By Your Side by Kasie West
Published January 31st 2017
When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.
Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?
I’m a massive fan of Kasie West’s books so I had no doubts that I wouldn’t love this book. I have yet to read one of Kasie’s contemporaries and not fall in love with it. And By Your Side was extra special to me.
I loved the writing, the plot was super cute and fun, I really liked the characters (Jeff was so dumb though), but what I loved most about this book was the representation of anxiety disorder in the main character. I wasn’t expecting that aspect of diversity in this book and I was really thrilled to see such a common mental illness being represented in a main stream YA novel. I really related to Autumn because of that. I really loved how the plot didn’t focus on her anxiety but it was definitely part of Autumn’s life. It showed how she managed her anxiety and how it affected her life. It felt really authentic. I felt like Kasie normalized anxiety disorder in By Your Side. I also loved how supportive Autumn’s family was (her mom even encouraged her to take time off from school) and how Dax always tried to help instead of freaking out about it.
Overall, I loved By Your Side. It was a cute, fluffy YA with a great representation of anxiety disorder. I definitely recommend this book.
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