By Your Side by Kasie West
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Source: Publisher (via Edelweiss)
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?
When it comes to young adult contemporary, Kasie West is a real stand-out. She manages to create likable characters in real-life situations and the end result is a sweet, smart, funny feel-good read.
Autumn is looking forward to a winter weekend getaway with friends, especially since Jeff, her long-time crush, will be there. Instead, a misunderstanding leaves her locked in the public library. When she learns that Dax, the school bad boy, is locked in with her, she's determined to make the best of it and just get through the weekend. Unfortunately, Autumn suffers from anxiety and being trapped in the library, without her medication, becomes a real problem - until help comes from an unlikely source.
Back at home and at school, Autumn tries to return to her usual routines - doing the best she can while keeping her anxiety hidden from her friends. Life seems to be returning to normal... so why can't she stop thinking about Dax?
I thoroughly enjoyed By Your Side and was completely charmed by Autumn and Dax. Autumn was outwardly popular and happy but privately dealing with issues that she was determined to keep from her friends. Dax kept everyone at arms length while he dealt with family issues that had landed him in foster care. It was impossible not to pull for these two who truly saw each other even when others didn't. Even though Autumn made some decisions that frustrated me, they still felt completely realistic for her age and in line with her personality.
There was an amount of suspension of disbelief required when it came to the "locked in the library" scenario. While the lack of cell phones is explained in a believable way, it is still hard to imagine that every single landline phone was behind locked doors. (Ahem.) Beyond that my only quibble is with Autumn's friends who left a lot to be desired. BFF Lisa was... okay, but the rest of the group seemed to be pretty crappy friends and mainly acted like jerks.
By Your Side manages to touch on some serious themes without getting bogged down in drama or angst. Fans of contemporary YA will likely love this latest release from Kasie West.
Note: This title was provided to me by the publisher (via Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion of the book or the content of this review.