Author: Kasie West

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ARC Review: By Your Side

February 4, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

ARC Review: By Your SideBy Your Side by Kasie West
on January 31st, 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.
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?

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a big fan of Kasie West. There isn’t a book by her that I haven’t really enjoyed. I’ve given her past two books five stars because I loved them so much. I’m happy to report that By Your Side is pretty great as well. It has a lot of angst going on here, but I really did enjoy the main storyline. I was just honestly expecting a little more focus on the whole library part of the story since that’s what the synopsis talks about. Anyway, it was yet another solid and swoony book from my girl Kasie, and I can’t wait to read her next book! Seriously though, is she capable of writing a bad book? I don’t think so.

Autumn was a wonderful protagonist. I have to admit that she probably isn’t the most memorable, but she’s still a real and relatable character that I really enjoyed all around. I felt like her struggles with anxiety were well discussed and portrayed. As someone who’s struggled with anxiety, I’m happy to see that authors are representing it more and more since it’s a topic that needs to be discussed in YA books specifically. So yeah, I liked Autumn and I felt like she was well written and well developed as a whole. Was she perfect? Of course not, but who is? She’s your average teenager who makes some dumb mistakes along the way, but that’s what makes her so easy to relate to.

Dax was definitely a troubled character. I normally don’t really go for the “bad boy” types, but she actually makes this one work for the most part. Dax has a lot of baggage and a history that is extremely tragic and heartbreaking all around. As far as I can remember, Kasie has never written a love interest quite like him. Because of his past, he was understandably pretty closed up and refused to let anyone close to him. At first this was a little annoying because we weren’t sure why he acted this way, but as the book progressed, we learned more and more about his history. I think that Kasie did a great job writing his character. I honestly just wanted to hug him again and again at certain points in the book.

As a couple, they make a pretty cute one eventually. They have a great deal of drama that gets in the way of things at times, but they are a sweet couple once it really comes down to it. The romance is a rather slow-moving one, but I thought it was at a realistic pace. Although at times I just really really wanted them to get it together already. As I mentioned, Dax has a rough background, and he’s very very careful about who he lets in. As they are trapped in the library, they slowly begin to rely on each other a little bit more and he slowly lets his guard down with her. It’s a beautiful moment once this finally happens. There were so many cute scenes that happened between them during their time in the library. They didn’t kiss or anything, but the moments where they were just getting to know each other was so adorable and I loved reading it.

Kasie West has written another fun and easy book to read. I started this one with absolutely no intention of reading it in one sitting, but somehow I managed to do that anyway. It’s a wonderful and sweet read. Who hasn’t thought about being trapped in a library? I know that I have, but especially if someone hot was trapped with me. There was a lot of drama, and some of it was a little much at times. However, I think that Kasie did the best that she could. Though this wasn’t my favorite, it was still pretty good.

four-stars

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P.S. I Like You Review

July 26, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

P.S. I Like You ReviewP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26th 2016
Pages: 304
Source: Dahlia Adler
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, The Fill-In Boyfriend, By Your Side
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?
While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?
From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

It’s insane to me how each book that Kasie West writes gets better and better. If you’re a fan of quirky contemporary YA romances, you need to read something by Kasie. Though I adored The Fill-in Boyfriend, this might be my new favorite by her just because I was able to connect to these characters in a totally awesome way. This book has it all: friendship, family, awesome MC, cute romance, and cool plot. I honestly can’t recommend this book enough to you guys! Before I get into my review though, you should know that I am going to name the love interest. To be honest, it’s not that hard to figure out who it is, but still proceed with caution when I discuss the romance towards the end of my review.

So I related to Lily from the very first page. She may or may not now be one of my favorite MC’s ever. I loved how quirky and awkward she was. Most of all, I loved how she wasn’t afraid to be herself. She has a bit of an eccentric style and makes her own clothes. Lily isn’t the best at talking to boys, which is definitely one of the things about her that I instantly connected with. I’m pretty sure that so many others are able to relate to this awkwardness as well, talking to boys back in high school was always the worst. I also loved how passionate she was about music. Lily expresses herself through her song lyrics and playing her guitar. I loved how creative and awesome she is. Once she gets past her initial awkwardness, she’s truly a beautiful and hilarious person.

One of the best parts of this book was Lily’s family. Both her parents are happily married and relatively normal. They cracked me up with how they would have these competitions with food and make their kids pick what they liked better. Her little brothers were adorable and her old sister was hilarious and a fascinating character. In some ways, this family reminded me of the Garretts from My Life Next Door. Basically, it’s a flawed and very chaotic family but I want to be a member anyway. Sometimes I feel like YA books have a habit of only showing families that are totally messed up and only bring drama to the plot, so it was nice to see a crazy but loving and supportive family in P.S. I Like You.

Another great thing about this book was the friendship side of things. Yeah, I adored the romance, but I’m always a sucker for a solid friendship as well! Isabel and Lily have an unbreakable friendship. While they occasionally fight, they always find a way to get past whatever the issue is. I also loved how understanding Isabel was when it comes to Lily having to put her family first too. Meaning, sometimes Lily couldn’t go out somewhere because she had to babysit her little brothers and her best friend understood that. There is a tiny bit of drama involving a boy that temporarily comes between them, but don’t worry, it’s honestly not over the top and I loved how the situation was handled by Isabel. This is an incredible friendship between two very different girls who support each other no matter what.

