By Your Side by Kasie West

Thoughts at a glance: ** (It was okay)

Summary: Autumn has a seemingly-awesome life. She's a photographer for yearbook, she's friends with some of the popular kids, and she's finally, finally going to make things happen with Jeff, who's been flirting with her for years. AND, she's about to go spend an awesome weekend with her awesome friends and almost-boyfriend in a cabin at the canyon.

Until she finds herself left behind and locked in the library.

With Dax, of all people.

Where Autumn is the one who always follows the rules and goes along with the crowd, Dax is the mysterious one, the loner, the one who doesn't give a crap, the one who everyone talks about.

At first, Autumn wants nothing more than to get out of there. But as she gets to know Dax, she starts to realize that she's not really sure what she wants anymore.

Thoughts: I've never read Kasie West before, so I don't know where her longtime fans would rank this one, but I was not particularly impressed. I was really excited to read this one, too! I loved the premise of being locked in a library (with a hot guy, haha!), because it lends itself to that sort of intense Breakfast Club-esque sort of introspection and character development, but man... this book did not live up to my expectations.

It wasn't badly written, and I still finished it--it was fine enough for me to keep going--but I very quickly found myself disliking Autumn. Or, not that I disliked her, but... I found her uninteresting. Generic. She wasn't standout or unique or even offensive. She was just a harmlessly sweet Everygirl. Granted, this whole story is narrated by her, so I guess there's no reason why she should describe herself as special, but her thoughts, her memories (of which there were many, as there are a ton of flashback scenes), her choices, etc., are all pretty innocuous and unimpressive. Dax was slightly more interesting, but only because he was kind of the Misunderstood Loner stereotype cranked up a little.

AND, actually, they're only locked in the library for a small portion of the book.

(RIGHT? I KNOW! *frowny face*)

Add in the fact that none of Autumn's friends (including Jeff) seem to have any remarkable qualities... I really did seriously consider DNFing this book. Not because it was so bad, but because I felt kind of listless reading it. I think the only thing that kept me going was that I wanted to see if Autumn eventually grew a backbone to stand up for herself. It's entirely frustrating seeing characters get pushed through the events of their stories because they can't or won't speak up, even if they have a legitimate reason. (I'm still trying to decide how I feel about Autumn's reason.)

The premise of this book was SO awesome, but ultimately, I felt a little let down.