March 6, 2017

Review: By Your Side

By Your Side by Kasie West
Grade: C
Summary: 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?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Kasie West has long been one of my favorite YA authors, but, for the first time, I feel a bit let-down.
I did like that Autumn had anxiety, but By Your Side wasn't a Mental Illness book. Anxiety was just part of Autumn's life and who she is. Medication was viewed positively, too.
I had several problems with the plot, characters, and writing style, though. Dialogue felt very awkward and stilted. Contractions often weren't used in places where I'm certain most people would use contractions (unless they're just ultra formal people, but I don't think Autumn and Dax would classify as that).
I'm still not sure how Autumn fell for Dax because there was little chemistry between them. Plus, I feel like the time covered in the book was too short for them to believably want to get in a relationship, especially after Autumn was crushing on Jeff so recently. Also, Autumn's friends are the worst. Their relationships with her seem only surface level, and I also don't even remember their names, so they clearly didn't matter that much. The parts with Autumn's brother also felt a bit disjointed. The plot with the library should've been great, but that was such a small part of the book, and they honestly did very little and things felt so hot and cold. I think I would've liked it if more if Autumn and Dax had known each other a little better before getting trapped in the library. Also, her photography hobby felt shoehorned in.

The Verdict: Not Kasie West's best. Hoping Lucky in Love later this year will be better.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: I actually bought it before reading and reviewing it.

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