really enjoyed pivot point, it has paranormal elements but mostly a contemporary.

  10. Yay i'm so happy you ended up also enjoying this one Jeann! I read it on the plane while heading away flr vacation and was swooning like crazy. I loved the romance because it felt so sweet and genuine and i was shipping it so hard! Plus the family aspect of the book was also spoton!great review 🙂
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  11. There are only few contemporary authors I still like. I think I should add Kasie West on my list. I haven't read any of her books but it sounds like something I'd enjoy. I like the sound of main character and someone told me that she is tall! Finally, some love for us, tall girls. Great review, Jeann 🙂
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  12. Kasie truly knows how to write fluff and I adore her for it 🙂 I can't wait to read this and hopefully this weekend when I'm planning on marathoning at least 2 YA novels if not four 😀 So it has that pseudo love triangle where you know that she's actually MTB with another guy? Interesting. But you liked the slow burn, yeah? YAYYY for great family 🙂 I love that Kasie is pro rather than con when it comes to families and healthy family relationships. Gorgeous review, sweets!
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    • Ooh Wow that would be the perfect weekend! It was a wonderful cute romance that developed over the course of the novel. Thank you Siiri, let me know what you think!

  13. Kasie West is at the top of my YA authors I need to try list. (Yes, I have a list for that, LOL). I already have Pivot Point and The Distance Between Us, so I'll probably end up reading one of those first, but this one is definitely on my wishlist too. I'm glad you weren't disappointed!
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  14. Ahhhh….all the more reason to keep my eyes on this author! I highly enjoyed Pivot Point duology and now I feel like I HAVE to read her other standalones. Kasie West is really talented at writing contemporaries! Plus, it's good to hear that this book also touches family aspect, not just the romantic relationship 😛

  15. I've always wanted to have big brothers. I have a younger brother, and he's awesome now that he's older, but big brothers sound fantastic! I mean, they protect you from bullies, etc! Best friend romances are quite adorable, too. It makes me want to read this one soon. I really liked The Distance Between Us, so I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy this one. 🙂
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  16. I just love Kasie West's writing! <33 This is one of those totally cheesy books but still made its way into my heart. Adorable. Best friend romances are my favorites. 😉 Charlie had an awesome relationship with her family. And the development! Everything was done so well. So glad you enjoyed this!
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  17. I swear I need to get my hands on this book at some point, it's just too much not having it, gah! Now I'm torn over Split Second and this one because of all the Kasie West books! Everyone's said glorious things about this and I'm glad you have too! 🙂
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  18. I still need to read a book by Kasie West, and from the looks of things I definitely want to get to this one first! I love how even though it is light, it touches on more meaningful issues, and I am looking forward to getting to it. Great review Jeann 🙂
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  19. I'm so happy to hear you've loved this one too, Jeann!

    Now I can order it with my extra 5% off coupon from TBD!

    Really happy to hear about the big role the family has in this and how the romance was developed all throughout the book!
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