The Fill-In Boyfriend
By: Kasie West
Published: May 5th 2015 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from library
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Goodreads description--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.
Kasie West does it again. The description actually tells you a good bit about the book so I don’t really think there were any major twists or things that happened to surprise the reader, but that’s not really the kind of book this was supposed to be anyway. Gia, like the description says, gets broken up with by her boyfriend, Bradley, in the parking lot of her senior prom. Tough break. Worst part about that to her though was that her friends might not believe that her boyfriend had been real to begin with. See her friends had never met her boyfriend. And there’s been a recent addition to her friends group in the form of Jules, a girl who seems to have it out for Gia. So what does Gia do? Snags the first guy she sees to be her pretend boyfriend for the night. Granted this storyline isn’t entirely original, but Kasie West always does such a great job on her characters that you don’t care.
Fake Bradley makes a comment about why he decided to agree to play along with Gia that has her unable to get him off her mind. She needs to know why he agreed. And she can’t stop thinking about him. One major piece of the story is that Gia is slowly learning that she doesn’t know herself very well. She definitely doesn’t really understand how other people see her. And she learns that she’s not always very considerate of other people’s thoughts or feelings. You can tell it’s not intentional by the way that it affects her when she does realize these things. But that doesn’t change the fact that others have been affected by her in the past and not always in the most positive of ways. Fake Bradley and his sister help Gia to see that she wants to be a better person. Fake Bradley has his own things to overcome as he’s not quite completely over the girlfriend that cheated on him. So Gia agrees to go with him to her graduation party in hopes of making said ex-girlfriend jealous. But she realizes that she doesn’t want Fake Bradley to end up back with his ex.
One of the things I loved most about this story was how multi-layered it was. Gia’s learning about herself. She’s trying to become a better person. There’s an issue dealing with a member of her group that she feels like is trying to steal all of her friends away. So there’s friendship issues. Gia’s brother exposes a couple of issues too. One of which is how much of a pushover their parents are. The other is really a commentary on social media. Normally, I’m not a fan of this type of thing within my books. I don’t read books for social commentary. But this is one bit that I can get behind. I struggle with social media a lot for a lot of different reasons and this book just touched on a few negatives to it. Either way, I think it really gives the reader something to think about. An added depth that wasn’t expected at all. Along with realizing that Gia’s hurt some feelings in her past, she does a good bit to try to mend fences and right wrongs. And I really have to commend her for that. Plus I mean, come on, the romance. Yep. I was completely rooting for these two.
-...I was worried that if I made everyone pick, they'd choose her. I was worried that no matter how much confidence I'd shown on the outside, deep down people didn't like me. And that maybe they were right not to.
-"Don't do it unless you mean it"...
-"You outgrew them?" "I think they outgrew me." "I disagree."
The Fill-In Boyfriend was a coming of age story that I didn’t mind reading—not one bit. Not only does Gia go on a journey to learn about herself and life, but I could get behind every single lesson that she learned. Kasie West is a master at weaving characters and storylines that I can get behind. And I’ve yet to be disappointed in one of her books. I only wish she wrote them faster. Also, a total side note, but I love how this story had no sex and no language. It just goes to show you that those two things don’t have to be involved for a story to feel authentic or to hook you. The Fill-In Boyfriend gets 4.5 Stars from me. Have you read The Fill-In Boyfriend? What did you think? Let me know!