cover image On the Fence

On the Fence

Kasie West. HarperTeen, $9.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-223567-1

Sixteen-year-old tomboy Charlie Reynolds undergoes a summer of soul-searching and growth in West’s (Split Second) fourth book for teens. Raised with plenty of male influences—three brothers, her next door neighbor Braden, and a widowed police officer father—Charlie is a star athlete and well-protected from the outside world, especially when it comes to dating. Recently, Charlie has been crushing on Braden, and she’s also getting attention for her looks at her new job at a clothing store. In short, Charlie’s sense of identity is in upheaval, her intense workouts aren’t sufficient relief, and her constant nightmares about her mother’s fatal car accident are stirring up repressed memories. Nightly, Charlie and Braden find solace in sneaking out to talk to each other (Braden’s father is drinking a lot), but Charlie fears that he will never see her as anything more than just a buddy. West builds enjoyable tension and absorbing chemistry between Charlie and Braden, and her depiction of growing up surrounded by brothers is thoroughly enjoyable. Ages 13–up. Agent: Michelle Wolfson, Wolfson Literary Agency. (July)