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!
Personal Thoughts: After a challenging December / beginning of January, I’d been feeling a bit slumpy. As much as I wanted to get lost in complex fantasy worlds, my brain was just not having it. I kept feeling distracted while reading and it was making me so sad. So over the three day weekend, I asked my husband if he would mind if we cancelled our Monday plans so I could spend time reading a cute contemporary book and reinvigorate myself so I could feel excited about reading again. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West TOTALLY did the trick. I had been wanting to read this book since it came out last year and I’d heard nothing but good things so I decided this would be The Book. I ended up reading the majority of the book in one day and I finished the day after on my commute to work (I got to work during one of the most exciting parts and I literally spent the entire day wishing I could get back to reading!).
Plot Summary: P.S. I Like You is the story of an alternative girl named Lily who finds solace from her crazy family life in mostly unheard of bands. She dabbles in song writing but hasn’t found enough confidence to share her songs with anyone just yet. Lily is also terrible at and terribly uninterested in her high school chemistry class. One day out of boredom, she writes a song lyric on her desk and when she comes in the next day, she finds that the lyric has been finished! Once Lily and her mysterious chemistry crush run out of desk space, they begin writing notes to each other and leaving them underneath their desk for each other to find. The letters easily become the highlight of Lily’s days but as her suspect list shrinks, she realizes she just may have been sharing her deepest darkest secrets with her sworn enemy.
Critique: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West is exactly the fluffy contemporary story I was looking for. While it’s VERY easy to figure out who Lily is conversing with, it doesn’t take away from the excitement of the letters. Watching the relationship between Lily and her boy develop via the written word is such a contrast to their real life interactions and I love a good hate-to-love romance (it’s one of my favorite tropes when done well!). You’ll also be pulled into the story by Lily’s adorable family. Lily is one of four kids living with both her parents so alone time is hard to come by in her household. Lily takes her responsibilities as an older sister very seriously, often putting her younger brothers before her social life. Aside from the romance (which let’s be honest, that’s what we’re all here for in a Kasie West book), it’s a pleasure to see Lily’s emotional character arc throughout the novel. Overall, P.S. I Like You is a feel good love story that’ll have you craving another scene with Lily and the mystery man!
Do I Recommend?: Yes! If you enjoy reading fluffy feel-good contemporaries, this book is for you!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting. This week I’m choosing PS I Like You by Kasie West. Earlier this year I read and loved the Pivot Point duology by Kasie West and the result is that I will forever read anything she publishes because wow. Her newest book, PS I Like You comes out at the end of July so it’s also a WoW that we won’t have to wait very long for! This book follows a girl named Lily who writes a note on her Chemistry desk and then gets one back the next day from a mystery guy! She and her best friend obviously set out to uncover his identity and hijinks ensue. I can’t wait to see what Kasie has next for us<3
What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?
While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she’s flustered — and kind of feels like she’s falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer — but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?
From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes. (via Goodreads)
Ever since I read and loved Pivot Point and Split Second, I knew I had to read all of Kasie West’s other books, past and future. I started with The Distance Between Us because I happened to have a copy on my Kindle but I was later told that was the best thing I could have done because some of The Distance Between Us characters show up in On the Fence. I ended up loving this one and I can honestly say I am a full blown Kasie West addict at this point. The Distance Between Ustells the story of Caymen, a sarcastic girl who lives above a struggling doll shop with her single mother, and a boy named Xander who happens to walk into the shop one day.
I have to start by saying that Caymen is one of the funniest main characters I’ve read about. Her sense of humor is very dry and her sarcasm is on point. I can totally see her enjoying British television. Caymen is the kind of girl who uses sarcasm as a coping mechanism since she’s stuck helping her mom in a creepy doll store that she has no interest in inheriting but it’s also just her sense of humor. She even takes half days at school so she can spend more time working and she does it all without complaining or ever asking for the chance to have a social life of her own. Then in walks Xander and the slow burn romance commences. Xander is tall, dark and handsome and he comes from a family with a ton of money. Caymen and Xander don’t initially hit it off (especially from Caymen’s perspective) but the evolution of their relationship is one I really connected to. They’re the cutest couple and I was rooting for them throughout the whole book. Xander is being groomed to take over his father’s hotel business which is something he’s not interested in so the pair start having career days where they try to figure out a future for each other. It couldn’t have been cuter! There’s also a whole subplot going on with Caymen’s mom and the doll store but what really hooked me is the romance.
Final Thoughts: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West is a witty contemporary romance that’ll have you swooning. Caymen and Xander are some of my favorite YA characters and their slow burn romance really speaks to my heart. I loved the banter, sarcasm and each character’s journey to self discovery. If you’re looking for a love story with a funny lead, The Distance Between Us should be on your list!
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about. (via Goodreads)
**Warning! If you haven’t read Pivot Point which is the first book in the duology by Kasie West, there will be spoilers ahead. You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**
Split Second by Kasie West is the second book in the Pivot Point duology and it is everything I wanted out of this story. Split Second picks up after the events of the first book, as if Addie has chosen to live with her mother and the events in that timeline have played out, and those in her father’s timeline have never happened. Needing an escape from the reality of the horrific timeline she chose, Addie decides to go and visit her father in the normal world for 6 weeks. Once again, Kasie West’s character, plot, relationships and writing had me completely engaged and I ended up loving Split Second.
