Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: On the Fence

Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 296 pages
Rating: 4 Cows

Goodreads Description:
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.


 
            Can I get a raise of hands from all my fellow tomboys out there? *inserts “happy person raising one hand emoji” Kasie West captured the essence of growing up as a tomboy in her book, On the Fence, in which the main character, Charlotte (referred to as Charlie) is the only girl in a family of 5.  All of her time is spent with her three brothers, their best friend/neighbor Braden, and her dad.  It’s no wonder her favorite things to do are play sports and roughhouse with her siblings then.  Yet, when Charlie gets another speeding ticket and her dad forces her to get a job, she realizes there might be more to life than what she originally thought.
            Initially, Charlie hates her new job at a local boutique, where she is forced to wear their clothes to work and let a makeup artist do her makeup for a display at the store.  As she starts to hang out with her new friends though, she realizes she might actually like some of it.  At the same time she feels guilty for this and attempts to hide it from her family.  She knows coming home with a face full of makeup will only result in teasing from her brothers and a lot of questions that she doesn’t want to answer. So she keeps this part of her job a secret, even going to such lengths as to change her clothes and wash her face before she returns home at the end of the day.
            One of my favorite aspects of On the Fence was this internal struggle Charlie goes through when dating.  Always being one of the guys, she felt like she wasn’t good enough to date any of them, or boys at all.  After all, how many times had she heard her brothers refer to athletic girls as “big and burly,” as if it were an unattractive quality to have as a female?  Her self worth was determined by how she thought boys saw her, so Charlie has no confidence when it comes to dating. I related so much to Charlie in regards to this and the message West is portraying about strong, female girls in her book.  One of the most powerful and heart-wrenching passages in the book (for me to read, at least), was when Charlie let out all of her anger at Braden and said:
            Guys don’t want a competitor, they want a cheerleader. So excuse me if I feel like I have to compromise a little of who I am to make a guy, a cute, nice guy, actually look at me like I’m not his teammate.”
It’s extremely heartbreaking to think there are girls out there who actually feel this way, and if you can relate to this passage at ay point in your life, you know what a terrible feeling this is.  I think girls can learn a lot from this book, even if you weren’t/aren’t a tomboy.  

 


     

1 comment:

  1. I love Kasie West, but this is one I still haven't read, though it seems like everyone whose read it loves it!

    ReplyDelete

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