Book Title:
By Your Side
Book Author:
Kasie West
Publishing Date:
January 31st, 2017
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Date Read:
January 22nd, 2017
Source:
eARC from publisher via Edelweiss - Thank you!

Synopsis

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 Review

I have heard nothing but good things about Kasie West books over the years, and while I have a few, I’ve never managed to find time to pick one up and read it until now.  After finishing it, I have to ask myself why I waited so long to read one of her books – it was one of the best love stories I’ve read in such a long time!

I was drawn into this book by the synopsis – Autumn, the main character, gets locked in a library for an entire weekend with the high school’s bad boy, Dax.  Right away, I knew that I was going to love this book – locked in a library for a weekend, with the promise of a blossoming relationship?  Yes, please!

Autumn Collins has a group of great friends, an almost boyfriend, Jeff whom she adores and can’t wait to spend more time with, and a family who loves her.  However, when she and her friends are on their way to a cabin to have a fun camping weekend, Autumn gets left behind in the library by accident.  When she tries to get out of the library, she realizes that she’s been locked in – all of the locks are in place, the lights are out, and to top it all off, she left her bag – complete with cell phone – in Jeff’s trunk.  She figures she will wait a few minutes, and someone will come and rescue her.

So she waits.

And waits.

And waits some more.

Only no one comes.  Autumn is alone, and locked in the library.

Only, is she alone?  No, she discovers that she is locked in the library with the school’s bad boy, Dax.  While at first, Dax doesn’t really want anything to do with her, Autumn doesn’t really want to be locked in the library for three days with someone without talking.  So she tries to make the best of it.

Together the two of them look for food, try to stay warm, and come up with entertaining ways to keep themselves sane while stuck there.  They figure that if they can stick it out, they’ll be fine, and Autumn will only have to deal with worried parents.  So the two of them watch TV, scrounge for leftovers in the library staff’s kitchen, and play games, all while slowly getting to know each other.

“‘So, do you want to play for something?’ I asked, meeting his dark eyes.  ‘We already established that you have nothing,’ he said.  ‘We could play for secrets.  Questions.'”

However, their time at the library can’t last forever, and when it’s almost time for the library to re-open, Autumn and Dax see something shocking on the library’s television that sends Autumn into a full blown anxiety attack, and Dax has to act fast to help her.

When Autumn is released, she has a choice to make: Does she try and make things work with Jeff, and see where they go, even though she doesn’t really believe he, or the rest of her friends, actually knows the real Autumn?  Or does she try and make something of her and Dax, who she knows she has feelings for, despite the fact that everything tells her she shouldn’t, and she might lose her friends?

“Possibilities don’t hurt as much as realities.  Possibilities are exciting and endless.  Realities are final.”

And since Jeff is in a pretty bad position now due to an accident that happened that weekend, does she have it in her to risk breaking his heart, too?

I’m really not one for love triangles, as you all know, but this was just so tastefully done and actually added to the book, instead of making it unbearable.  It made the story so much more interesting, and I actually found myself trying to figure out which guy would be better for her.  Of course, it’s kind of predictable how it will end, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing!

While only the first 40% of this book is about Autumn and Dax’s adventure in the library over that weekend, that part of the book was by far my favorite.  The remainder of the book is about Autumn and Dax’s interactions outside of the library – at school, at parties, etc.  At the same time, Autumn is dealing with the fact that the guy she is almost kind of dating, Jeff, is having some problems, and she simply isn’t sure how she is supposed to act around any of them at this point.  Does she spend time with her old friends and try to make something out of her and Jeff, or does she stay true to what her heart is telling her, and go after Dax, aside from the fact that she believes her friends and Jeff will all hate her for it.

I really liked both Autumn’s and Dax’s characters, and I felt like the chemistry between them was real, and not forced for the sake of the book.  It felt like a true romance was blooming between the two of them, and despite the fact that they were stuck in a library over a three day weekend, they really got to know each other and made the best of it, even if Dax was rather reluctant at first.

There were a lot of things going on in this book, so if you think it’s a slow paced romance, and that’s it, you’d be wrong.  It also deals with issues like drug use, family struggles, severe anxiety, and a car accident.  It’s a pretty strong novel, and wow, did Kasie West do an amazing job fitting all of this in here.  It was such a great read – I read it over the course of a single night because I simply could not put this one down.

The only real issue I had with this book was, seriously, how Autumn got left behind in the library in the first place.  How could her friends not realize she wasn’t with them?  And what the heck took them so long to realize she wasn’t with them?  The book offered several explanitions as to how it happened the way it did, but I guess I just think her friends were a tad neglectful.

This is seriously one of the best books that I have read in a long time in terms of romance!  While I try to shy away from romance in general, because most of the romance novels in YA that I’ve read just seem quite…cliche and overdone (not to mention being full of insta-love and love triangles).  But I knew I had to read this one, and I’m so glad I did.  Yep, I’m definitely off to binge read all of Kasie West’s other novels now!

5 stars
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12 Responses to By Your Side by Kasie West

  1. A new Kasie West book! Plus it has the main characters locked in a library together. This is my book. Great review, Kelly! 🙂
    Jess @ Fairytales and Books recently posted…Release Blitz for Inifini by Krista & Becca Ritchie: Excerpt + GiveawayMy Profile

  2. I just discovered Kasie West last year and I am a fan for life! I am so glad that you enjoyed this one so much because I cannot wait to read it. Lovely review. 🙂
    Olivia @ The Candid Cover recently posted…Tidbit Tuesday #5: Bookish TV ShowsMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      Thank you! It’s definitely a book that hooked me from the first page – I love Kasie West’s writing style, and I’m super excited to read the rest of her books now!

  3. OMG! How have you not read a Kasie West book before if you own them!!! That’s pure craziness. 😉 I am so, so happy you loved this one. I am excited to read it. Your review makes it sound just as good as I hoped it would be. Now, go read more of her books!!!
    Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse recently posted…Launch Day Blitz Review & Excerpt: Almost a Bride by Jo WatsonMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      I don’t know! I own them all, actually, so I have no idea how I haven’t read them. I guess I figured I’d eventually get around to them and then just never did. Definitely going to be reading the rest of them over the next few months though! I can’t wait to see if you loved this one, too!

  4. Brittany says:

    I’ve never read a Kasie West book before, but your review has convinced me that I really need to pick one up asap! So glad you loved it 🙂 Fabulous review!

    Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles
    Brittany recently posted…Favorite Books from my ALAMW Haul!My Profile

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks so much! I’m glad I’m not alone in not having read anything by Kasie West before now! It seems like everyone really loves her books (and I can see why now). If you read this, I look forward to seeing your thoughts – I bet you’ll love it!

  5. Tasya says:

    I also never read Kasie West books before, but I’m glad you liked this one! It sounds really interesting 😀
    Tasya recently posted…Does Insta-Love Only Exist in YA or Is It Actually Exist in Real Life?My Profile

    • Kelly says:

      It really was! The whole prospect of being stuck in a library over a three day weekend with a cute guy was definitely a great idea for this…I loved it!

  6. Maggie says:

    Awesome review! I still haven’t read Kasie West, but I recently got The Fill-In Boyfriend and I’ve also heard nothing but great things about her books! I’m thrilled you loved this one – heart the concept! Happy reading! 😀
    Maggie recently posted…Meet Me in MarchMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks so much! I have The Fill-in Boyfriend on my shelf too…I actually bought it back when it first came out but still never read it. But this book was super amazing so I’m willing to bet you’ll enjoy it too if you get a chance to read it!

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