Published by HarperTeen
Published: July 1st 2014
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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.
Just when I think I can’t love Kasie West any more than I already do she goes and writes a book like On the Fence and I have to find a way to love her more. She completely nailed it with this one. She got the humor, the seriousness, and the uncertainty and the fear of growing up down to perfection. I laughed, quite a lot actually, and I teared up. Honestly it was everything I hoped for and more.
On the Fence is about Charlie, a tomboy with three older brothers, a cop for a dad, and a next door neighbor that is like part of the family. All her life she has been just one of the guys. She’s the jock, the easy target for teasing, the one that doesn’t want to stand out. But when she gets one too many speeding tickets her dad forces her to get a job. Now working at a boutique she never would have imagined working at Charlie’s whole life changes. Slowly things like clothes and makeup and dates start to mean something to her. And when she starts having late night chats with the boy next door, he starts to mean something too, something Charlie never saw coming and is terrified to deal with.
No joke when I say that West nailed this story. She was so spot on about so much of it it’s insane. Charlie was the perfect example of a girl that was afraid to grow up because she was in a house of men. As long as she was one of the guys she was safe to be a part of everything. And I loved this about Charlie because it was true. Growing up around boys is hard and you want to fit in and not be different because once you are, things are weird and can’t go back. That’s why I think I liked Charlie so much. She was relatable that way. Seeing her interact with her brothers and Braden reminded me of growing up and some of the friends I had. It was one of my favorite parts of the book because it was so honest.
I also liked how Charlie’s family’s past was dealt with as well. It was the more serious part of the book, and it was a theme throughout the story, but it wasn’t in your face the whole time. It was subtle and made important when it needed to be, but it was dealt with in an appropriate manner and it made sense. We always want to remember what we want to remember, so for Charlie to block some stuff out that was traumatic worked really well. And having adorable Braden by her said worked even better since he was pretty much perfect for her.
Basically Kasie West wrote a fantastic book about friendship and love and growing up even if that means not fitting in 100%. The family connection was undeniable and Charlie was a character you can easily get behind and root for. The book was fun and fast paced and not even close to a chore to read. It is one of those books that will keep you up so you can finish even if you are beyond tired. Kudos Ms. West for yet another masterpiece. How long until The Fill-In Boyfriend??!!