Well hello. It’s been awhile. I’m sorry. I’ve been busy. With life and stuff. You know the usual. But no really, I have a few reviews to post in the coming week(s). Who knows? Just know they’ll be here soon. Alright kiddies, let’s do this.
I recently finished By Your Side by Kasie West and I found it absolutely charming and sweet and delightful and everything cute. Now this was my very first Kasie West book, but I think I can say it won’t be my last. So a brief (spoiler-free) rundown of the plot is Autumn Collins (our main character) finds herself locked in the library for the entire weekend. She soon discovers Dax Miller is also stuck in the library with her. Dax attends the same high school as Autumn and he’s a known loner who went to juvie—though the reasons why are just circulated rumors. Not only is Autumn stuck with the mysterious Dax, she’s got to keep control of her anxiety until they can be rescued.
Okay so let’s get into the spoilery(ish) bits! First of all I want to comment on the subject of mental health/ anxiety. As someone who also has struggled with anxiety for nearly my entire life, I can say I seriously identified with Autumn. I felt that Kasie West did a really nice job of discussing anxiety in a realistic and relatable way, and for me as a reader I found that really comforting. Like how Autumn wouldn’t tell even her closest friends about her anxiety for fear of somehow being treated differently. That was literally me in high school, I would make up excuses for everything to cover my anxiety. It was crippling.
Next I want to discuss one of my favorite tropes: “Brooding Boy, Gentile Girl/// All Girls Want Bad Boys”. I’m not even sorry for loving this trope. The Breakfast Club, 10 Things I Hate About You, Grease… you name them, I love them. But really, there were times I would find myself picturing Dax as Bender from The Breakfast Club—sorry not sorry.
Moving on, if there is one thing I had a hard time suspending belief over was the fact that there was not a phone in sight for them to contact someone on the outside. I’m sorry, but I’m sure the circulation desk or like the checkout desk surely had a phone. I’m sure of it. Or even a pay phone? Those still exist, right? Regardless, the ‘stuck in a library’ scenario still worked for me.
Lastly, I really liked how Autumn and Dax’s relationship developed. It was nice to see Dax slowly open up to Autumn. And how she’d catch Dax off guard and find him genuinely smiling at her. I love how they played games and whoever won got to ask a question about the other. And that ending where they’re all at the Iceberg and Dax is there and Autumn notices he’s still wearing his bracelet (the one from the library) and he says, “It reminds me of a relationship I don’t want to lose” and walks out. And Autumn’s friends are all like you gonna go after him? That was some serious swoon material, my friends.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for my next review! Hint: it’s another Kasie West book, but if you follow me on Goodreads/ Instagram I’m sure you already know what it is!