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!