Title: By Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
Published On: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
My Rating: 4 Stars
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?
I started reading By Your Side by Kasie West because I’ve been on a contemporary romance kick after reading Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, and I desperately needed another dose of cuteness. By Your Side totally delivered, of course. This is only the second book I’ve read by Kasie West, the first being The Distance Between Us, and now I’m eager to read more of her books.
Reading By Your Side immediately after reading Since You’ve Been Gone resulted in me comparing the two a bit more than I originally would have. So the difference in the writing stuck out to me. I feel like By Your Side could have had more depth and that it could’ve given more at times. I still thoroughly enjoyed the story, though.
Since You’ve Been Gone is clearly a much longer book – it’s practically twice the size (physically) as By Your Side – which might explain why By Your Side seemed to be missing something. I guess I wanted more of the story, more of the plot specifically, to be fleshed out a bit.
The plot about being trapped in a library for three days is probably my favorite part of this book. I mean, it sounds like a dream come true, except when you consider it logically, it’s totally not. The library is cold and there’s no food, except some weird stuff Autumn finds in the staff room fridges. By Your Side totally makes being trapped in a library sound scary and unbearable at first.
But it isn’t long until Autumn and Dax are playing games (poker, slinky races, etc.) and getting to know each other. In the end, they both make the best of the situation and, yes, THEY BOND. *Swoons and falls out window*
Autumn was an adorable protagonist who I rooted for throughout the entire book. She was genuinely caring and funny, especially when it comes to her friends, family, and (*eye-brow wiggle*) Dax. Autumn has an anxiety disorder, though, and she hides it from her friends which puts a strain on some of her relationships. I liked how Kasie West portrayed the disorder and showed Autumn trying to take care of herself and have better mental health. I also like how By Your Side showed how difficult managing everyday life can be for Autumn because of her anxiety.
Dax was a more memorable male lead than Xander was in The Distance Between Us, at least for me anyway. Dax is in foster care and doesn’t have the best home life, which is how he finds himself trapped in the library with Autumn. At first Dax is a total jerk, but, of course, he turns out to be a pretty great guy. I think it goes without saying that I totally shipped them SO HARD.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a love triangle that DROVE ME INSANE. Jeff and Autumn seem to be in the midst of an almost-romance when the novel starts, so it’s not like the triangle appears out of nowhere and it fits well into the story. BUT STILL. Love triangles are like the bane of my ships. Always.
You know what’s worse, though? When the non-ship person in the triangle is a wonderful character that you feel guilty for hating them every time they get into between your ship. OH WELL. Point is: the love triangle is irritating because it’s a love triangle, but it works for the story. And Jeff is a good character. I’m just bitter, okay?
Of course, Kasie West also pulls through with some laugh-out-loud humor that will have you smiling throughout the entire book. I couldn’t stop myself from giggling while I read this book. It was hilarious and adorable!
If you need a book that’s going to make you smile and put you in a good mood, By Your Side is totally the one for you. Even though this book is set in the winter, it’s a pretty decent summer read, too.
What would you do if you were stuck in a library for three days? Have you read By Your Side? Let me know in the comments!