Personal Thoughts: I have yet to read a Kasie West book that I don’t fall utterly in love with so reading By Your Side was a complete no-brainer. I’ve heard people talking about it and saying that it didn’t quite capture the magic of the rest of her backlist but I completely disagree. I actually would rank By Your Side as my second or third favorite book of hers. I loved that in addition to all of the swoons, she touched upon a much more sensitive topic that I relate to greatly. That being anxiety. That and the premise of a girl getting locked in a library with a cute guy was more than enough to push it to the top of my TBR upon it’s debut.
Plot Summary: By a string of unlucky (or lucky?) circumstances, Autumn finds herself locked in a library over a three day weekend while the rest of her friend group has fled to the mountains for one long party. At first, Autumn thinks she’s alone but she quickly realizes that there’s someone else “trapped” in there with her. His name is Dax and he’s a cute loner boy who everyone knows of for having gone to juvie. On top of being stuck with Dax, Autumn also has to keep her anxiety under control so she can survive until the librarians come in on Tuesday morning and free them from this nightmare.
Critique: As I stated above, I really loved this one! I thought Autumn was such a great character and I really loved the way she handled herself. I found her to be extremely relatable in regard to her anxiety disorder (having an attack, not being able to stop it from happening even when she recognizes it coming, and needing to leave wherever she is to get fresh air and deal with it). Autumn seems perfect on the outside, she hasn’t even told any of her friends about what she struggles with and she’s constantly worried about letting them down so she agrees to events that she knows will trigger her. Then there’s handsome misunderstood Dax. After their time together locked in the library, they forge a special bond but they both have other things going on in their lives that need to get sorted out before they can see if being together is even an option. I’ve heard others say that the locked in a library scenario was underused which I suppose I can see but I think it was done well (because really, if Autumn and Dax had just read for three days straight that wouldn’t make much of an interesting story for the reader). I found myself rooting for Autumn in every area of her life (romantically, friend-wise and with family) and I just feel like I really bonded with her among the pages. I would honestly be disappointed every time my train ride would come to an end because I didn’t want to put down this book!
Do I Recommend?: I think that’s a pretty obvious yes! Kasie West is one of my favorite contemporary authors and so far she can do no wrong as far as I can see!