Review: By Your Side – Kasie West

By Your Side – Kasie West

By Your Side

Title: By Your Side

Author: Kasie West

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: HarperTeen

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 346

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?

2 out of 5 stars


I was very underwhelmed with this book.

By Your Side follows Autumn as she gets trapped inside her public library with the bad boy of the school. They are locked inside the library on a cold January weekend together and have to figure out how to survive the weekend.

I had quite a few issues with this book, actually. I found some things to be problematic and would like to address those first.

  1. You can’t just put the competing love interest into a medically induced coma to further the romantic chemistry between the two main characters.
  2. Anxiety is not really anything like how it’s represented in this book.

I’m all about this relationship between Autumn and Dax. I always love a bad-boy-is-only-good-for-his-girl story, but the other relationships in the book were just annoying! The original love interest, Jeff, gets in a car crash the weekend Autumn was going to tell him that she had a huge crush on him. This just so happens to be the weekend she gets trapped in the library. Anyway, Jeff is put into a medically induced coma because of how bad his car crash was, but I just felt like this was such a weak plot device. I don’t think it’s morally correct for her to only understand she doesn’t like him after he’s taken out of the picture in this way.

The anxiety representation of this book was…. pathetic and lackluster, honestly. I have anxiety and have since I was in elementary school, so I get what panic attacks are like and how it feels to be so overwhelmed you can barely speak, but the way it was told was so inaccurate. I obviously don’t have anything to base this off of except for my own experiences, so maybe some people’s anxiety feels like it was explained, but to me it just felt… I don’t know, fake maybe?

Also, telling people about your anxiety should not be that big a deal. The only reason people freak out about it is because they’ve been trained by the people around them that it isn’t okay. There is literally NOTHING wrong with telling your friends you have anxiety and can’t deal with talking in front of too many people. They will understand, and will end up feeling like assholes because they didn’t know sooner. Just fricking tell them.

Some of the interactions between characters of this book were SO CHILDISH. It was almost painful to read because they focused on things that were so irrelevant. The guy, Jeff, is in a coma and could have something seriously wrong with him, but his friends are arguing in SUCH a petty way about who gets to go and visit. I understand that you would want to see your friend, but remember that you’re going to the hospital to visit a friend who is horribly injured. Calm the frick down and get over yourselves. Damnnnn.

The pacing of this book was weird and felt rushed at the end. The first half of the book Autumn and Dax were in this library, but then they didn’t talk to each other for a certain amount of time after, then were dating. I don’t know. The beginning was quite slow, then they became all buddy-buddy in two seconds. Just kind of annoying to me. There were just so many things that felt rushed in this book.

I liked Dax a lot. He was sweet and kind, but there were also a lot of unnecessary details about him that were supposed to make his character deeper, but were just explained too fast to really mean anything. Autumn notices this tattoo on his wrist and thinks about asking him about it for like 2 minutes, then 20 pages later she finds out. There was no build up to any of the conclusions. I get that its only 350 pages and you can only do so much explaining, but don’t have so many plot lines happening at once.

I know this is a hella negative review, but it’s just easier for me to be critical of a contemporary. It’s real life and you don’t have to be fully introduced to the world because you already live in it. It’s so much easier to focus on what went wrong when you know the world lol.

Also, this is set in a library and she didn’t even pick up a book. She had 72 hours. Locked in a library. And she chose to watch TV. I just don’t get it lol. I think there should have been more of an emphasis on the actual library part.

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