I’m a huge fan of Kasie West’s books. I’ve read and loved each one. They’re like the starbursts of my literary world; not that good for you, not the best candy in the world, but definitely delicious, uplifting, lighthearted, and fun. Sadly, By Your Side didn’t live up to the author’s previous works.
Autumn, the MC, is supposed to be seventeen but reads more like she’s twelve, thirteen or fourteen on a good day. Also, she really had no personality aside from her anxiety* and was generally annoying to read about. She never. stops. talking. She’s rather shallow and whiny.
*Handled poorly, if I do say so myself. I do not have an anxiety disorder, but I do struggle with anxiety, and while I can’t speak for everyone, it seemed like there was almost nothing about her “anxiety” that was realistic. Also, it would come and go, which is weird.
Dax, loveinterest#2 really had no personality besides the whole “tragic backstory” trope. He was annoying too! I honestly felt like he and Autumn would be terrible for each other. He’s moody and annoyed all. the. time. while she is basically a walking jack-in-the-box.
The other characters are kind of …meh. I can’t remember even one thing about most of them, and in about two days I will have forgotten most of their names.
Kasie West’s characters are usually so fun!. They’re usually not anything particularly memorable, but they always have some life to them…? I always relate to and love them!
Sigh. This book had so much potential…
They’re trapped. In a library. Yet AUTUMN REFUSES TO READ! She watches TV! I mean, girl. What is wrong with you? And Dax tries to read, but Autumn won’t shut up long enough for him to get to. I bet he finished one chapter the whole weekend.
By Your Side is really boring. Which is surprising because normally Kasie West’s books are extremely fast paced and entertaining the whole way through. Nothing really happens in this book and the clichés, while not terrible, do get old.
The ending ties up so sweetly, and perfectly, and loveinterest#1 is totally cool with everything. You’d expect him to be at least a little disappointed…right? I’m not saying there shouldn’t be happy endings. I like happy endings if they are realistic.
By Your Side is not terrible. And I did like the dynamic in Autumn’s family; everyone is kind to each other and that is rare in young adult literature. I also liked that this book is uplifting overall and it was entertaining and fun. But it didn’t live up to the standards Kasie West has set with her other books. It was only a tiny bit cute (when the book is the equivalent of a starburst, it needs to be cute.) it was missing the pink cotton candy romance, and it just felt dull and flat. I feel sad now. I was so looking forward to more delicious starbursts.Unfortunately, By Your Side felt more like gobstoppers.
So please!! Go read another Kasie West book! Like P.S. I Like You, which is my favorite. They are adorable and perfect for almost every reader.
2 Stars. Absolutely clean!
Synopsis – By Your Side by Kasie West
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?