Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 343 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher for Review
When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.
The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.
Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.
Going into The Fill-In Boyfriend I was both wary and excited. Excited because Kasie West's contemporaries always wow me, but wary because despite my love for the fake boyfriend trope, Gia seemed very vain and there was a huge chance I wouldn't like her. Well, all that worrying was for naught because I love her, and I would totally read a sequel to this one if Kasie West ever decided to write one.
Kasie West does the fake boyfriend story so well! Fill-in Bradley and Gia, despite meeting in one of the most unconventional ways ever, really fit well together. They bring out the best in each other and Fill-In Bradley is an amazing guy. Discovering him for yourself is part of the fun, so I am not going to say anything about him aside from the fact that I can appreciate any kind of nerdy boy that understands emotions well when his own aren't getting in the way. Gia starts the book off very vain, but luckily her evolution starts quickly and she soon becomes a girl that is easy to love and respect. She becomes aware of her old, selfish ways, how terrible her friends are, and even how great people she judged prematurely could be. Never judge a book by its cover, after all. So, in other words, Gia's character evolution is A+ and she's a girl worth rooting for, making this romance even better.
My one issue with this novel is Gia friends. They absolutely suck. Jules sucks the most because she's a bully and is constantly competing with Gia, making her out to be a terrible person and picking apart everything in her life, but her other friends seemed to lack depth and a true understanding of Gia. As she started to transform for the better, they would just look at her in a confused way. No, guys. No. And while there's some small form of wrapping up their story line in the end, not all questions were answered in regards to them. Too many plot holes in a very important aspect of the novel, if you ask me.
But her terrible friends were overshadowed by an outstanding love interest, a great character evolution, and a newfound best friend that kicks some serious butt in the awesomness department. Plus, Gia's family, while really cold and calculating, is great because, like her, they undergo huge character developments and take steps to becoming a proper family instead of focusing on the terrible family YA trope of being absentee parents or all-around bad people. They've got a long way to go, but their evolution was nice to watch and it gave me hope as a reader, for both their fate and Gia's ability to have a proper support system that she can wholeheartedly trust for once in her life.
In the end, I absolutely loved this book. I was laughing out loud in a park while I read it, smiling crazily at the sheer cuteness of it all. Really, though, when does Kasie West not put a smile on anyone's face? Another gem by a contemporary genius. She's got me in the palm of her hand forevermore.
FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for this honest review.