Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 31st January 2017
My rating: 3.5 stars.
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?
In By Your Side West gives us a cute every girls dream set up, our MC Autumn finds herself stuck in a library over the holiday weekend. I would totally love this situation, being shut away from the world with all the gorgeous books? But for Autumn this couldn’t be any worse, she suffers from anxiety disorder, she has no way of contacting anyone, she’s stuck with the school’s druggie Dax and no one, not her family or her friends has come to find out where she is, what is up with that? I honestly didn’t know how this could go for Autumn; she had to deal with a lot with a guy she barely knew. But I liked the way West slowly built up Dax and Autumn’s relationship because honestly the potential for Jeff and Autumn was totally there (don’t worry there’s no love triangle here). Jeff was funny, the class joker that everyone loved and it was sweet getting little snippets of his and Autumn’s time together over the course of the story. Jeff was the guy everyone loved to be around, he sort of oozed that go happy personality, so I could see if West bought Dax into the situation with Jeff around I would have been like Dax who? But having their own time together with no one else to interrupt sort of made the time Autumn and Dax getting to know each other that much more special. Because to be honest Dax totally grew on me too, at the beginning he kept to himself and was a bit of commitment phobe (he had all the reasons to be), but as he began to open up a bit more he was a genuinely sweet guy, that I had a totally tough time deciding who I wanted Autumn to end up with.
For some reason I’d assumed the entire book was set in the library, but I like how this wasn’t the case at all, as it allowed me to get to know Autumn and Dax that much better outside the library situation and to see what lengths they were willing to go for their friendship in their normal everyday situations. By Your Side really ended up surprising me, firstly that unexpected situation I totally didn’t see coming, but I kind of enjoyed the direction it took the story in. Secondly By Your Side wasn’t just the cutesy read I was expecting it to be; West dealt with every day issues such as anxiety disorder and foster care really well. For me the story went on to show that it’s okay to experience this, and there’s not always a quick fix, but the relevant support is there for you. Certain people and family members were really supportive and understanding in By Your Side about Autumn’s anxiety disorder and I really appreciated how West put this across.
By Your Side was not my favourite read by West, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. West has once again shown me to expect the unexpected when it comes to her books and I for one can’t wait to read what she writes next.