(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: P.S. I Like You, Love, Life, and the List
Published by HarperCollins on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Dating & Sex, Friendship, Romance, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
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?
You know who’s my favorite? Kasie West.
You should probably already know this about me, but I’m just reminding you.
Kasie West consistently delivers sweet, fun, swoon-worthy stories. She manages to tell a story that touches on serious, relatable topics without making it the sole thing that the story is about.
In By Your Side, Autumn finds herself locked in the library… no way to get out and unable to contact anyone. Then she realizes she’s not alone… Dax Miller is in the library too, only it looks like he isn’t exactly trapped. She knows very little about Dax, only that he’s spent time in juvie, and he’s a loner. Not exactly someone she feels entirely safe with, but she just has to stick it out until her friends and her almost-boyfriend realize she’s not where she’s supposed to be … only they don’t.
Autumn and Dax have to make the most of their situation, and eventually they start to open up and share with each other, and they find that maybe their preconceived notions about each other aren’t entirely accurate.
Now let’s be honest, who among us book nerds wouldn’t love to be trapped in a library for a long weekend? Now throw in a cute boy and I don’t think a single person could say no. But if I’m honest, that’s only part of the story here and maybe only the first third of this book happens in the actual library and it truly might not be what you are hoping for in that regard. However, that’s where West introduces us to Autumn and Dax and shares some of their secrets and why they are who they are… the characters being cut off from everyone else in the story allows us to really get to know them on a very personal level and we learn things about them both that are very important.
I’m just going to come out with it right away… I loved Autumn… she’s funny, and smart and super awkward, and she just happens to deal with anxiety. I loved that West created a character who is dealing with anxiety, but she portrays it in a way that totally normalizes it, as it should be! It’s so important in YA today that people read about characters that they can relate to and that young people can see others who are dealing with things they might be and see that it doesn’t have to be life-ending, it’s just something that is a part of her life but she’s so much more than her diagnosis. Seeing her come to terms and finally share with her friends what is really happening in her life is just wonderful.
I have to admit too, that I really liked Dax. I suppose you could call Dax a “bad boy”, but I don’t know that that is entirely accurate. He’s certainly the most troubled of all West’s characters. He’s more someone who is trying to make the most of his circumstances and just trying to survive in the situation he finds himself in. As his past is revealed, I understood his loner status, and I got why he kept himself apart from everyone. I do love that he finally opened up to Autumn, and I really loved the evolution of their relationship… is this the swooniest relationship West has written so far? No, I have to admit I’m more partial to some of the others, but I still totally shipped these two so much! Their relationship was slow and sweet and I really enjoyed getting to see them learn to trust each other.
I think one of the things that West really excels at with every book (aside from swoony boys) is building and portraying friendships in a really positive way. She truly does it in every book she writes! Autumn here has some amazing friends (despite them leaving her stranded) and while it seems like there are a lot of friends to keep track of, the one to really focus on her connection with her best friend Lisa. It’s always so refreshing to see wonderful friendships portrayed in YA.
Overall, another quick favorite from Kasie West! If you’re looking for a quick, sweet read, you definitely need to grab this one, and if you’ve held off on reading ANY Kasie West, I urge you to start at the beginning of her booklist because you really can’t go wrong with a single book!
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.