BOOK REVIEW: By Your Side by Kasie West

BOOK REVIEW: By Your Side by Kasie WestBy Your Side by Kasie West
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Synopsis:

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?

 

Ahhh I really don’t want to write this review. I mean, seriously, who wants to write a negative review about one of their favorite writers, one of those authors who never ceases to make you happy and put a smile on your face. Well, sometimes its necessary-especially when this is one out of three of your top anticipated releases for 2017. And, might I mention, two so far have been absolute TURDS. Alas, Kasie West was no exception.

I can’t quite put my finger on why this book was so drab, so dull, but I think it has a lot to do with underdevelopment. Undeveloped plot, underdeveloped characters, underwhelming ending…it was all a sad, endless loop of what could have been. I’ve read KW books before where the plot was kind of…hmmm….not for me? A bit boring? But never once have her characters suffered and been quite so cardboard cut out as this.

He laughed. “I’ll work on my poker face.”
“You should come over today after school.”
“To your house?”
“Yes, my brother is in town. I think you’d like him.”
“I don’t like anyone, remember?”
I took another small step forward. “I don’t think that’s true.”
“I do like distractions,” he said.

There was just something so, I don’t know, off about the characters in this one. I loved them, to an extent, but every time I thought we were really getting somewhere with them, it was pulled back in-Kind of like the sun on a cloudy day, as a kid. You would see the sun peeking out, teasing you, only for it to immediately disappear and leave you aching for its presence even more enthusiastically. The characters were like that-especially Dax.

“You’ve definitely been added to the archive the last couple of weeks.”
“What archive?” he asked.
“The happy memories one. The one I’ll draw from in my dark times,” I said quietly.
A smile stole away his hard expression before he wiped it off and pretended I hadn’t seen it. But I had. And it got added to the bank.

Dax was just prime Chelsea BBF material. He was rude, sarcastic, a bit on the side of tortured…I truly thought he was a 100% win. Turns out? The author truly didn’t explore him the way she could have. After the library debacle, I truly figured we’d get so much more out of our leading man, but instead, the plot took an odd turn with our main character, Autumn.

I stopped. “When I feel trapped, anxious, I think about the times I’m the happiest.”
He dared take his eyes off the dark lot in front of him to level his gaze on me. The intensity in them took my breath away. Then he was focused again out the window. I almost apologized, thinking I had hit a nerve with that suggestion. But I held my tongue.

We know, at the beginning of the book, she has a huge crush on some dude (and he might like her, too, GASP!). And after the library, we see him kind of resurface. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I didn’t like where the story went. It was a tad contrived. Maybe not contrived, more pushy. More plot device-y. I think it could have been okay, but it made Autumn even more reserved about liking who she actually liked and it seems like that made me roll my eyes quite a bit more than anything else did. Oh! Yes, I rolled my eyes, QUITE A LOT.

What made me roll my eyes almost as much (maybe the most?) were the constant flashbacks. Like….okay. We get it. She has a life and she loves her life. But…just…argh. Why why whyyyyy the always looking back?? Couldn’t there have been a little more set up and a lot less ‘fade from the present to make these moments longer’? I just loathe flashbacks, and in all that time spent in the library? I think she has at least one flashback per chapter. Did I mention I hate flashbacks? *Cringes inwardly*

There was definitely a lot of cute that can be taken from this story, especially near the end. But, come on, there was so much more that could have happened to make this story unforgettable. In fact, I had forgotten 90% of this book until I began writing this review. Even worse-I forget I’ve even read it until I scroll down my feed. So, take what you will from this review, just know that it is, in my opinion, by far the weakest Kasie West book to date. Meh.

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1 Comment

  1. I like kasie West’s books and this is definitely my least favorite book! I was quite excited when I first read the synopsis of this book and when I finally got into it everything seemed pretty much dull. I was totally disappointed with it! 🙁
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