emma's Reviews > By Your Side

By Your Side by Kasie West
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did not like it
bookshelves: contemporary, owned, ya, 1-and-a-half-stars, nope, reviewed, unpopular-opinion

Oh my God. I read this a mere few months ago, and I don’t remember ANYTHING about it. (Yeah, remember when I dropped that pre-review in MARCH? I'm killing it.) But, like, I seriously remember n-o-t-h-i-n-g. I know there was a library. That was approximately 25% of the synopsis, which wasn’t even accurate. Goddamn. This lack of recollection - not exactly a good sign, no?



Okay. Okay okay okay. I just reread the synopsis and the one sentence of this review I wrote when I actually, you know, read it, and I feel slightly more prepared.

So. The intended appeal of this book is that it features a romance that buds between two people who are stuck in a library. Smart, no? If you think about the way YA publishers think about us dumb ol’ readers, they go for romance and for reading. Couldn’t hit those two markers much more than flirtatious library entrapment.

The issue? Only the synopsis really banks on that situation.

Yes, friends. Here we have a classic case of the Misleading Synopsis™.



We’re SUPPOSED to get a who’s who of tropes that act as blatant appeals to the teenage girl demographic: bad boy, forbidden romance, hate-to-love, books, flirty fluffy times, presumably a flat female character so said teenage-girl stereotype can project herself into the story like she has some sort of middle-grade series superpower. (There are a LOT of middle grade books that have to do with entering stories. Damn, publishers know what nerdy lil eleven-year-olds want.) (Yes, I was one of those nerdy eleven-year-olds. WHAT OF IT?)

But the only trope we truly get is the last one. Because I CAN’T ESCAPE FLAT FEMALE CHARACTERS. Like, are they thinking, “Hey, instead of creating an interesting female protagonist, how about we force in a walking, talking cardboard cutout and let these girls pretend it’s them?” Because that makes sense. To all publishers who reinforce this behavior:



Anyway. We follow Autumn, who is really boring. She has a boring group of friends who she talks about a lot, and a boring crush on a boring guy. That boring guy is not to be confused with the boring guy who she’s trapped in the library with, the boringly-named Dax, who has the boring bonus of being a bad boy in some undefined way.

Autumn has a boring study session with her boring clique, and is boringly left behind in a library, which is then - boringly - closed. Boringly, Dax is also there.



THEY DESERVE TO BE TRAPPED IN A LIBRARY LESS THAN ANY OTHER CHARACTERS I’VE EVER ENCOUNTERED. They do, like, zero reading. They’re not even excited at all. They spend the whole time talking about the lack of food and how cold it’s getting. (Okay, yes, it’s wintertime and the heat’s off but that’s the author’s choice and frankly, I’m not into it.)

So at some point, it’s just expected that boring old Autumn’s into boring old Dax now, after a series of mind-numbingly - you guessed it - boring encounters. Then they boringly get out of the library - LIKE A QUARTER OF THE WAY INTO THE BOOK.



And Autumn’s old crush is back in the picture and into her all of the sudden, which makes no sense, but whatever, who cares, that’s not the worst offense, because GUYS - we get a love triangle.

YES. In 2017, my sweet, pure, innocent eyes had to experience a LOVE TRIANGLE. Unbelievable. When will it end? Am I just screaming into the void? Is all of Goodreads just a shout into oblivion? NOBODY LIKES LOVE TRIANGLES.



What else, what else...Autumn has an anxiety disorder. Which is, you know, cool. Good rep. Except that it hardly plays into the book at all except when it super does, and she spends most of the story hiding it from everyone. Très weird. I’m 19, so only a little bit older than the characters in this book, and I can’t imagine people my age feeling compelled to hide a mental illness. Especially anxiety. I dunno if I’ve even been in a social setting that didn’t include multiple people with anxiety. But what do I know.

Also, as Cait points out, it feels IMPOSSIBLE that they got locked in at all. I worked in a library. You had to log into the computers, yeah, but there were landlines behind the desk and hella offices with more landlines and a public safety officer went around at closing to make sure everyone was gone. If getting trapped was easy, I WOULD HAVE SLEPT IN THE LIBRARY. The dream.



