Celebrating Fathers: Mr. Reynolds from ON THE FENCE by Kasie West [+review]

To celebrate Father's Day,
I wanted to re-post my review of ON THE FENCE By Kasie West,
because it features one of my favorite YA Father Figures, 
Mr. Reynolds!

He is a single father raising THREE boys and a girl.
He doesn't know the first thing about raising a girl, 
and the way he finds "advice" for Charlie is heart-warming and inspiring.
He may be over his head when it comes to Charlie, but he tries so hard,
and whenever I think of this book, the first thing to come to mind 
that I really loved about it is the family dynamic.
A large part of that is thanks to Mr. Reynolds,
who is an awesome father figure in YA.

So Mr. Reynolds, Happy Father's Day to You!

(And to every other Father who might be reading this post!)

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

   THE ENGINE WHINED AGAINST my attempt to go faster. The yellow lines of the road went by on my left in a blur. The ocean on my right didn't seem affected at all. It created the illusion that I wasn't going fast enough. The gentle curves on this road begged to be taken at high speeds. I pushed down another inch on the gas pedal and the car lurched forward. My heart picked up speed and I couldn't keep the smile from my face. Wind whipped through the cabin, sending my hair flying and drying the sweat on my forehead from my last practice of the year.
    Red and blue lights flashed in the rearview mirror.I pointlessly lifted my foot off the gas pedal, as if that would help. I looked for a place to pull off the road, already coming up with my story. By the time the copy reached my window, pad in hand, I'd thought of two great possibilities.
    When I saw his face, all my excuses were gone. I sighed and rolled down the window.
    "Charlotte Reynolds, we meet again," he said.
    "Hi, officer."
    "What is this, the third time?"
    "Is it?" Crap. What were the odds the same copy had to pull me over three times? "My dad says hi."
    He laughed. "Your dad is a good copy, but his name isn't going to get you out of it this time. Not when you were going fifteen miles over the speed limit."
    "Really? It couldn't have been fifteen."
    "It was. I need your license."
    "Can I look at your radar, make sure you read it right?"
    He raised his eyebrows at me and I grudgingly handed over my license. My dad was going to kill me.
(Page 1-2, US ARC edition)

This review was first posted on A Backwards Story on July 22, 2014.

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!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( light kissing. )
Language: PG ( Characters say things like "Heck, yeah!" to make fun of the fact that Charlie doesn't like cursing. The worst word used that I can recall is "Crap" )
Violence: PG ( mention of a black eye that happens offpage )
Other: ( references to domestic violence, references to deadly car accident, speeding tickets, lying to parents )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover doesn't do much for me, personally. It's a standard contemporary cover. That said, I do like the lighting come through the title and the fact that the title is a bright yellow. This gives the cover a sun-drenched touch, and makes it seem like a perfect beach read...which it is! It also reminds me of the sunlight on the cover of Kasie West's other contemporary novel, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US.
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Kasie West
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: For Review (ALA Copy)

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. 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.