I’m a Kasie West fan. I haven’t read everything by her, but I’ve liked everything by her that I’ve read. Comparing the books by her that I’ve read, By Your Side didn’t wow me as much as The Distance Between Us or Pivot Point did, but it’s still a nice read that brought me out of a reading slump.
The romance and storyline in here do not offer anything new – two teenagers who are complete opposites end up stuck in a library together. Autumn is a typical Good Girl, who may not be the most popular, but has a good group of friends, and is seems to be well-liked. What her friends don’t know is that she also has anxiety, and in order to hide this from them, she’s known to disappear at times. Dax is the loner, the guy there are so many rumours about thanks to the fact that he had a brief stint in juvie. The two of them don’t want anything to do with each other, but after being trapped in the library over a weekend, they have to learn to open up to – or at least survive – each other.
Most bibliophiles who like romantic stories would light up at the fact that a bulk of this story is set in a library, but the truth is, hardly any reading or bookishness of any other sort happens. They might as well be trapped in a shoe store or the gym. However, as with all the Kasie Wests I’ve read, the characters make the story. I like Autumn a lot, and I think her anxiety was handled really well in the book. And Dax would probably be a hit with readers who love that tough-on-the-outside, softie-on-the-inside types. I mentioned elsewhere that I think of Kasie West’s books as Nora Roberts-lite, and this book feels more like that than the others.
Of course, the comparison could go both ways – I did find myself wanting to dig deeper into the story, even as the fact that it didn’t was what made it so easy to read when I was in a slump. And there’s a bit of When You Were Sleeping towards the end, which made me almost wish for a different ending. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but those looking for a cute, quick read may enjoy this as much as I did.