It all comes down to who’s By Your Side

Kasie West has to be one of the contemporary young adult authors who writes interesting plots. I read The Fill-In Boyfriend a couple of years back, and that’s why I picked By Your Side as one of the items to complete my NBS Thank You Sale book haul. I just knew this decision would never let me down.

And yes, it didn’t.

What is it about?

The plot couldn’t be more typical at first until the conflict unfolds in just a few more pages. 17-year old Autumn Collins got trapped in the public library on a long weekend. No phones, no computers, no means of communication to the outside world. How this no-communication-to-the-outside-world thing happened is kind of unfathomable, given the fact that she’s in – technically – a research facility. Apparently it happens and the reasons for this were actually well-established. The second game changer is that she discovers she wasn’t alone. Dax Miller, a guy that no one knows but goes to her school was also trapped in there. He’s dark and mysterious and had to serve in the juvie the previous year. The final game changer? Autumn has anxiety disorder and her medication is not with her.

What I think about it

I decided to read this book because I was in the need of a bit of light reading. Light and entertaining read, that is. Though this book has served its purpose, some health issues were brought up and I can’t help but think about people like Autumn in real life. People who have health conditions who find it challenging to live a normal life (normal is overrated, I know but…). Until it dawned on me – oh wait, I used to be one of them. I do not have anxiety disorder, or maybe not that I know of since I’ve never gone to a doctor to get me checked. But I have a condition that not only makes me drug dependent, but also tangles my thoughts every damn time that I have to tell my friends I’m cancelling plans with them because I have symptom manifestations. And that sucks!

Autumn’s friends do not know about her condition, and that left them unanswered questions. Was she being unfair with them? Maybe. They have to know because they are her constant companions, and she’s actually doing herself a favor by telling them about it. On the other hand, her friends might treat her differently. What if they stopped inviting her to parties because she always needs to be alone? What if they stop being true to her on the account that they don’t want to hurt her feelings and that would trigger her anxiety? What if they just stopped being friends with her?

It all comes down to who’s by your side

Dax was a welcome distraction. Didn’t they agree to call it that, a distraction? This is the danger of pouring your heart and soul to one person, in my opinion. You become attached to them. You’ll have this constant need to talk to them and be with them. Then you’ll wake up one morning confused, not knowing if it was love, or just the desperate need for someone to talk to that understands. Oh yes, you’ll mistake it for love. Or maybe attraction, at first. But definitely more than how you felt when you just first started. But until when should this person be willing to listen and understand, you have no idea. Then another morning comes and you’re alone, the person is nowhere to be found and you’ll be broken. But since we are talking about a romance book, it should have a happy ending, right?

Should you read it? 

Absolutely. Especially if you have anxiety disorder, or maybe any other condition for that matter. I have a reason to believe this book’s sole purpose is to raise awareness on anxiety among young people. Adults too, and anyone who needs to know more about it. And if you’re too blessed to be healthy in mind, body, and soul, you should read this too. Because healthy or not, I think each one of us has that part that would want to be trapped in the public library with a hot-and-nice dude.

Ugh, lemme plan my trip to the National Library.


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