Overall Rating: 5 Stars
By Your Side by Kasie West
[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]
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?
An epic meetcute whilst being locked in a library? YES, PLEASE!
I don’t remember how I initially came across this book, but when I saw that the whole premise revolved around two people meeting after being locked in a library together, I was like GIVE ME THIS BOOK. Then, I believe it went on sale on Audible and I grabbed it immediately.
Then I didn’t read it. And didn’t read it.
Mostly because it was YA and I was super into adult contemporary romance novels, but after reading my last ultra adult romance novel (LOL), I was like, you know what? I need some sweet to even out all the steam I’ve been reading lately!
This book was absolutely what I needed to read. It had everything I like in a good YA: a sweet romance during which the main characters messily find themselves as they find true love, angst, and great insight into lesser known issues.
I cannot tell you how deeply I appreciated that main character’s struggle with anxiety. I had severe anxiety in my late teens and, jeez, I could’ve used a book like this back then. So many of the habits that Autumn deals with, particularly hiding her anxiety from her friends and ultimately coming off as flakey and sensitive because of that secret, were things that happened to be so often.
It took a long time for me to come to terms with my anxiety issues enough for me to just come out and, essentially, warn my friends. It got to the point where I would just say, “No, I can’t carpool, it gives me anxiety when I feel like I can’t leave, so I’ll just drive myself.” Eventually, my friends just accepted that I always drove myself everywhere.
And when Autumn mentions how it is completely about the loss of control and how she gets anxiety about getting anxiety (that evil vicious cycle is so annoying), mega kudos there.
I sure wish I had a Dax back when my anxiety was really bad, but ultimately it took me getting so freaking sick of being limited and held back by my fears and anxiety, I kind of forced myself into uncomfortable situations and really learned a lot of coping techniques. But my story about my struggles with anxiety is for another day.
This book nailed it for me. In so many ways.
Audiobook Performance: 5 Stars
OMG Caitlin Kelly is THE PERFECT YA audiobook reader. Seriously. Her voice has just enough youth in it without sounding childish and her performance was on point.
Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars
So many sweet, sweet butterflies.
Re-read Worthiness: Yes
I very likely will reread this one.
Bookshelf Placement: Yes
Absolutely need this on my shelf!
Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars
Dax is so, so perfect for Autumn. He’s her rock, yet a very safe place to land. I do want to mention that Jeff was an absolutely fantastic character as well. SPOILER He is the type of book boyfriend that a typically main character would go for, but because of Autumn’s anxiety issues, he’s actually pretty terrible for her.
”Free” Reading Availability