Rating: 3 Stars
Published: January 2017
Genre: Young Adult // Contemporary
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?
P.S. I Like You was the last book I read by Kasie West and I thought it was super cute & fun. I actually really enjoyed it. I was hoping for more of the same from By Your Side. I didn’t expect a revolutionary novel. I need some fluff in my life sometimes. This was a fast read, sure. But I wasn’t 100% thrilled with it.
This ended up being a lot cuter than I thought it would be. The first 50 pages or so really bothered me. But then it’s like West came back into her element and wrote a book that I found myself grinning at like a madwoman.
The beginning, I’m not gonna lie, was pretty horrible. It could have been set anywhere because they didn’t even utilize the best part of a library, which is the BOOKS of course. I mean, COME ON. You’re locked in a library for the weekend and you don’t even CARE about the books?! What kind of monster are you? That was very bothersome. Disregarding the poor choice in setting, I’m sure the entire pretense of being actually locked in a library was nearly impossible. Two teenagers not having cell phones is somewhat believable. But two teenagers locked in a library, without cell phones, or any other means of communication like a landline phone, is highly improbable.
Autumn has anxiety. I found myself relating to her a lot. I have recently discovered that I have anxiety (and depression but that’s another post for another day). I think West did a good job of bringing something to light that presents itself in so many ways. Everyone experiences anxiety different and showing how Autumn experiences it and how she tries to keep it under control is a good example of how it can effect your life. It’s good to keep in mind that her experience is not everyone’s experience but the more mental illness and disorders are talked about in YA the better off we’ll all be.
Autumn’s parents are great. Seriously. There aren’t a lot of awesome YA parents but they understand and accept Autumn’s anxiety and support her. That’s amazing to read about because most YA parents are notably absent.
The love interest… Dax is kinda adorable but kinda forgettable. I love that he accepts Autumn for who she is though. They both find a kindred spirit in one another and that was really sweet. I love that Dax shows Autumn what it’s like to be with someone who supports and understands you. Everyone goes through a phase where you’re with someone who makes you laugh or smile but who actually doesn’t get you, your fears, or hopes AT ALL. And as much fun as you’re having, you’re actually panicking and dying a little inside. But Dax brought calm and peace and I just loved how good they were together.
Autumn’s friend were forgettable (considering they FORGOT about her). I wish there was more time spent with Autumn’s brother. I think that would have been a good relationship to explore.
Over all, I’m glad I read this book, it gave me things to think about in terms of how to portray anxiety in a novel. It’s a cute romance-y YA story that can easily be read in a day. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is the book for you.
What’s your favorite book by Kasie West? I have to say, mine will probably ALWAYS be