Published by HarperTeen on January 31st 2017
Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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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?
I’ve loved all of Kasie West’s cute contemporary romance novels and By Your Side was no exception. It was fast-paced and adorable and the first half of the book was set inside a library! The novel begins when our main character, Autumn, is locked inside her local library after using the bathroom. Her belongings and her phone are outside with her friends (and her long-time crush) but Autumn is certain that someone will come and find her. When none of her friends come to find her, Autumn realises that they’ve left without noticing that she was missing. Stuck inside the library for a long weekend, Autumn has no food or means of contacting anyone. But things are made worse when she finds Dax, the school’s bad boy is locked in there with her. And he doesn’t seem to have any intentions of wanting to leave…
What I love most about Kasie West’s books is that she tries to incorporate more serious issues into her fluffy contemporary novels. By Your Side has a mental illness and anxiety aspect to it, which I appreciated. It’s definitely not a book that’s about anxiety and it doesn’t explore or represent anxiety in the most thorough and accurate manner but I do appreciate that it’s there. The book also explores foster care and kids who grow up in the system, and I highly enjoyed this aspect of the book. It was probably my favourite thing about the story and it made me want to know about certain characters more because of it. I liked that these issues gave the characters a bit more dimension because they could have easily come across as a bit bland. I just wish the issues could have been explored a little bit more. But then I guess it’s no longer a cute, fluffy contemporary?
I thought the romance in the book developed in a very realistic way. I liked that it transitioned from tentativeness to friendship to romance and I was definitely on board with it. What I wasn’t a big fan of was the love triangle in the book because at this point, I’m honestly a bit sick of the trope. I didn’t like the role that Autumn’s crush/almost-boyfriend played in the story and I would have much preferred it if the story had gone down a different route. However, I thought it was ultimately handled in a way that I enjoyed or didn’t mind and I was happy with the ending.
I liked the characters in By Your Side a lot. Autumn wasn’t my favourite protagonist but I thought she was relatable. I didn’t think her anxiety was portrayed very well and I think that was one of the reasons why I fell a little bit short of fully connecting with her. However, I absolutely loved Dax and even though he started off as the stereotypical bad boy/loner from school, he grew into a character who was extremely interesting and his scenes were my favourite in the book. As for the side characters, I wasn’t a fan of any of Autumn’s friends. I didn’t really understand how none of them managed to notice that Autumn was missing, and because of that, I wasn’t a big fan of her friendship group from the start of the book.
By Your Side is not my favourite of Kasie West’s books but I still highly enjoyed the read. It was really quick to read and I really liked the story and the main characters for the most part. There were some aspects of the plot that I found a little unrealistic but overall, it was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to anyone looking for something quick and cute.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you to HarperTeen for the review copy through Edelweiss.
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I've read a few of Kasie West's books and I've liked all of them so far. I look foward to reading more books by her! Great review!
I'm pretty much in the same boat! (I just posted my review of this too). I like the romance and the fact that West adds more to the story because cute fluff but this wasn't my favourite. I really Dax, too! Wasn't a huge fan of after they left the library/the friendships.
Lovely review, Jenna!
Kasie West is one of my favorite authors too. She writes such lovely and cute romances. I like this premise, being stuck in a library. I don’t mind unrealistic in this kind of stories, but I’m not happy to hear about love-triangle aspect. Wonderful review, Jenna!
So happy to hear that Kasie West is one of your favourites too! I absolutely love her fluffy contemporaries! The love triangle was a bit disappointing in this book and was definitely my biggest criticism. I just wanted a lot more focus on that one relationship and it was frustrating that there was another guy in the picture!!
I think I need more Cassie West in my life Jenna, I've only read one of hers and really enjoyed it. While the friendship sounds a bit plastic, I love the sound of Dax's character. He sounds wonderful and multilayered. I must admit, I'm a massive fan of the misunderstood bad boy. Brilliant review Jenna and so glad you enjoyed it <3
Haha I'm a massive fan of the misunderstood bad boy too 😀 They're just so soft and cuddly on the inside HAHA.
I liked this book a lot! Like you, I've read all of Kasie's books, and I've yet to be disappointed. I didn't love this one quite as much as I loved her other books, but I enjoyed it so much. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the story doesn't take place entirely in the library – which was great! I loved that.
I hope you (and I!) enjoy Lucky in Love! Great review, Jenna. =)
Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!