Since Addie has left the compound but there are still important events going on there, the narrative switches between Addie and Laila (whereas in the first, each chapter was narrated by Addie in each possible timeline). I really loved getting more acquainted with Laila’s voice and becoming more familiar with the struggles she faces with her family and her guilt over Duke from her actions in Pivot Point. Laila gets entangled with some questionable people in Addie’s absence but it’s all in an attempt to help her best friend. The way Laila’s storyline plays out in Split Second is an exciting tale that’s the perfect mix of snark, charm and will have you feeling sympathetic. Plus, Laila gets a love interest. And an actual love interest, not just a boy she wants to make out with and then get rid of and it’s honestly the most adorable relationship ever. I ship them so hard<3
Meanwhile, in the norm world, Addie is dealing with her evolving powers and the fact that she has all of these memories and familiar feelings for people she is supposedly just meeting, most specifically of Trevor (her love interest in her dad’s timeline from Pivot Point). Suddenly, Addie develops the ability to manipulate time in a way she was never capable of before. She makes the mistake(?) of using those powers in front of Trevor several times, a serious infraction that the Compound would punish her for, and he begins to get suspicious of her. It’s so difficult to see them in anything other than a romantic relationship but I was just so happy they got to have more interaction because their relationship is so swoony. In Split Second, there’s another mystery afoot that’s keeping the stakes high throughout the story. Addie’s father has lied about something very important involving their family and they’re also being monitored by agents from the Compound. Things get SUPER intense and just like in Pivot Point, Kasie West will have you unable to put this second installment down until you know the truth.
Final Thoughts: Split Second is the conclusion to the Pivot Point duology by Kasie West and if you’re hesitant to read it because the first book is so perfect, fear not, Split Second completely honors it’s predecessor and the story lives up to that of the first installment. One major change is there is now a dual narrative between Addie in the norm world and Laila in the Compound. It’s a pleasure to spend time in Laila’s head as well and there is another mystery that’ll keep you completely engaged in the story. Kasie West’s characters are everything and you’ll be rooting for each of them (minus Duke) throughout the book. If you’ve read and loved Pivot Point but haven’t yet read Split Second, you absolutely must. It gives such a satisfying ending to Addie and Trevor’s story.
Life can change in a split second.
Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too… but not without a price.
When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.
Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories… once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.
As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot… and a future that could change everything. (via Goodreads)
Pivot Point by Kasie West is the first book in a duology that is inspired by Sliding Doors. The story follows a girl named Addison who has the ability to “Search” the future when she’s faced with a choice so she can determine which path is the best to follow but as the description so perfectly states “knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice any easier.” Usually when anyone so much as mentions sports my eyes tend to glaze over and I’m immediately afflicted with the inability to process anything that’s being said to me. Had I known that Pivot Point would have a subplot so heavily focused on football I never would have read it so I couldn’t be happier that I went into this story blind because Pivot Point is absolutely a new favorite of mine. I had such an enjoyable reading experience and it’s one of few books that have actually kept me not only up but also completely awake past my bedtime because the plot is so exciting.
Our main character Addison lives in a Compound with her parents for people who have special abilities. Everyone in the compound has an ability and there are very strict rules about leaving as well as the degree to which any underage person may use their ability since they aren’t fully grown yet. Naturally, most teens view this as nothing more than a rule set in place by adults who want to maintain control over them. Addison’s power involves Searching which allows her to see two possible paths when she has to make a choice and her best friend Laila can erase memories. In the beginning of the novel, Addison’s parents announce that they’re getting a divorce and Addison has to chose whether to stay in the Compound with her overbearing mother or leave and set out into the Norm world with her lie detector father. They tell her to use her ability to see where she’ll be the happiest and from then on the novel is told in alternating chapters (one in the Norm world and one in the Compound) so Addie can make an informed decision. The events of the timelines in each future would be happening simultaneously and there are several parallels between both futures that enhance the reader’s interest in both timelines. I honestly loved the story for each path and I never wanted to read one more than the other. Despite the multiple plot lines, Pivot Point is easy to follow an each subplot feels just as important as the main story.
Like me, Addie is a bookworm and she has zero interest in sports so because football is a huge component of both timelines, it was easier to read about through the eyes of someone with similar feelings. In one timeline, Addie develops a strong bond with Trevor, a former rising football star who’s injury has kept him out of the game while in the other, Addie dates Duke, the charming and talented quarterback. Despite the love interests, the relationship Addison values most is the one with her best friend Laila. Laila has a difficult home life and she’s much more outgoing and outspoken than Addie. Their personalities perfectly compliment one another and even in the timeline where Addie leaves the Compound, Laila plays a huge part in her future. Everyone in the story, even the parents, are multidimensional with their own unique set of shining qualities and flaws. It’s easy to care for each of them and with every page the reader will feel more invested in their story.
Final Thoughts: Pivot Point by Kasie West is easily a new all time favorite of mine. The story is a fun mix of the contemporary genre and superheroes. It follows a girl named Addison who is using her ability to Search the future in order to make an important choice and the chapter’s in the book alternate between the two possible timelines. Because Addison is the focal point of each story, the simultaneous future timelines are interconnected beautifully. The characters will steal your heart from the beginning and as you near the climax you’ll be unable to let go of the book between your audible gasps. I truly think everyone should read this book!
Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier…
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through… and who she can’t live without. (via Goodreads)