a book by a female author18052515Title: By My Side

Author: Alice Peterson

Publisher: Quercus

Blurb: One step can change everything…

Cass Brooks loves her job, her boyfriend Sean, her life. Until, leaving home one morning, distracted and hungover, she steps into the path of a truck.

When she wakes up, she can’t walk. And suddenly all her hopes and dreams, the plans she’d made with Sean, the future she thought she’d have, seem out of her reach.

But then fate intervenes again. Cass meets Ticket, a loyal golden Labrador who refuses to leave her side. And on a flight to Colorado, she sits next to Charlie, who believes he can show her a life full of possibilities, if only she’ll let him.

Cass wants her life back the way it was. Charlie knows this cannot be. Yet a future beckons all the same…

ReviewI’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time and I’ve seen lots of great things about Alice’s novels throughout the blogosphere over the years and a few weeks ago I finally got myself a copy and was extremely eager to get reading. I love dogs – I have a dog who I couldn’t live without – so this book instantly appealed to me. I also have to mention how utterly gorgeous the cover is!

After Cass is in a terrible accident where she gets hit by a truck and gets a spinal chord injury which means she’ll be in a wheelchair, unable to walk for the rest of her life, she begins to lose faith in herself and her worth. Until her mum forces her out of the house one day and they “stumble” across a training centre for disability dogs. It’s there she meets Ticket for the first time and a bond forms instantly. In the following months, Cass rebuilds her life and strength and although she’s fallen in love with Charlie, the volunteer who helps her out on a skiing course and her new flatmate, Cass’s future is finally looking up – all thanks to Ticket.

Lets get straight to it – I loved this book. I completely devoured it and got so caught up in Cass’s life. It was beautifully written and flowed effortlessly through the story. Cass was a fantastic main character – her attitude, struggles and emotions are very real and I love how at no point does she claim to be brave or have it all “figured out” because she doesn’t and she’s not afraid to admit it and I admire that. However you can obviously tell how courageous she is and is trying to be by going skiing, moving out and getting a job – despite her disability and I did find it extremely inspiring and uplifting joining Cass while she over-comes her obstacles. I think all of us – disability or not – could take something away from Cass’s bravery.

I absolutely loved the dog element in this book and it definitely wouldn’t have been the same without it. Like I said, I have a dog and I know how much they mean to their owners. They are outstanding creatures who have so much potential and disability dogs (and their trainers) deserve so much credit for they give people their lust for life back and that is demonstrated wonderfully in this book – not only in Cass and Ticket but in all the other disabled people Cass meets on her journey who have applied for a dog.

There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about this beautiful, beautiful book. It made me laugh, smile, cry and feel undoubtedly grateful for my life, my health and most definitely my dog. It has a very strong message that whatever you’re faced with in life, whatever the God’s of fate throw at you, there is always someone or something that will help you through – and it could even be a 4 legged furry friend with a waggling tail.

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5/5 Stars


  1. Wow. Glowing review. Will look for this one. Can’t wait to see what you think of Paper Towns. I just got Fault in Our Stars so…I’m a wee bit behind. Paper Towns is next (or Looking for Alaska).

    1. Thank you so much – By My Side is a wonderful book, would highly recommend!

      I’ve actually already read both Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska – but I loved them both so much I just had to read them again!

      I reviewed them both last year; Paper Towns: https://jennyinneverland.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/paper-towns-john-green/ and Looking for Alaska: https://jennyinneverland.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/book-review-looking-for-alaska-by-john-green/ if you’re interested! I hope you enjoy them both when you get around to reading them – they’re both fantastic books.

      I’m glad you see what I mean about the If I Stay film and that you agree about Adam! Don’t know what it was about him but he just annoyed me. Really enjoyed that film though, glad you did too!

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