30256248Title: By Your Side

Author: Kasie West

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: January 2017

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Contemporary

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone



Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




Autumn suffers from panic attacks, but none of her friends know. She wants to show them the happy, lucky girl that everyone thinks she is. That is until she is stuck in the library over a long weekend break. Stuck with her is Dax, her small town’s misunderstood bad boy. He has secrets of his own but they manage to do the impossible and become friends. But will that still be true once the library doors are unlocked and they venture back out into the real world?

Fun and sweet contemporary by Kasie West, who is quickly becoming an auto buy for me. For me, the story started out surprisingly slow and it wasn’t until they were out of the library that it gained momentum. I really liked seeing how each character navigated their worlds after the lock in incident, and how that changed the way they thought.

Dax is misunderstood and broody without being overly dramatic. He has had a hard life but even his thick skin, while understandable, isn’t too mean or too hard to make it unbelievable that he would fall for Autumn. I liked how Autumn had panic attacks but couldn’t tell her friends because she was self conscious and afraid of what they would think of her. That added a lot to her character for me, giving her a solid vulnerability. Overall, I didn’t think Autumn was that interesting or different. She didn’t really stand out to me and while I didn’t find her annoying, I wasn’t really invested in her either.

What really held the book together, like I said, was the theme of doing things or being someone that others expected you to be and not who you really were. Autumn was worried about her panic attacks, sure, but she was also thrown into this situation where her previous crush was now in the hospital. All of her friends, including the boy’s family, thought Autumn was the one to “save” Jeff, putting a lot of pressure on Autumn when really she was just trying to find her way through the mess. I really liked this layer to the story because I found the social pressures very authentic and Autumn’s struggle with her own thoughts and desires conflicting with what was expected of her very true to the world, especially growing up.

Overall, I like the book and think fans of contemporary fiction will too. It’s not really different or even overly romantic, but it is a sweet crush book that is good for a quick read when you want a little warm romance.