Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend

Posted July 28, 2016 / Book Reviews / 5 Comments

Review: The Fill-In BoyfriendThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Published by Harper Collins on May 5th 2015
Also by this author: The Distance Between Us, Pivot Point, On the Fence, Split Second, P.S. I Like You, Lucky in Love, Listen to Your Heart, Snow in Love, Maybe This Time
Format: Paperback (344 pages) • Source: Owned
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four-stars

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 is one of my all-time favorite authors. She’s never let me down. I’ve loved her contemporaries as well as her paranormal duo. I always like to have one Kasie West book waiting for me so I can read it whenever the mood strikes… AKA, once her newest book published, I read her last previously published book. This just happened with this particular book as well, but I have to say… I’ve finally been slightly disappointed.

summaryGia’s friends don’t believe she has a boyfriend because there’s a big ol’ bitch in their friend group that is poisoning everyone’s minds. When he breaks up with her on prom night, she asks a nearby guy to be Fill-In Bradley. Of course, she ends up falling for FIB and all the lies go a litttttle too far.

storyI loved this book for quite a while at the beginning, but the mean girl shenanigans got to be a bit much for me as time progressed. The concept and fake dating trope is one of my favorites, so that was nice… but there was something missing to make it a favorite Kasie West book.

charactersThe mean girl stuff and lies got out of hand. I can generally understand Gia’s motivations for wanting to keep her friendship intact but I also wanted her to trust that her friends would have her back. (More on that later in the spoilery section though.) Gia and her friends were known as popular mean girls and that trope got frustrating at times. Did Jules really have to be that terrible? Are people actually like that? I’m sure there are, but that trope is used far too often. A lot of the characters bugged me as a result.

I liked Gia’s family aspects as well. She learned that her family’s interactions were very perfect and surface-level; she wasn’t actually able to be herself with anyone. There was some nice growth in that area as well but nothing too major compared to other elements of the story. Her brother was kind of an ass.

feelsMan, I loved this romance. I LOVED Fill-In Bradley (I’ll let the name be secret because it’s a cute scene I don’t want to ruin!) and the fact that he opened Gia up. She had some great character growth that wasn’t just from a boy! Becoming friends with his sister, Bec, also helped her realize what was wrong. I’d actually argue that Bec helped her grow even more than Fill-In Bradley. The lying and fake dating was hit or miss for me at times. I like the fake dating trope a lot but I haven’t read too many of them… is the lying usually this convoluted? Probably not.

problem

Mean girls, man. It just felt overdone. I could see why her friend group had issues but I don’t think it was reasonable to take it to a certain level for this book. I wasn’t completely gripped by the story. I loved Gia and FIB, of course, but there was just a little something lacking for me? I hate saying this because I LOVE Kasie West. This is my first book by her that I rated under 4.5 stars. (I know, big deal, this is still 4 stars.)

endingThe last paragraph of the synopsis is essentially a big spoiler because it doesn’t happen until the book is almost over! I knew it was coming because it was inevitable, but still, jeez. Some spoilers about the end: View Spoiler »

bookmarkedAny scene with Gia and FIB was a favorite, especially when they played twenty questions. I just thought their interactions were so real and adorable. I didn’t really mark any quotes, but I was reminded on Goodreads of this one that I enjoyed even though it’s a bit cheesy:

“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

tldrOverall,  I did love the romance in this book. Fake dating is fun and Fill-In Bradley is wonderful. The mean girl stuff bugged me (especially at the end) so I can’t give this a higher rating… even though it’s Kasie West. Definitely my least favorite of her books but four stars is still a solid rating for one of my favorite authors 🙂  Now, how long will it take me to finally read PS I LIKE YOU? 😉

quick dirtyDescribe it in a word: fake-dating-fluff

Recommended for readers who… read all of Kasie West’s books

Not recommended for readers who… hate the mean girl trope

Recommended overall? Yes!

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rating

Plot & Premise
three-half-stars
Characters
three-half-stars
Writing Style
four-half-stars
Pacing & Flow
four-half-stars
Feels or Swoons
four-stars
Addiction Level
five-stars
Overall: 4.2

break it down

 

5 responses to “Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend

  1. It’s been a year since I read this and I remember liking it a lot, but not much else. lol I just have a horrible memory. I can’t wait to buy her new book. (I think a trip to the bookstore this weekend is a grand idea. I can also go pokemon hunting. haha) I have loved all her books but some I like more than others. I think my favorite is still The Distance Between Us, but Pivot Point is also amazing.

  2. I loved the romance too! But this was my least favorite Kasie West book which made me sad. I can’t remember exactly why lol but the stuff with her brother bothered me, and of course all the lying and the friends like you said. But I did love Fill In Bradley and his sister 🙂

  3. I’ve only ever read one Kasie West book, but I’ve meaning to try more from her! I like the fake dating trope a fair bit, and I’m curious to see how I’m going to feel about this one if I do get around to it 😉

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