Now we’ve reached the part in my review where I’m going to talk about the romance, so skip over this if you don’t want to see the name of the love interest. As most Kasie West romances manage to do, this romance brought up all the feels. I just loved how adorable the whole concept is. Let’s be real here, the concept of writing song lyrics on a desk and finding that someone added to it isn’t new, it was also in the book Faking Normal, but I loved it anyway. This was also different since they do end up graduating to writing each other full page letters, which was always entertaining to read. This novel portrays an incredible hate to love romance. This trope doesn’t always work for me, but Kasie managed to make it work with a natural ease. Once Lily discovers that her enemy Cade is the one writing the letters, she doesn’t know what to do. The Cade she sees in his letters is entirely different from the person he is in real life. Gradually, she starts hanging out with him more in person and getting a chance to see who he really is. If you can’t already tell, I absolutely loved this romance. I honestly don’t think it could have been written any better!

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for over a year now, and Kasie West didn’t disappoint. This is one book that I know I’ll want to reread again and again. It’s such a memorable and light read. Sure, it has some drama, but I felt like it was a realistic amount and never too much. If you’ve never read anything by this notable YA contemporary author, this is a great place to start. If you’ve loved her previous books, you’ll likely find a new favorite with P.S. I Like You. This book just hit shelves today, so be sure to go grab a copy!

*Big thanks to Dahlia Adler for sending me her ARC as a prize for Dahlia’s Book Club!*

five-stars

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The Fill-In Boyfriend Review

October 23, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★★

The Fill-In Boyfriend ReviewThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th 2015
Pages: 352
Source: Library
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.
The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.
Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

I’ve been a fan of Kasie West’s contemporary books, On The Fence and The Distance Between Us. However, her latest book is the one that I personally loved the most. I think most of this is because I could relate to Gia in a way that I couldn’t with her other protagonists. I also really believed the growth that happened to Gia throughout the book. I felt like the focus on friends and family was extremely well done and the romance was just the icing on top of it all.

The Fill-In Boyfriend was just a beautiful book all around for me. I’m not going to say much about the guy who Gia uses as “Fill in Bradley” (her boyfriend Bradley dumped her in the parking lot at prom) since it’s kind of a secret. Honestly, I was expecting his name to be kept a secret longer than it was since most of the reviews I’ve read don’t reveal it. However, I will say that the love interest is sweet and a little bit of a nerd, which makes him even cooler to me. Gia and him form a sort of bond after the prom incident. His sister Bec attends Gia’s school and although they both come from different social groups, they end up somehow becoming close friends.

A lot of this book focuses on being true to yourself and not pretending to be someone that you aren’t just to make other people happy. Gia has a huge habit of doing things just to keep up her popular status. She is a little bit of a brat in the beginning who is way too obsessed with how her friends see her. But I love how she matures as the book goes on. She becomes more comfortable in her own skin and forms a friendship with Bec, a girl who is completely loyal and honest with her, while her own group of friends isn’t always that way. Bec and her fill-in boyfriend have a large part in helping Gia figure out who exactly she is.

There’s a lot of interesting things that happen between Gia and her family. I can’t tell you how mad I was at her older brother. He was so pretentious and I couldn’t believe what he did to his little sister. What made me even angrier was how her parents reacted to what he did. Anyway, I definitely enjoyed this book more than I thought that I would honestly. I felt like the fake to real thing might be off-putting but Kasie West made it work in the most effortless way. I’m beyond glad that I decided to give this one a try!

five-stars
Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: five-stars

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Waiting On Wednesday: P.S. I Like You

September 23, 2015 Features 0

Waiting On Wednesday: P.S. I Like YouP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26th 2016
Pages: 304
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?
While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?
From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

New-WoW3
Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking The Spine that highlights your most anticipated upcoming releases.
I’m looking forward to this one because I love Kasie West’s YA contemporary stuff. I have yet to read her other popular fantasy YA series Pivot Point, but anything that she writes seems to turn out amazing. This seems so far away, I’m ready for 2016 already since there are tons and tons of books that look so good coming out next summer! What do you guys think? Does this book look good? Do you guys like Kasie West too?
 

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The Distance Between Us Review

July 31, 2015 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

The Distance Between Us ReviewThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen on July 2nd 2013
Pages: 312
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: The Fill-In Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, By Your Side
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Seventeen-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.

Even though this book has been out for two years now, I’ve never gotten around to reading it. Now that I finally have, it’s safe to say that I’m even more in love with Kasie West’s writing now. This book specifically is the perfect light and adorable summer read.

Caymen Meyers was raised by her single mother to believe that poor and rich people come from completely separate worlds, and she belongs to the first world. She works in her mother’s doll shop where she gets plenty of practice observing the rich people who buy the dolls. She can instantly tell that Xander Spence is beyond rich. As she gets gradually closer to him, she realizes that the two have more in common than she initially anticipated. However, it seems like the rest of the world is against the pair being together, and Caymen learns a family secret that threatens her outlook on her life entirely.

I really enjoyed the main characters Xander and Caymen. I felt like they were well developed and I loved watching their relationship grow. I think the supporting characters could have had a little bit more development because most of them were meant to be unlikable – besides Caymen’s friend Skye. So it’s safe to say that I liked the characters but felt like they weren’t memorable as a whole.

The relationship is obviously one of the big selling points of the book. It tells the story of a great summer romance that has a realistic and gradual build. The two face challenge after challenge and you start to wonder if they are ever going to get together at all. But that’s often how it works in real life and I like the accuracy of the relationship in general. Another enjoyable part was how quirky and witty the pair of them are. When together, they seem to bring out a whole different to each other and that’s fun to read about as they develop not only as a couple, but as individuals as well.

All in all, this is a book that will make a nice summer read. Yes, it’s on the predictable side, but what do you expect? It’s a summer Young Adult Romance book and if that’s something you typically enjoy, then I’m sure this book is something you’d be interested in. Kasie West is a fantastic writer and I recommend starting with this book first if you’ve never read any of her stuff!

four-stars

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