Yes, I totally agree! I'm glad the library part didn't take over the whole book (but I also wouldn't have minded a whole book of just Autumn and Dax with nothing else haha). My favourite of hers is The Distance Between Us but this one didn't disappoint at all!
I really really REALLY need to get my hands on some Kasie West!! Fluffy contemporaries tend to be the contemporaries I enjoy the most, especially since I read them when I want a break from the intense sci fi and fantasy I read all the time, and her books always sound so perfect!
Yes I agree! I always crave Kasie West or a fluffy contemporary when I need a break from reading. They just put me in such a great mood! I hope you get to pick this one up. It's perfect for that reading break!
I'm so excited for this! I've been looking for a new super fluffy book recently to put me in a good mood. I'm hoping that this might be it, looking forward to reading it. Awesome review!
Yessss, Kasie West's books always put me in a super good mood. It's the perfect book if you're looking for something cute and fluffy!
I just finished this book a few days ago, and as my first foray into Kasie West's writing, I have to say I was completely blown away with feelings! I absolutely loved how well written this book was, and how the relationship between Autumn and Dax bloomed.
I'm with you though – I don't understand how they didn't realize she was missing at all. I was confused by that, especially since they claim to be close friends of Autumn. It was kind of annoying that it was just brushed aside like that.
I'm so glad that you enjoyed your first Kasie West book! This one isn't my favourite of hers but it's a great example of what some of her other books are like! My favourite of hers is The Distance Between Us, which you should definitely check out for another swoonworthy romance 😀
ooo.. I like the sound of this, and I need to read this book. I'm glad I read your review for a heads up! 🙂
Thank you for a insightful review!
Thanks so much! I hope you get a chance to pick it up and that you enjoy it too 😀
I've heard mixed reviews about this one but mainly because of the love triangle! I'm glad the book includes anxiety in a way, to show that the MC is more than just that. I definitely want to read this book more after your review!
Ahhh yeah the love triangle was not my thing. I wasn't a big fan of the trope in this book but I still enjoyed most of it, as well as the anxiety and foster care aspects of it. I hope you get a chance to check it out, Marianne!
Yours is one of the rare more positive reviews I've read for this book and that makes me happy! I've been putting off reading it because not a lot of people seem to be too happy with it. 🙁
Oooh I haven't really seen any other reviews for it yet so not sure what other people thought. It's not my favourite of Kasie West's books so I can see why other people might not have liked it. I just enjoyed it as a fluffy contemporary book and it was kind of just what I needed at the time 😀
This book was tooooo cute. TOO CUTE. I'm so glad you liked this one – I adored it as well! Also my post was drafted to publish this Monday but I forgot to schedule it LOL. So it's coming out next week, rip. A+ scheduling skills. Anyways, the light inclusion of anxiety was very well-done, I thought. It's an experience that affects the characters' actions but isn't the main focal point, which I really liked.
YASSS SO CUTE. Autumn and Dax give me life. Too bad there was that other guy as well T_T. Can't wait to read your thoughts, Aila!
Not gonna lie, I haven't had the best of time with her books lately. But since you mentioned romance behind the library stacks….yassss. Sign me up!
Hahaha! I've definitely enjoyed some of her other books more than this one but I couldn't resist the library romance <3
Definitely quick and cute. I enjoyed this but agree not my favorite from her. Great review!
Yeah some of her other books have been real standouts but this one wasn't too bad either!
This is the first time I read about the synopsis and I just want to read the book now! <3 This will be my first Kasie West book, and I'm glad to hear that her book is always more than fluffy romance 😀 Can't wait to read it!
Yesss I absolutely love Kasie West! This one isn't my favourite of her books but if you're looking for something fluffy and cute, this one is great!
I don't read romances. The stuck in library part caught my eye. GLad the romance is realistic. I feel skeptical how Dax also got locked in the same day. But I guess that is part of the plot and a spoiler
Haha yes that's part of the plot 😉 I have to admit it was the stuck in library part that had me hooked as well. I can't resist a cute romance like that haha.
OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK SOUNDS AMAZING! I had heard some very vague things about it here and there on the internet but I didn't really get to read exactly what it was about and now that I have I am so excited to read this book i'm jumping out of my seat!!! Awesome review too! Simple and to the point
Thanks Anisha! You should definitely pick it up if you're looking for a cute fluffy romance, with some slightly deeper themes too!