Monday, June 30, 2014

Dual Review: The Distance Between Us and On The Fence by Kasie West @KasieWest @harperteen

Today, I'm really excited to bring to you a dual review.
Why, you ask? First because I totally love Kasie West and will read anything and everything she writes. Second because I recommended (and sent) a copy of the first book reviewed to Julie in the hopes that she would love it, AND SHE DID!

So, let me stop babbling! Read on!

Julie button photo SigButCCrs_zps37abc825.jpg


The Distance Between Us photo 15283043_zps1288a9fd.jpgSeventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.


TITLE: On The Fence
AUTHOR: Kasie West
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
PUBLICATION DATE: July 2,2013
RATING: 5/5 STARS


JULIE'S REVIEW:


A few weeks back, a copy of Kasie West’s The Distance Between Us came through my letterbox, because a certain blogger friend (*cough* Brooke *cough*) decided I HAD to read it. Whenever someone does this to me, I get a little nervous from the anticipation and the feeling of needing to like it because someone has gone to this effort to make sure I do. Well, all I can say is: Brooke must know me really well, because The Distance Between Us was absolutely everything a YA contemporary read should be. And I loved it.

To begin, the ‘tone’ of it kind of reminded me of Jennifer E. Smith’s writing, as I’d recently read one of her books prior to this, but the more I read, the more I spotted its uniqueness, and the more I read, the more I wanted to read.

I even took the book away with me for a family trip. Usually on these trips, I go with all good intentions of reading every single book I have with me (and I take my Kindle, so there’s a LOT), and so often come home with barely half a book completed. That wasn’t the case this time. Because I started reading The Distance Between Us before I even got in the car, and by the time we reached our destination, I’d nearly blooming well finished it—because I just could NOT put it down.

Now, I’m not going to waffle on about everything that happens. I’m sure you can figure out the gist of it because it is, after all, YA contemporary, so: girl meets boy, they shouldn’t even like each other they’re so different, but they do like each, then a spanner gets thrown into the works to maybe prevent them being together, but awesome characters overcome said spanner (whatever it may be) and race toward each other just as the reader thinks there aren’t enough pages left for them to get their happy ending …. And then there is much snogging and declarations of love and lust.

The Distance Between Us isn’t much different to those ^^ guidelines, but I didn’t care. I loved pretty much everything about it.

I loved the MC. I loved the whimsical voice of Caymen and the way she sounded as though she was romanticising every aspect of her life (except the tough bits). She’s so adorably relatable and didn’t once fear being a little bit ‘different’ (translate: quirky). Nor did she once fear being herself.

I loved the main setting—boy, did I love the setting—because a freaking doll shop? Yeah, it was so different.

I loved her best friend. Too often in these kinds of books, the MCs best friend is a perfect (in the MCs eyes) as the MC is flawed. And they’re often kind of a b**** with it—but the insecurities of the MC don’t let them see it. That truly wasn’t the case in this book. The only way to describe her would be to call her a ‘flower child’—because she acted, mostly, like she’d been born in the wrong era, and she was the perfect companion to young Caymen.

I loved Xander—he was so freaking yummy in practically every sense of the word. From the moment he stepped into the shop for the very first time, right up until the last page. I loved everything about him—and I usually have *something* to gripe about.

I loved the innocence of this book. I already made the comparison to Smith’s writing, and this definitely had that same kind of innocence going on—but it was so much more than that. It was … wholesome, I think is the word I’m looking for.

Man, I even loved Carmen’s mum.

Okay, maybe I should just state that I loved everyone in the darn book and be done with it. And maybe I should just say—again—that I loved everything about the darn book and be done with.

So, if you love a good (in this case: excellent) YA contemporary, you can do far worse than giving this one a try.


On The Fence photo 18298225_zps64b1f4e4.jpgBlurb from Goodreads:
She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect




TITLE: On The Fence
AUTHOR: Kasie West
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: July 1, 2014
RATING: 4/5 STARS


THE COVER CONTESSA'S REVIEW:
 I want to thank Harper Teen for providing me with an early copy of this book to read and review. Receiving this book for free has in no way changed my opinion or review.


I will tell you right now, before I go any further, that there is nothing that Kasie West writes that I would not read. I was honestly chomping at the bit for this book. So given the chance to read it early, well, you can imagine how excited I was. At the same time, I waited a bit longer to read it than I originally planned because I knew once I was done I was going to be sad not to have more West to read!

I LOVE Charlie. She is so amazing. And maybe it's because I was tomboy myself. Or maybe it's because I played sports. Or maybe it's because I had a crush on a good friend when I was younger. Whatever it may have been, all I know is that Charlie is an amazing character. She's smart and funny. She can give as much as she fed. I love that she's not a girly girl and that she not afraid of it. BUT Charlie does have one flaw, she's in love with the boy next door, and she is sure he would never feel the same. So what does she do? She goes and changes herself because she thinks that is what it will take for her to get a guy. And, while some might want to smack her upside her head for this, I think it was a necessary part of her character development, a necessary part of her growth.

Enter next door neighbor Braden. He's, well, he's certainly swoon worthy. And I love how he's totally infused with Charlie's family, like he's one of her brothers. I love that he looks out for her, because that's what brothers do, right? And I love that he tells her exactly what he thinks of how she's changing for a guy. I love how he and Charlie share a special relationship. I love how he and Charlie share the fence between their yards as a place to lay out all their insecurities. I especially love how he doesn't like that Charlie changes and how he tries over and over again to show her and tell her that her changes are unnecessary because she's great just the way she is.

My most favorite characters in this book are Charlie's brothers. They all have such great and different personalities. They are protective with a fierceness that rivals any sibling relationship I have yet to see in YA. I especially love how they come up with reasons for her not to date guys. I can see how they just don't think there is anyone out there good enough for Charlie. And the fact that they don't expect the perfect guy for her to be someone they are so close to makes it that much better!

Kasie finds a way to take the typical in love with your best friend story and turn it upside down. She infuses into the story the fence, the best part in my opinion. A place where Charlie and Braden can go and talk about their insecurities and things they can't tell others face to face. I love that they keep this place separate from their every day lives. But once the bridge is crossed, once Braden jumps that fence, things seem to spiral out of control. Because their ability to keep it separate has just become that much more complicated.

I love that West infuses the story with a huge moral: be yourself. I think it's so important to let girls see that being themselves is something they should never let go of. That being themselves and letting others see it will show them who their friends truly are. It's of hard for people to have confidence in themselves, that they are amazing and there is never a need to change who they are. I also love that West reintroduces us to a few characters we met in The Distance Between Us without making it necessary to read that book to understand this one.

I will say that while this book grabbed me, there was something missing from this one that I just couldn't put my finger on, thus the four star rating. I'm pretty sure that something was the build up of this tension between Charlie and Braden without having a huge AH-HA moment, without having the epic culmination of what you knew was coming. It distracted me from the relationship.

Fans of West will love this book as much as they loved her others. Go read it, you won't be disappointed.

Kasie West photo 5027236_zpsbf6ca57f.jpgI write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels, published through Harper Teen are: PIVOT POINT, its sequel SPLIT SECOND (Feb 2014), and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US (a contemporary novel). I also have two more contemporaries, ON THE FENCE coming out July 1, 2014, and THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND coming out the summer of 2015. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.


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