Book Review: "By Your Side" by Kasie West

I generally love Kasie West’s books.  They are typically guaranteed light YA contemporary romance books that always put me in a good mood.  So imagine my surprise when I read this book and found myself saying WTF? over and over.

The general premise is that Autumn is accidentally locked in the library for a long weekend.  So is “troublemaker” Dax.  As they get to know each other, they open up and start feeling a connection.  But Autumn has an almost-boyfriend and Dax has secrets to keep.  So what happens when they get out of the library and head back into reality?

First of all, who the hell gets locked inside a library for a weekend?  Are there seriously no phones on any desks, no building code regulated fire doors to get you outside?  No motion detectors for the security alarm?  This really irked me.  Granted, before I started working at my library, there was a man who got himself locked in on purpose – but was discovered not too long after by the motion detectors as he went to open a fire door to have a cigarette.  Point being – while he was locked in, he had no problem opening an outside door when he needed to.

Other plot holes include (but not limited to): no explanation as to how or where Autumn got more medication when she got home as we know it was in her bag in her friend’s car; I don’t know anyone’s basement ceiling that is high enough to lift a teen over another’s shoulders; a person cannot track another person down using forwarding addresses at the post office.  Another annoyance:  the supposed love triangle.  It was too forced and made Autumn look incredibly dumb for playing into it.

I really wish that the characters were developed more too.  Other than a sketch of Dax’s backstory, he has no real personality.  I didn’t fall for him at all.  I didn’t fall for the other guy either…  he was much more of an arrogant alpha jerk.  I was really kind of hoping that he was in a gay relationship with his best friend, so that his personality could be written off as a cover, but that didn’t happen.

I appreciated the depiction of Autumn’s anxiety disorder.  I just wish it wasn’t her entire character trait.  It was used as a plot device to move her story along, and I think that people with anxiety are more than just their anxiety.

So, yeah, I’m pretty disappointed in this book.

By Your Side
by Kasie West
Harper Teen, 2017
342 pages
Source:  Library

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