Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.
It appears as though I am on a contemporary binge, because On The Fence is the third book in the genre I have read and enjoyed in these past few days. It’s a cute, quick read that is a lot of fun and leaves you smiling.
I love when a book explores familial relationships instead of just focusing on romance, and this one did just that. Because I don’t have brothers, or any siblings of my own, I really enjoyed experiencing the family dynamics in this book. It makes me both wish for brothers and be thankful I don’t have them at the same time, which I guess is the very epitome of the brother.
Charlie is our main character here, and she’s definitely different than your ordinary female protagonist. Growing up surrounded by guys, she knows next to nothing about average girl things, which I thought was a very cute and humorous addition to the story. Whether it’s wondering what a BeDazzler is or experimenting with makeup for the first time, these things really gave Charlie a lot of personality and realism, making her an easy character to root for.
One fault I do have to point out is that it isn’t very memorable. It’s a cute story, and an entertaining one, but it doesn’t have a lot of takeaway. This is even more prominent because of my last read, Rites of Passage, which left me with so much to think about.
“Sometimes we expect more than people are capable of giving at the moment.”
That’s not to say the book has no depth, because it really does. On The Fence briefly touches on darker subjects like grief and finally coming to terms with it. However, these issues were frequently put on the back-burner, and sometimes it felt like they were just thrown in to add a bit more to the story.
I had an ARC of this but I also bought it in paperback because I could just tell it was going to be one of those books you turn to when you need something easy and sweet. Definitely recommended for contemporary fans or even readers that are a little hesitant towards the genre.