Published: January 31st, 2017 by HarperTeen | Series: N/A | Length: 346 pages | Genre: YA contemporary romance | Source: Borrowed from library | Content Warning: anxiety, car accident, child neglect, drug addiction
Summary from Goodreads:
In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.
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?
I finally did it!! I finally read a book by Kasie West! I’m kind of kicking myself for waiting so long to take the plunge because I liked this so much. It was ridiculously cute and I couldn’t put it down.
I actually own a couple of Kasie West’s other books (Pivot Point, The Fill-In Boyfriend, and P.S. I Like You), but I decided to grab this one from my library and read it after hearing that the main character, Autumn, has anxiety. Although my anxiety is usually quite different from Autumn’s, it was still wonderful to see it represented in a book. The representation felt quite authentic and accurate, too. There were ways in which I could very closely relate to how Autumn felt about and reacted to things and like I’ve already said, it was just really great to see this in a book (by such a well-known author, too!).
There is a love triangle in this book and let me tell you: I had such conflicted feelings! I really liked both of the love interests, Jeff and Dax. Both were kind in their own ways and I honestly think either one would’ve been a good fit for Autumn. Ultimately, I ended up being happy with who she chose to be with (I think it’s probably pretty obvious if you read the blurb, but I still won’t say who) because he’s much more understanding of her anxiety and I think he’s a better fit for her. West did a great job of using a love triangle without it being too angsty or annoying, too which is probably a relief for a lot of you who aren’t fans of the dreaded love triangle. That’s not to say that there’s no angst, because Dax is a pretty broody and angsty guy, but it’s not because of the love triangle.
I was a big fan of how West executed the romance(s?) in this. I was a little worried that the whole book was going to take place over the course of this one weekend when Autumn and Dax are stuck in the library and they’d come out after the weekend totally in love, but that’s not at all what happened, thankfully. I’d be lying if I said they don’t develop any feelings for each other over the weekend, but the majority of their romance develops after they’ve been let out. None of the romance felt rushed or too convenient/unrealistic so again, I’m pleased with how West wrote it.
If you’re looking for a cute romance and don’t mind a (relatively well-written) love triangle, By Your Side should definitely be on your radar. The romance is definitely swoon-worthy, with a broody but awesome love interest and an adorable (and anxious!) main character. After reading this, I can completely understand why Kasie West and her books get so much praise.