Saturday, January 21, 2017

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie West

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Format: eARC

Source: Publisher (via Edelweiss)

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon


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?

My Thoughts

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.

3.75/5 STARS

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.


  1. I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was sweet. The library part was fun but agree about the phones! Lovely review!

    1. Thanks Grace. Not my favorite by West but still really enjoyable. :)

  2. GIRL. Everything seemed to be a little (A LOT) "easy" like, OF. COURSE. They are going to get locked up in the library (just the two of them) with no landlines. I find that super, duper hard to believe as well... *sigh*

    1. LOL So right! I mean, the reason they had no cells was explained and made sense, but there was not one single phone available in that library. I call shenanigans!

  3. Glad you ended up liking this. I definitely agree that West is a stand out. She's a fave author of mine. Which is why it hurts so much that I thought this book was terrible.
    I just could not suspend my disbelief or like Autumn.
    But hey, it's not about me. Haha. Great review. I just wish the getting stuck in a library with a cute guy was done much much better. Sadness.

    1. I totally agree that the "stuck in the library" aspect had sooo much potential. I had initially thought the whole book would be them trapped together and getting to know each other. Missed opportunity there!

  4. I've never read KWest, Tanya, but if you like her so well I know I will. I do like the sound of this one. The fact that Autumn and Dax are dealing with deep issues but manage to find strength in the other sounds rather heartwarming. I do get the suspension of disbelief issue though...hmm...

    1. She's really a good one, Brandee. Her books stick to the cleaner/cuter side of YA which can be refreshing. My favorite by her is P.S. I Like You (just so adorable!) but this one is definitely worth reading, too. Hope you'll enjoy her if you decide to give her a try!

  5. I just got an ARC and it's my first book from the author, that blurb sounded so good and I'm looking forward to this!

    1. I hope you'll enjoy it, Kei! It's not my favorite by West (that would be P.S. I Like You) but it was still really enjoyable.