Back before Something Beautiful was published, I was trying to find some better comp titles to be used in my marketing. (Here’s something that isn’t advertised about going with a small, indie publisher – I had to do most of my own marketing, which is not my strong suit. But hey! I have a book in the world, and that’s something.) Something Beautiful is about neighbors who fall in love in high school (sort of…), and On the Fence was mentioned to me as a possible comp. So I read it (which actually means I flew through it), and I can say, it could be a comp for about one chapter… lol. Anyway! I read it, I enjoyed it, and here we go!
Charlie has the tendency to drive too fast, much to the chagrin of her police officer father. After she gets a speeding ticket, she is forced to get a job, and the only place hiring is a boutique clothing store, where she has to face one of her biggest fears – acting like a girl. She’s been raised by a single dad and three older brothers, along with an honorary fourth brother, Braden, who lives next door. For the first time in her life, Charlie has to lie and fake her way through acting like a girl at work – and acting like a girl when she’s asked on a date by a guy who doesn’t know her family situation and has never seen her outrun all the boys.
Dealing with all these changes in her life has been stressful, and she starts hanging out at the backyard fence in the middle of the night talking to Braden when she can’t sleep. Which leads to the biggest problem of all – Charlie is falling for Braden, and she can’t stop it, but she also doesn’t want to lose him for good. What’s a girl to do?
3 Things I Loved
- Charlie’s character arc. Charlie is a fascinating portrait of a teenage girl. Her mother died when she was young, and she was raised in a house filled with men and boys – she doesn’t know anything else. But at her new job, she starts to realize that there’s more to life than being a tomboy – and she wants the two halves of her life to make her into a whole person. I loved her. She was so relatable.
- Braden. Okay, Braden is so swoony. He’s got some crap going on in his life that brings him to the fence at night, and he’s such a good complement to Charlie’s character. I could tell that Braden had feelings for Charlie really early in the book, but I loved the slow burn. I loved them. I love young love!
- Charlie’s boss. Though I can’t remember her name, Charlie’s boss was so great. She is constantly encouraging to Charlie, coaxing her out of her shell, helping her pick out new clothes, being that mother figure in Charlie’s life. She’s a good counterpart to Charlie’s dad, who was also adorable.
I literally read this in a single night, so the details are a bit fuzzy. Here is what I remember – there are only white people in the book. That’s kind of lame. Also – there is this plot having to do with depression and suicide and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I found that to be a little squicky. Engage with me if you want to hear more, but I don’t want to talk about spoilers here today.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
This book was very enjoyable, pretty fluffy and fun. I called it a good palate cleanser in my Goodreads review. But it didn’t pop for me – it wasn’t a book that stuck in my memory for months after (some books do that!). So, taking all of this into consideration, I’m giving On the Fence a GREEN rating. It was good, but it wasn’t that diamond in the rough.