Review of Kasie West’s Contemporaries

Hello my nerdy friends. I hope you are ready for this Monday! We can do it! Recently I’ve gone a little Contemporary crazy. Specifically Kasie West’s YA Contemporary Romance. It’s not usually my genre unless it’s a mental health book. But what had happened was, a bookclub I’m part of made The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West their May choice of the month. I’d already read one of her books the previous fall so I figured, why not take a chance on this book. I could love it. Well then I got it into my head that since I had received two more of her books in previous Uppercase boxes that I should just go for gold and read her works. And I like challenging myself. *evil grin*.  So today I’m going to go through her books in release date order and let you know what I thought about them. Short and to the point reviews.

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The Distance Between Us

This is about a girl who was raised by her mother in a small town. Her mom has a pretty bad attitude when it comes to rich people so when Caymen starts dating a rich boy who was frequenting the doll shop her mom owns Caymen decides to keep it a secret from her mom.

Thoughts

First let me say that all of West’s Contemporaries could fit into the category of “cute and fluffy” romance. ALL of them. What stood out for me in this one was the relationship between Caymen and her mom. Her mom was a little absent. But it was due to medical issues. When she could she tried to make herself available to her daughter. Her mom made some hard choices but was doing the best she could.

What didn’t work for me was that the mom’s attitude about rich people wasn’t developed enough. You’re waiting this entire book to figure out why Caymen’s mother believes this negative stereotype. (which, P.S. she passed down to her daughter.) But there were times when it seemed like the daughter had the bigger issue and then suddenly near the end the mom was up in arms about Caymen dating a wealthy young man. I just would have liked to see more development in the mom’s ideology through dialogue. This was my least favorite of her contemporaries.

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On the Fence

This is about Charlotte Reynolds. She grew up with a cop for a father, three brothers, and a neighbor hanging around who is basically another brother. Her mother died when she was young so she has never had a lot of estrogen in her life. She is very competive and prefers sports to parties and dresses. Then she is forced to get a summer job and the only place hiring is this cute boutique. Charlie has no choice to check into her feminine side. All the while she is having midnight talks with her neighbor and having very non sibling like feelings.

Thoughts

I really liked this one. It utilizes the boy next door trope which I love. And as a love interest, Braden is one of my favorites that West has written. I thought it was very interesting seeing Charlie deal with the fact that she did like some girly things, it was okay to make changes if it made you happy, and making a very positive female friendship with a very girly girl. The book didn’t seem to push the idea that to be a girl you MUST be into dresses or the like. Which I appreciated. And there is a deep issue under the layers of contemporary drama that Charlie is dealing with.

Some things that didn’t work for me. include the miscommunication trope. It wasn’t nearly as bad as most YA novels but it was still present for a few chapters. Also there was this thing with Charlie’s manager. She wanted Charlie to dress nicer. Which I get, gotta be professional. But then she wanted Charlie to play model for this girl who was going to sell makeup in the store. Charlie made it known that she was uncomfortable with the situation. And the manager just said, “But wouldn’t your mother love to see you dressed up.” I HATE people with this attitude. You can not wear makeup and you’re still a woman. We’re all different. Personally I don’t wear makeup but maybe once every two weeks.  Just saying. I also would’ve liked to have seen more development of the underlying issue that Charlie was facing. It was deeper than just a girl falling in love and I think gave the story something extra. So more development would’ve be awesome. This is my favorite Kasie West contemporary.

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The Fill- In Boyfriend

Gia’s Boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot of her high school on prom night. She’s been telling her friends about him for months though so in a moment of panic she see’s a guy picking up his sister and enlists him to be her “fill-in” boyfriend. Two hours, no commitment. The problem is the next day she isn’t thinking of the real Bradley but the fill-in.

Thoughts

This book was very cute but evoked quite an emotional reaction from me. Mostly because Gia is troubled by a friend in her friend group who is trying to push her out of the group. And I’ve been the one outed before. It’s more than upsetting. So basically I was ready to punch Jules. I really liked the character of Hayden and the way his and Gia’s romance blossomed. My favorite part of this novel however was Gia’s new friendship with Hayden’s sister Becca. It was nice to see a female friendship that was positive and uplifting. Gia’s story is given a sense of realism through her many different friendships. We all may not be confident enough to ask a random guy to prom but we have all had friendships that built us up and ones that pulled us down. After watching the live show my book club put on I did realize that Gia wasn’t a very likeable main character. And Most of the characters were pretty unlikeable as well. With the exception of Hayden, Becca and their mom. This is my second to least favorite.

