The slant on YA books

Tag Archives: tomboys

Hello, everyone!

I realize it has been quite some time since I updated the dear ole blog. Truth is, I was super busy and experiencing a major creative slump. But, I hope to put all of that behind me. I can’t say that I will be back to blogging with the same frequency as I used to, but I don’t plan on any long hiatuses in the near future.

With all of that said, I recently read a book that inspired me to write a review, which was huge. It’s smart and charming and perfect. My review won’t do it justice, but I will still give it a try. 

On the Fence by Kasie West

on the fence

Pages: 296

Publisher: HarperTeen

Date Published: July 1, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

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.

On the Fence has everything I love about Kasie West’s books: loveable characters, a swoon-worthy romance, and a plot to make you feel all the feels.

Charlie and her brothers are hands-down my favorite fictitious family. The fact that family is such a huge part of this book makes me enjoy it even more. I love that family is a huge part of what makes up Charlie. It’s refreshing , and it provides some fun sibling pranks. Charlie felt very real, although she struggles with her identity. This book is more a coming-of-age novel than anything else, even above the romance.

I would like to applaud West on how she wrote Charlie. Yes, Charlie is a tomboy, but it is also really evident how she reacts to situations just like any other teenage girl out there. Plus, the fact that she is a tomboy isn’t rubbed in the reader’s face as a point to make Charlie seem oh, so super special; it’s just a part of who she is. It felt very natural and true. After reading On the Fence I picked up another book featuring a tomboy, and it just didn’t compare. While other contemporaries featuring tomboys come across as contrived, On the Fence knocks them all out of the park with it’s authenticity.

There is a slight element of mystery, but I do feel many readers will figure it out pretty quickly. However, it didn’t make me frustrated so much as more sympathetic to Charlie.

I really only wish this book was longer. I would have loved to see the book continue for another twenty pages (or two hundred). In the midst of many, many contemporaries, On the Fence remains new and heartwarming.

P.S. Can I have my own Braden?



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