By Your Side by Kasie West | Rating: ★★☆☆☆
A copy of this novel was provided through Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
One of the main reasons I requested By Your Side was because I'd heard quite a lot of praise over Kasie West's work in the past and also that it was recommended for fans of Stephanie Perkins. Good young adult novels set in the contemporary and romantic genre can be hard to come across and while By Your Side was by no means a horribly put together story, it just wasn't particularly intriguing or mind-blowing. I thought the premise had a lot of potential to set it apart from other novels but ultimately it felt a lot like... every other book in the genre?
Let me explain: I spent a great deal of the novel stopping and starting. That is a bad sign for me always. Kasie West does have a nice prose that is sweet and to the point, not unlike Stephanie Perkins, but in the case of By Your Side there was a whole lot of one dimensional malarkey. Generally, I like to be wowed by character development and one thing was glaringly obvious about this one: the main character, Autumn, was the only saving grace in it. I did really like her and enjoyed hearing her voice. I thought there was still something else that could have been done with her and that a specific trope shouldn't have been used to define her.
But the biggest problem comes in the main romance and the bad-boy trope. I mean, I don't even have to say it, right? I wasn't feeling it. I was bored to tears a good chunk of the time and felt... annoyed? He wasn't horrible, okay? It was just undeniably lackluster--somehow, even more so with Autumn. I can't help but think that so much could have been done to develop them both and I just didn't understand why it felt so out of touch. No spark.
While the story isn't the worst thing I've ever read, it is just dry. What could have made characters easy to root for, their traits and interactions fell short. They were like any other character, in any other book, set in any other setting. I can't tell you half of what happened in By Your Side, or even all of the characters names, because it was so... forgettable. So reliant on tropes and flaws, without actually exploring it or giving it substance.
In summary: how can I describe this book? Incredibly under-developed. I'm a little surprised that I finished it to begin with.
As always, I don't think that anyone should take what I say as the gospel or whatever--it's all too possible that I'm just being a bit of a wet blanket and had simply expected more from it, or am out of the age range, or that it simply wasn't my cup of tea.
By all means, check this novel out if it seems appealing to you or if you've liked West's work in the past.