Sunday, April 16, 2017

Book Review: By Your Side

It seems harder and harder to find clean reads in YA fiction these days. As I have conducted agent searches for my own books, it amazes me how many are looking for story lines that I would consider morally bankrupt. As that discouraging article mentioned in my August 2015 post suggested, "if you want to publish YA in this day and age, you should sex it up." Sadly, much of what is currently popular contains language, sex, opposition to religion and traditional family structures, and graphic violence. I know there are young adult readers out there who crave a good clean read. This author, and this book in particular, offers an interesting story line without caving to the modern thirst for smut and filth.

From everything I have read recently in my search for more wholesome literature, Kasie West is a name you can trust. In By Your Side, we meet Autumn Collins, a girl who suffers from an anxiety disorder. I'm sure numerous teen readers can relate to this character. When Autumn is accidentally locked in a library over a snowy holiday weekend, her panic emerges. It is ratcheted up a notch, when she discovers she is not alone. Dax Miller, a mysterious and notorious troublemaker, is hiding out in the library, as well. She is confused and dismayed when her prospective boyfriend, Jeff, doesn't immediately appear to rescue her. Why is nobody coming? Can she get along with Dax for the whole weekend? Will Autumn still want Jeff after getting to know Dax more?

This was a light-hearted, quick, and easy read. I was immediately drawn into the story. I loved the idea of being trapped in the library with a mysterious guy and was intrigued by the developing relationship between Autumn and Dax. The conflict is resolved in a satisfying manner and Autumn grows and changes as a result of the events she experiences. Kudos to Kasie West, her agent Michelle Wolfson, and Harper Teen for pushing this satisfying and safe read to publication.

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