By Your Side | A Book Review

by - 6/20/2018

I follow several bloggers and 'grammers who review books, and lately feeds have been blowing up with this author named Kasie West. I didn't know anything about her, but so many have gushed about her books I decided to see what the hype was all about. I'm also on an email list with Goodreads which sends me deals on digital books, and West's book By Your Side was on sale for $1.99 last week. It was the perfect opportunity since my library doesn't carry this one, so I snagged it.

Here's the blurb from Goodreads:

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?

Now, like many other book lovers, the premise of being "locked in a library" instantly caught my interest. Because, that's like my dream! It's maybe just slightly less dreamy than being locked in a book store with new books. :)

Unfortunately, I feel like this book didn't capitalize on that book-lover aspect. Sure, they were in a library, but Autumn was kind of too panicked to take advantage of the situation, and she spent most of her time playing games, talking, or watching television. The library books themselves are hardly even mentioned. Kind of silly, if you ask me. 

Not only that, but the fact they got locked in a library at all is a little bit... impossible. My door-expert husband (he works at a door company) says that doors these days are never locked from the inside. First of all, it's against fire code. And secondly, they just don't make them like that. The most that would happen is an alarm getting set off when you open it, but it wouldn't be locked. In addition, the setting was very clearly current-day, so the fact that they were in a modern library that had no phones, their cell phones were nowhere to be found, and there were no computers and zero ways to contact anyone? A little too unbelievable.

As I read along, color me surprised when the author randomly threw in the fact that this book was set in Utah, about 40-50 pages in. I had no idea, but that instantly lowered my expectations a bit. Based on the writing style, and the now obvious familiarity with Utah (several locations, landmarks, and cities were mentioned throughout the book), I figured this writer must be LDS. And that made me a little wary of how cheesy this book was going to get. While I have nothing against LDS authors (yahoo for mormons), their books tend to be off the cheese-fest charts.

And... let's just say... this book lived up to that. Definitely some cheesy/cutesy stuff that was a little too sweet at times. 

Yet -- somehow I still really enjoyed it! I saw the ending coming from a mile away, but it still was fun to read. I thought the characters had interesting back stories, there was some edge to both Autumn and Dax (which made it more believable and relatable), and I felt really invested in them by the end.

So. Final verdict? I would give this, like, 3.5 stars. It was good, fun, cute. But it didn't blow me away a la Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever which has deeper themes and more believable scenarios. Still, would I recommend it? Yes. If you're looking for an ultimately sweet, beach-read type of book you can get through in a day or two, then check this one out. :)

I've heard so many glowing reviews of Kasie West's other books that I think I'll check a few more out! By Your Side doesn't seem to be the overall favorite, so if that's the case and her other books are even better, I'm certainly intrigued!

Happy Wednesday.

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