Tuesday, 21 February 2017

By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie West
Published: HarperTeen, January 31st, 2017
Pages: 342
Source: paperback, purchased
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 3.75/5

How I Felt: Kasie West is the contemporary queen. She is just able to write such amazing, cute contemporary romance reads that I can literally fly through and are guaranteed to make me feel better.

I don't know how I'd compare this to her other contemporaries, though, because this one was a little different for me. This one had a much more serious vibe and I was definitely able to relate to the main character more. I definitely connected with her about her struggles with anxiety and I just constantly felt so happy in a way while reading this because I just felt so understood. Most of the things Autumn experienced were things I've experienced in the past and it was just so nice to read a character who's going through the same thing. I'm so glad she was able to sort things out for herself by the end and is really starting to work on improving her mental health. So if I were to rank all of Kasie West's books I've read so far in terms of enjoyment I don't think I'd include this one just because it holds a special place in my heart and I think differently of it. I will say that I think this, relationship-wise, is the most realistic and relatable of all her contemporaries published so far.

I will have to say that I'm a little disappointed that this book didn't include more of being trapped in the library. If you're going into this expecting it to just be about a girl and a guy stuck in a library together, it isn't. They're stuck in there for maybe a third of the book and then the rest is both of the main characters dealing with the consequences after their release. It's a much more serious book than the synopsis led me to believe and definitely deals with a lot of tough topics, which I can appreciate.

I really liked how things worked out with Autumn and Jeff. I thought it was going to be a big dramatic mess but he was a stand-up guy and that was pretty refreshing to see in a contemporary YA love triangle. I thought West did a great job of really developing his character and there were parts where I felt undecided, like Autumn, because he really was a good guy and didn't deserve to be crushed.

Can I just say that the romance in this book is spot. On. I love Autumn and Dax together and I ship them like nobody's business. They just have the absolute best chemistry and I just want an infinite amount of books about them. They're just so CUTE together, especially at the end when they're getting ready for that party and then are at the party. I just love them together because I feel like they do such a good job at balancing each other out and calming each other down and it was just so sweet to see. I definitely loved the scene where she was teaching him how to drive. Gah! The cuteness.

One thing I would've liked to see more of in this book would be more involvement of Autumn's family in the overall story. They were present, but I'm just used to Kasie West books having a big emphasis on the importance of family and getting to see the family actually play a major part in the story so I was a little disappointed that we only got to see them a couple of times, especially because she writes that dynamic so well and it's rarely seen in YA.

I also just want to say that I love Autumn's friend Lisa so much. I love how loyal she is to Autumn. There's this one scene in particular where she says that no matter what happens, she'll always be team Autumn and I just couldn't help but tear up. Their friendship is so beautiful to see and I'm so happy nothing came between them and they are just as strong as ever.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I definitely connected with it so much personally, but I also enjoyed the story and the writing. I only gave it 3.75 stars but that in no way means it wasn't a bad book. There were just a few things missing for me but I still really enjoyed it. I finished it in just over a day because I couldn't put it down. I definitely recommend this, or any of Kasie West's other contemporaries if you're looking for a cute, realistic romance to either get you out of a slump, or to just make you happy. I will read her books for as long as she writes them and I can't wait for her next contemporary to come out!

Thanks for reading!

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