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P.S. I Like You

In a moment of boredom Lily writes the lyrics to her favorite song on her chemistry desk. When she comes back the next day someone has continued the song. Lily continues writing back and forth with this mysterious someone. Soon they are sharing secrets, desires, and personal truths. But who is he?

Thoughts

I am a little torn about this book. On one hand it was once again very easy to read. I finished it in less than 24 hours. I would’ve read it in one sitting if I hadn’t started reading it when I was in a mood. I LOVED the character of Lily. Unique girl who is also super awkward. Check. Carries around a notebook everywhere she goes. Check. And enjoys writing letters to people. Check. Basically I was all set to adore this book. But the love interest… I don’t do boys who are jerks to cover up their broken past. For me personally their behavior isn’t just suddenly excused because they apologize and fall in love. Like, that’s nice. And I forgive you. But I don’t forget… And Lily and Cade’s reasoning for fighting was just …. not okay. Granted it was based on misconceptions. But when your humor hurts someone else, perception is everything. You may have been trying to help them out or just be funny. But if it hurts their feelings. They win. It was hurtful. So its not okay. So I just had a hard time coming to terms with the relationship in this one. Overall it’s probably my second favorite though just because I loved the MC.

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By Your Side

Autumn Collins accidentally gets locked in a library during a three-day weekend. Sounds like a dream come true. The problem is that she has severe anxiety. She soon discovers that someone else is spending the weekend in the library with her. As the wait for Tuesday to roll around they slow form a friendship.

Thoughts

I went into this one skeptically because I’d heard so many meh reviews about it. But I really liked it guys. I loved Autumn as a character. She was so relatable for me. And I loved the activities they chose to do in the library. Playing with the children’s toys and racing down the stairs. I think West did a great job of representing anxiety. That was probably the most relatable part for me. She didn’t brush over it. Yet it didn’t define Autumn as a character. In fact the only issue I had with this book is a personal preference thing. I wasn’t really into Dax. I understand his romance with Autumn but personally I would’ve run the other direction. Overall I did really like this book and it’s probably my third favorite.

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I hope you enjoyed these mini reviews. West has a new YA contemporary romance coming out July 25th called Lucky in Love. Have you read any of these books? Did you like them. Come talk to me in the comments. And have a marvelous day!

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11 thoughts on “Review of Kasie West’s Contemporaries

  1. Kristin says:

    I didn’t think I had read anything by Kasie West but when you were talking about The Distance Between Us it started to ring a bell. I went on goodreads and sure enough I have read it. I guess that shows how memorable it was to me!

    I do want to try some of her other books though! They seem like great summer reads!

    Like

  2. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense says:

    I picked up Kasie West last year when I was trying to see if I could go back to loving contemporary after kind of shunning the genre for so long. Turns out I can! I’ve read all of these (By Your Side, P.S. I Like You, and On the Fence are my favorites) and am eagerly awaiting Lucky in Love. I find her books perfect for when I need something sweet and fun, or when I just need a book that makes me smile. Loved all the mini-reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sydneysshelves says:

      If you like the boy next girl trope then On the fence. P.s. I like you if you like the pen pals and hate to love tropes. And maybe The Fill In boyfriend if you like stories where ppl pretend to be in a relationships with each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. pucksandpaperbacks says:

    I liked The Distance Between Us, it gave me Gilmore Girls vibes a lot! Wasn’t a big fan of OTF, it was the last book I read before By Your Side. I just didn’t like that I read all of her fluffy books and then OTF the romance wasn’t built up enough for me. My favorite is The Fill In Boyfriend I wish Hayden was real bc i’d marry the heck outta him. Great reviews! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lindseyhabets says:

    I went on a Kasie West binge a few months ago as well so I was super happy to see this post! I agree with most of your reviews, though my favorite was P.S. I Like You. But I do agree with your arguments about the love interest! I love all Kasie West’s books, they’re cute and fluffy and perfect books to read in a day 🙂

    Like

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