Published by: HarperTeen on July 1, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Young Adult
She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…
Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.
I liked On the Fence, but I think it was shallower and fluffier than I expected/hoped it would be. Here are the different elements of the story:
- Charlie’s dead mom, and Charlie struggling to grow up without a mother figure
- Charlie trying to find her identity
- Charlie struggling between who she’s always been (sporty tomboy) and who she thinks a normal girl is supposed to be (girly, feminine)
- The romance
- The family dynamics
You can see that On the Fence had a lot of different parts to it, but I felt like it only scratched the surface of everything, rather than digging deeper. I do not think this is the book to read if you want something really emotionally gripping, draining, or intense. It’s more of a fun, cute, fluffy, teenage crush kind of read. And that’s perfectly fine—I just think I was hoping for the more intense, all consuming kind of romance, and that isn’t what this was.
I feel like the issue with Charlie’s mom was half explored, the romance was half developed, and the whole identity thing was a bit confusing. Charlie clearly loved being a sporty tomboy, but then she was introduced into the world of femininity, girlfriends, and makeup. At first it soooo wasn’t her, but then she slowly started adapting to it. I think I was confused by it because I was never quite sure if Charlie actually enjoyed the feminine, girly stuff or not. O_O
One of the things that irked me was how the romance came out of nowhere. Charlie and Braden have a friendship from the very beginning, and it’s clear that there may be an underlying crush there. But the one night, Charlie literally jolts up and thinks, “I love Braden”. And that’s how the romance really starts. I think the foundation for a crush was there, but not the foundation for love. When I looked at Charlie and Braden, I didn’t really see love. Maybe a friendship love—sure. But not a romantic love. Then it just jumped out and I wasn’t quite ready for it! It was so sudden!
“My heart gave a jolt and I sat up. Crap.
I knew why I cared. Why this mattered so much. Why his opinion was the only thing that mattered.
I was more than just crushing on him. I loved Braden.”
I think the best part of this book by far was the family dynamics. I loved Charlie’s whole family! Her crazy, prankster brothers, and her single dad. I thought her dad was a great character. I could really feel how hard it was for him to try to raise a daughter on his own, when he knew nothing about what it’s like to be a girl. So reading flashbacks of him explaining periods and bras to Charlie was hilarious! I just loved how her dad struggled with how to raise a daughter, but it was clear that he tried so hard to be a great dad to Charlie.
Sweat beaded his upper lip. “Charlie,” he’d said, “Carol at work said you might need a bra.”
Overall, On the Fence wasn’t a bad book. It was cute, light, and fun. Just go into the book expecting something really light and fluffy. It’s not a serious, intense, emotional read. It’s just light entertainment.