On the Fence

on-the-fenceFirst Lines: The engine whined against my attempt to go faster.  The yellow lines of the road went by on my left in a blur.

Alright, so library time usually becomes “Let’s decide what we feel like today.  Do we feel romantic or are we feeling some sci-fi fight-the-system?”  With this pick, I was clearly feeling romantic.  And missing summer.

Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds isn’t your typical girl.  Raised by three older brothers and a single father, Charlie can outrun, outscore, and outdo just about any boy that comes her way–including her neighbor and honorary 4th brother Braden.  The only thing that could still challenge Charlie is…well, being a girl.  When a speeding ticket forces her into getting a job to pay it off, Charlie finds herself in the bizarre land of make-up, skirts, and BeDazzling.  Even weirder is that Charlie is hanging out with a guy who hasn’t seen her play mud football…and doesn’t know she can.  To cope with faking her way through her new reality, Charlie turns to late night chats at the backyard fence with Braden.  But even fence chats can’t solve every problem, especially when Charlie’s biggest problem now is that she’s falling for Braden.  Can she risk their friendship for this, even though it may not work out?

Ok, I just have to say how much I love stories with a tomboy main character.  That was my upbringing.  I played backyard football, ran around with male best friends, and wanted to be the Pink Power Ranger when I grew up (and not because she got to kiss Tommy but because she was fierce).  So someone like Charlie would quickly be my best friend in real life.

And the characters are totally believable.  Charlie thinks she always has to be tough to hang out with the boys.  If she shows weakness, she’s seen as a “girl,” God forbid.  And the few weaknesses she has she tries desperately to hide because revealing them seems like it’s giving someone else permission to tear her down.  That was a totally believable character flaw, but one that I don’t see very often.  I loved that.

But her friends and family were also really cool.  Her poor dad is so awkward around her, it’s funny.  And if my three younger brothers were anything like her three older brothers, I would be in serious trouble.  But it was definitely fun to read about.

What’s funny is that even though I pegged this as a romance (and it is), that almost feels misleading.  The romance was almost secondary to Charlie finding herself and dealing with some serious crap from her past.  Besides, Charlie’s not the kind of girl to sit around and moon over some guy, discussing the length of his eyelashes or how his tone arms bulge out from underneath his sleeves.  She’s rather punch him.

This was definitely entertaining.  I never wanted to put it down and lose the magic from the moment I was in.

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