By Your Side was novel that I was actually scared to buy for fear of not liking it. Turns out, the book was actually really good. I read it all in one sitting because I could not put it down.
The book is about a girl named Autumn who is planning to stay at her friend’s cabin for the weekend but needs to make an emergency trip to the washroom before they leave. Her friends end up leaving while Autumn ends up getting locked in the schools library without her bag. While being trapped, she has this idea that it wont be long, that her friends or Jeff (her crush) will come save her. When it is clear they probably won’t be coming back, Autumn is forced to try and survive the weekend with only the supplies in the library. That is, until she realizes she is not alone, Dax Miller, the schools delinquent is also there.
Personally I thought the whole book was going to be about them stuck being stuck but it wasn’t. Around the middle of the novel, the actually get out, which confused me. However, it turns out that the nights they were stuck had much larger impacts than I thought. The book was cute and the characters were loveable. It had the perfect mix of cliche and creativity that it worked.
Autumn is a refreshing character. At first I thought she was annoying and wanted to stop reading but I soon grew to like her, which is strange because i usually don’t like the main characters in contemporaries. When she was with Dax, her best traits were brought out and therefore made their relationship work better than her and Jeff’s. She was always really anxious around Jeff because he was so spontaneous and that wasn’t good for her mental health (she has anxiety). Her character development was also great and I think the things she struggled with like pleasing everyone, was relatable.
Dax was also such a great character. He was so standoffish. He wasn’t big on talking but when he did, it was usually sarcastic. Despite his stoic attitude, he was nice and continuously put Autumn first. He would eat less so she could eat more and freeze in the night so she could use the sleeping bag. Even though he grew up in harsh conditions he was pretty soft hearted.
The largest surprise to me though, was the fact that I actually liked Jeff’s character. He was the jock of the story, which would usually indicate he was a jackass but in fact he was the complete opposite. He was nice and funny, and didn’t make fun of people they way jocks always do in stories.
The story was so much more than a couple a teenagers being stuck, it touched upon family, friends and mental health issues.
Without a doubt, one of my favourite moments between Autumn and Dax was when they were in the greenhouse before school. Autumn is the type who didn’t break rules and wasn’t up for being late to class, despite knowing that, Dax held onto her for so long, she had to run to not be late. It was playful moments like this that made my heart swell.
However the ending of the story was a bit rushed. Dax and Autumn resolved things so quick and there was no indication of what his mother actually told Dax and if they are still talking. Dax’s story played a large role but towards the end it was kind of just brushed off. They also didn’t focus on the conflict between Dallin and Autumn. It was all just wrapped up really quickly with no actual information given. Although that annoyed me a little, mainly because I didn’t want the book to end, it was still a very great book and would recommend that anyone who loves love stories, read it.