"For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.
To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. 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."
On The Fence shares some minor characters with The Distance Between Us. Written by the same author, the wonderful Kasie West, this romance novel brings a lot of drama (as usual) and more sparks of attraction. Our narrator and friendly tomboy, Charlie (Charlotte Reynolds), gets a speeding ticket more times than she should, resulting in her father (who is a police officer) refusing to foot the bill. To reach the speeding ticket's demanded amount of a few hundred dollars, she takes a job at the last place she expects.
A boutique, basically a clothing store. Which is not a good place for tomboy Charlie, who doesn't know the difference between mascara and eyeliner.
Tossed into a brand new world, Charlie now has to navigate the complicated world of mascara, clothes, lipstick, and eye shadow. Chapstick used to be her friend, but now, she has to wear makeup and fashionable clothes for her work. Pretending to be a girl with a mother and someone who wears makeup has taken a physical and mental toll on our narrator. She goes to the fence and talks with Braden almost every night, and that is where the best parts begin. She is an intriguing character, but she is an even better narrator.
Braden is Charlie's love interest. Though he does provide some fresh drama and tension to the book, he isn't the main focus. Charlie is.
The book starts off with Charlie coasting along. The plot takes me along for the ride, and every transition flows smoothly, almost effortlessly. It keeps going (never speeding, never pulled over) until the ending, which is surprisingly undramatic. It ends sweetly, in a good way. Though I do find it difficult to get into the book and empathize with Charlie's problems, the book is greatly entertaining and hilarious in the right parts.
One of the best features of On the Fence is Charlie's family. It is incredibly easy to imagine them. Those "lugs" (Charlie's brothers and Braden himself) are fiercely protective of their tomboy sister, which makes them endearing and adorable. Despite being Charlie's family and individual personas, they mesh together into one creature solely dedicated to Charlie's safety. With the exception of Braden, of course. He is his own character.
In conclusion, On the Fence is a light-hearted book with a cute love interest and a whole bunch of personal baggage. Easy to read, the book isn't memorable, but it can take someone away for a few hours or so. On the Fence is best recommended to those who enjoy a light romance, mild drama, and a lovable family.
Rating: Three out of Five