TITLE: By Your Side
AUTHOR: Kasie West
GENRE: YA Contemporary Romance
FOUND: my Kindle
TIMES READ: 1 (2017)
READ: 12/4/17 – 12/5/17
RATING: 3.5/5 stars
I have mixed feelings about this book. I love Kasie West’s writing, and there’s something about every book that will bring me back for more, but I’m not sure where I stand on this one.
On one hand, I love the idea of two people that dislike each other locked in a library, but then everything else seemed super cliched. I’m still confused on how Autumn gets locked in. Are there no emergency exits in this building? Of course, that would have triggered an alarm, but she would have been long gone, and at the beginning, she didn’t even know about Dax.
The cliches start right at the beginning. Dax is the typical “misunderstood bad boy” kind of character. He’s standoffish but always around to help Autumn. But that’s about as deep as he goes it seems. Autumn is the flakey, overachiever that tries to be everything everyone wants at the cost of herself. And her friends are completely oblivious to her issues. They don’t even realize she’s missing for over a day.
I did like the way Autumn and Dax’s relationship grew. He slowly lets her in, I think mostly because she’s open about her anxiety disorder. It’s kind of hard to not want to open up to someone who’s whole tragic life is on miserable display. He’s obviously a super sweet guy stuck in a crappy situation. I just wish they had more personality.
The way mental illness as a plot device worked for me. Autumn has some pretty serious anxiety issues, but unlike other books I’ve read, she’s trying to deal with them. She avoids telling her friends because she’s afraid they’ll treat her differently (a common belief), but she takes her meds and tries to have a normal life.
Her big freak out, though, was over the top for me. It shifts the story from the library to everyday life, but it seemed excessive to me. But then again, my anxiety issues aren’t as severe as Autumns. The whole thing does lead to my favorite part–Dax sacrificing himself to save Autumn, doing the one thing he begged her not to do for fear of being arrested. And it screws up his life as much as he predicted.
It’s after this point that I have the most problems. The two of them go back and forth on whether they even want to admit they’re friends. It’s obvious they have a connection, but Autumn lets her friends’ opinion of Dax to control her relationship with him. Which was a big turn off at that point for me.
The book had a lot of potential, and I really liked the writing. The dialogue was a lot smoother than some of her other books. The excessive use of tropes and cliches that didn’t work or were way too predictable lowered my rating. It has its cute moments, though, and I’ll read it again.