Posted in Reviews

Review: By Your Side

By Your Side by Kasie West
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 346
Publication Date: January 2017
My Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Read July 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:
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?

BEFORE reading By Your Side: This book sounds amazing and I seriously wish it would just come out already! Excuse me while I go have a sob fest. : (

AFTER reading By Your Side: Well, that was a complete waste of my precious time that I could have spent reading a different book.

To say that I was ridiculously excited about this book would be an understatement. I mean, come on! A girl and a boy get trapped in a library together for an entire weekend – that’s my dream come true! (if there were snacks)
However, this book wasn’t exactly what it seemed, and not in a good way. It was boring, unrealistic, cliché, boring, had some bad insta-love and a bad love-triangle, full of super flat characters, and most of all, it was boring.

Let me try to explain:

1) The protagonist didn’t even like to read. She didn’t read a single page of a book the entire time that they were there. Not one! I had sort of made the assumption that our MC was going to be a bookworm and therefore she would read all of the books that she possibly could while she was there. But nope! She didn’t take any advantage of her situation at all. Instead, she watched TV and made up stupid games to play with little kid toys they found in the library.
The setting of the story literally made no difference at all, so the characters could have been trapped virtually anywhere else and the storyline wouldn’t change. Which was hugely disappointing.
Not to mention that fact that the characters were actually in the library for less than half of the book. The synopsis made it seem like they were going to be there for the vast majority of the story, but again, I suppose I made an incorrect assumption. (my version is better though)

2) The characters were pretty two-dimensional. They didn’t really have all that much personality and were rather dull.
All I really got from Autumn was the fact that she had anxiety and was a little stupid. Literally nothing else.

SPOLIER ALERT: She took much too long to figure out the whole love-triangle situation with Dax and Jeff. It was very selfish and unfair of her to be stringing both of the boys along for long just because she wasn’t fully decided on her feeings and was scared of hurting Jeff and her friends. I understand where she was coming from, but it went on for much too long.

I didn’t particularly like Dax’s character either. Again, he was very boring and flat, but he was also mildly rude and annoying. He could have a least been a bit more kind to Autumn at the beginning the book since he knew that they were going to be stuck together for so long. He apparently didn’t have the best past (though we didn’t get enough detailed for me to truly sympathize for him), but can you at least try not to be totally unnecessarily rude? He was this supposed bad-boy loner, with some bad rumors surrounding him, but it was so vague. What exactly gave him such a bad reputation other than the one year in juvie thing? Or was that all? ( I suppose I really wouldn’t be all that surprised if that was the only reason considering how shallow most of the characters were, but still) He just seemed to be like more of a bad-boy wannabe to me.
The only character I could stand in the entire book was Owen, but even he was under-developed.
Overall, I just didn’t really care about the characters or what happened to them because I struggled so much to connect with them due to their extreme lack of development.

3) There was an extreme case of insta-love. The knew each other for a mere few days, and already they were cuddling together in their sleep. And Dax was lifting her up and moving her around the room so that she would lose a stupid Frisbee game – ever heard of personal space before? It just happened way too quickly and felt cringey at times. Especially because had felt so sure of her feelings for Jeff just hours before she started falling for Dax. I don’t really understand how she jumped from one guy to the other so incredibly quickly when she had such strong feeling for Jeff.

SPOILER ALERT: And the part at the hospital where she was saying how she felt sort of on edge with Jeff threw me off entirely. Like, since when? You liked him before Dax came into the picture but now suddenly he’s too adventurous for you? Yeah, okay.

4) There were just some really stupid things that happened. For instance, I hated the part where Autumn and Dax found a bunch of kids’ toys at thee front desk and made up games to play with them. But not in a “let’s play some games with children’s toys to feel nostalgic and have fun” way. It was much more of a “let’s play super weird and seemingly boring games with children’s toys because we’re super boring and immature” sort of thing. For some reason, entire scene felt very strange, annoying, random and detached to me.

5) Overall, the being trapping in a library for an entire weekend scenario was a bit unrealistic. I mean, what kind of library doesn’t have a phone at the front desk? And how likely is it that the staff wouldn’t do any sort of check to make sure it was empty before closing up and locking the building for the whole weekend. I found it a little difficult to look past that while reading.

6) I am so sick of this YA contemporary romance trope in which one of the characters (usually the guy) has a really bad reputation at school and is either in a foster home, a group home, or is likely to end up on one. I’ve read so, so, so many books like this that they all feel very repetitive and sort of blur together as one.

In conclusion, this book was just a major disappointment and in a way, I regret reading it all together because it ruined the version of it that I imagined. You know, the one where the characters actually read the books and are at the library for the entire duration of the book, but in a realistic way. And without characters that have incredibly boring personalities no personality whatsoever. And less annoyingly overdone tropes.
I also have a feeling I won’t be reading Kasie West’s books anymore…

Have you read By Your Side yet? Was the story what you expected it to be? Were any of you as disappointed as I was?
Is this book on your TBR?

Let’s discuss in the comments down below!
Find me on Goodreads here.


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