Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
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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.
Freakin' yes! I lost count of the amount of times that came out of my mouth well reading The Fill-In Boyfriend. West is easily a favourite author of mine. Especially The Distance Between Us. Absolutely one of my favourite YA contemps. Unfortunately her last book On the Fence was missing some of the things I love in my West books. So you can imagine how happy I was to close The Fill-In Boyfriend with a smile and total contentment.
Gia's older boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot as they're about to go into her prom. Gia isn't actually that upset over losing Bradley, she's worried about what her friends are going to say. They've yet to meet Bradley, and Gia is pretty sure they don't even believe she's dating him. Gia spots a guy sitting in his car watching this ordeal go down. Which she thinks is perfect. She'll flash him a smile and there's no way he'll turn her down to come inside with her and pretend to be fill-in Bradley for the night. Talk about a meet cute. Of course it's never that easy, the night kind of gets out of control with all the lying. And from there Gia finds herself making friends with fill-in Bradley and his sister. Actually finding herself in more than like with fill-in Bradley. Which leads to her realize that maybe her "real" friends aren't exactly that.
Gia is the popular girl. She's a total opposite personality to me. She immediately comes off as very shallow. All about appearance. But Gia pulled off the meet cute with fill-in Bradley in a pretty hilarious way. So I was sold on her. Gia definitely has her moments, she was hiding her real self. Gia is about control and keeping up appearances. Was a sweet naiive girl with some growing up to do. As soon as fill-in Bradley and Bek fall into her life and start to pull her out her shell. You know, drops those layers. Gia is a pretty cool girl. She's sweet and caring. Gia really just needed to realize her worth.
Gia's parents seem to be all about the show no emotion. Which Gia has clearly rubbed off on her. She can't believe how out spoken her brother is to their parents. Why wouldn't he keep his mouth shut. Gia also doesn't like confrontation. But after Gia sees her brothers movie he made for his college course, a movie that is highly insulting and inconsiderate towards Gia, she finally gets some balls and lets her feelings out. To her brother and than subsequently her parents. Sure you gotta respect your parents, but when it's hindering your happiness, than good for Gia for telling them off.
We actually don't learn fill-in Bradley's name for almost 100 pages. The build-up and anticipation towards that moment was intense. Seriously I was right there with Gia thinking, "WHAT IS YOUR NAME?!" So of course I'm not going to spoil that. I'll just stick with calling him fill-in Bradley. He's totally my kind of guy. Fill-in Bradley is a super geeky actor who can pull a smolder out of nowhere well wearing t-shirts with Firefly references. When he's acting he's this sure confident guy. But when you get his real self fill-in Bradley is so funny, kind and just plain adorable. There was no head games. Just normal teenage mis-communication. Gia and fill-in Bradley are one of those make you sick because they're super cute together couples. Totally loved it. Very sweet and so much perfect banter. Definitely my favourite part of the book is Gia and fill-Bradley's conversations. Actually his families too. I loved the progression of Gia and Bek's friendship too. It may have been unexpected but I totally shipped their friendship as much as the romance.
Like with all of West's books the supporting cast read like real people. They have full personalities. You love some, hate some and sometimes you want to just jump into the book and steal Gia's life. West portrays friendships, especially high school friendships, very realistically. The conversations and dialogue are so real and on point on. Also the focus on how you measure yourself by your friends was spot on. Fill-in Bradley talks about how because of his rotten choice in friends does that say something about him as a person. It's a good discussion point. Ultimately people change or just aren't who you thought they were. So how does one deal with it? Perfect book is perfect.
The only thing holding me back from giving The Fill-In Boyfriend a 5* was the big confrontation. When Gia's lies are uncovered. It was a little rushed and all over the place. Characters were talking over each other, which lead to nothing really being said. Jules, Laney and Claire just kind of walk out being pissed off. Which okay, they would be. But the whole thing with Jules was brushed over. So that scene was lacking. A few more pages added in to just realistically confront the lies would have been much more appreciated for me.
The Fill-In Boyfriend is an excellent lazy Sunday afternoon read. It's light, quick and fun. With so much great banter filled moments that I started it and there was no way I was putting it down until I was done. I was fully invested in Gia's life. I couldn't wait until her and fill-in Bradley finally got to that aww moment. Or when she finally stood up to her family. Gia was a really solid character that proves that sometimes you really do need that person(people) to come into your life and say be yourself, do what you want to do. Another book to add to my re-read list.