Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Page Count: 346
Published by: Harper Teen
Source: eArc from Publisher for review
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?
I've loved reading Kasie West's previous books, so of course I couldn't pass up the chance to read By Your Side.
I loved poor, misunderstood Dax. He had such a crappy home life, and his back story really tugged at my emotional side. It's hard to not fall for a guy who so obviously needs love. I liked how supportive he was of Autumn, and how much he tried to help her. He wasn't quite as swoony as I had hoped (I know, I'm too old for him) but he was definitely a likable young man.
I did have a bit of bother with Autumn. I just couldn't connect with her. That doesn't mean that I didn't like her, I just found it difficult to summon feelings for her. I liked that she took the time to get to know Dax. And then later, she cared enough to check up on him and see how he was doing. This is when I liked her the best - when she was thinking of Dax and doing nice things for him because she knew he needed it.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. The story was full of real life problems, but it still had cute and fun moments. I liked the sweet romance, but didn't enjoy the not-quite love triangle. The characters were likable, especially Autumn's family. If you've read Kasie West's contemporary books before, I'm sure you won't be disappointed reading By Your Side.
***As always when reading YA, I try NOT to think like a parent. I'm telling you, it's hard to do! Two things bothered me about this story. First, getting locked in a library for an entire weekend? Not plausible, but it was an essential part of the plot. Second, Autumn's anxiety seemed off to me. My daughter has terrible anxiety, so I've lived it firsthand. I could only partially relate to Autumn's anxiety, and I don't like that it made me feel unsympathetic towards her.