Everything about this just felt detached and weird. I never felt compelled to care about anything, or anyone, or even felt like I had a sense of who the characters were. I guess it makes sense that Kasie West writes a bajillion books, because everything about this felt...throwaway. (And also, WHY HAVEN'T I FALLEN IN LOVE WITH KASIE WEST YET. I could so use a contemporary author who throws out a book a month.)

Bottom line: I used the word “boring” 17 times in this review. I probably could’ve just written that a hundred times and called it a day. A gentle “nope” from me.
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Reading Progress

December 21, 2016 – Shelved
March 26, 2017 – Started Reading
March 26, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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Erin I love it when you hate everything emma! Never change : )


♥️♥️ Lanae ♥️♥️ Kasie West is pretty hit or miss with me but I did enjoy On the Fence , the Fill-In Boyfriend, & P.S I Like you by her. P.S I Like You surprised me especially because I usually get annoyed by that kinda thing. And i don't usually go for clean-teen. too MG-ish. If you have nothing else to read (HA!) and your local library has copies, give one of those a try if you really want to give West another chance.

Your last paragraph pretty much sums up my falling out with Katie McGarry. I loved pushing the limits, then book #4 in that stand alone series but I haven't been able to enjoy any other titles since. it's not bad writing either. Just not my jam anymore.


message 3: by emma (new) - rated it 1 star

emma Erin wrote: "I love it when you hate everything emma! Never change : )"

hahaha i love this comment so much. thank u erin <3


message 4: by emma (new) - rated it 1 star

emma ♥️♥️ Lanae wrote: "Kasie West is pretty hit or miss with me but I did enjoy On the Fence , the Fill-In Boyfriend, & P.S I Like you by her. P.S I Like You surprised me especially because I usually get annoyed by that ..."

i've read a bunch of her books - ps i like you didn't do it for me, but i remember liking on the fence. i'll probs reread OtF and see how it goes!


Sparkleypenguin I hated off the fence by Kasie West. I don't want to go near that book with a 10ft poll anymore.


may ❀ hahhahaha i love this
ew the love triangle was so bad omg like it's actually seared its grossness into my brain yikes


message 7: by emma (new) - rated it 1 star

emma Sparkleypenguin wrote: "I hated off the fence by Kasie West. I don't want to go near that book with a 10ft poll anymore."

yikes. i remember liking it but we'll see when i reread


message 8: by emma (new) - rated it 1 star

emma maybelline ⚓ wrote: "hahhahaha i love this
ew the love triangle was so bad omg like it's actually seared its grossness into my brain yikes"


WORST LOVE TRIANGLE I'VE EVER READ and i've never liked a love triangle
because 14 year old me did not exist i have always been this age


may ❀ emma wrote: "maybelline ⚓ wrote: "hahhahaha i love this
ew the love triangle was so bad omg like it's actually seared its grossness into my brain yikes"

WORST LOVE TRIANGLE I'VE EVER READ and i've never liked..."


oh my god, we can pretend 14 year old emma never happened bc fetus me THOUGHT love triangles were the most epic form of angst

yes,
we wont speak of her again


message 10: by idiffer (new) - added it

idiffer I read this a mere few months ago, and I don’t remember ANYTHING about it (с)
Huh, I forget the plot of bad books after three days. seriously. It's like my brain knows it doesn't have enough space for horseshit. But the good books stay with me a long time. Except Accelerando, because that was just bananas complicated, spans like 500 years with three stories crammed into one.
Oh, and the reason you don't love katie west is precisely because she writes so much. If a book takes you less than a year - fuck you, I'm not reading it.


message 11: by Becca (new) - rated it 1 star

Becca Koenig Yes! I wanted to get through this book so badly but I had to stop after chapter like 18 or something because it was just. So. Boring. At that point I was honestly rooting for Jeff (I think that was his name, and I put the book down like 20 minutes ago) because Autumn and Dax were such flat and boring characters! I wasn’t even rooting for Jeff and Autumn as a couple, just for him, and he was IN A COMA. Kasie, I’m sure she’s a wonderful person, and I’m going to try some other books by her, but By Your Side did just not do it for me.


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