It's summertime, which means everyone is looking for the next great beach read! ON THE FENCE is cute and fluffy and just right if you're looking for something sweet to take your mind off life and bring a smile to your face. While I still think I like Kasie West's THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US better, I still enjoyed ON THE FENCE. ~Plus, bonus!~ There is a super brief cameo on page 29 (ARC Edition) featuring Caymen, and she mentions Xander! I didn't notice the cameo the first time I read the novel because I hadn't read THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US at the time, but I re-read ON THE FENCE last week (since I first read it during my nasty reading slump in April) and the cameo brought a big old grin to my face!
Charlie loves sports and is always doing things with her three brothers and their male friends. When her father makes her get a job after she gets a second speeding ticket to pay them both off and she winds up at a clothing shop, she realizes that she doesn't know the first thing about how to be a girl. She's more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt than she is skirts and makeup. Charlie has to hide her new life from all the guys in her life so they won't make fun of her. But what if Charlie secretly wants to be girlier?
I loved the family dynamic in this novel. There are too many books with absent parents or families that plain don't care about one another. Charlie's family is tight-knit. It's just her, her dad, and her three brothers, since her mom died a long time ago. Charlie's family is so protective of her, and every scene with their caring shined and raised this book higher in my eyes. I've also always had a soft spot for "boy next door" books. Charlie's next door neighbor Braden is like another brother to her. He's always over, and she's known him for years. When she needs someone to confide in, he's there for her, and she loves their nightly fence chats. It feels like a dream, like another world that doesn't exist during the day. At night, when she's on one side of the fence splitting their homes apart and he's on the other, it's so much easier to confess and reveal things even her own family doesn't know. After I read ON THE FENCE, I wanted another "boy next door" book, so I picked up MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I'd heard it was even better than ON THE FENCE. Personally, I liked ON THE FENCE better, though. I just really like the way West develops her characters and creates a strong, loving family that I would be a part of in a heartbeat!
ON THE FENCE is just a fun, fresh summer read that you can breeze through in one sitting. I love the fact that Charlie is athletic and another voice for female athletes. I love that the book isn't too "mature" and that younger teens can also read it. And above all, I love the family dynamic, full of silly dares, goofy fun, and constant support. While there are times when I don't like Charlie as a person, I think her flaws make her human, and I can really relate to some of the insecurities she has. She would be an awesome girl to be friends with!