Friday, July 24, 2015

Novel Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Spoilers?: Not really.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

The Cover:

I really like this cover. I think it's adorable, much like West's other contemporary covers. It gives the right fun-loving feel that the book has. And I like that the models have clothes fitting for the couple--Gia is more dressed up, while fill-in Bradley is much more relaxed, with a loose-fitting shirt. I really like it.


“‘Tomorrow we are all going to be better people.’” (Paperback, pg. 141)
I was a little wary going into this, because I’d heard iffy things. Especially about the ending. But I’m glad I went in optimistic, because I loved this book. It might actually be my favorite of hers’ so far, and even I’m surprised to say that.
Gia gets dumped on prom night, in the parking lot, right before her friends were going to meet Bradley for the first time. Afraid they’re going to believe she’d lied about his existence, she convinces the closest guy in the lot to pretend to be Bradley.
Gia is selfish, using people to get what she wants, but she’d never lied until Bradley. And then she has to keep lying to cover it up. I loved the way she grew—it was slow, but it progressed smoothly, and I could see it by the end of the book. And then when everything gets revealed, about her lies, but also with this fight with fill-in Bradley, it’s crushing. I understood her feelings at that point so well, that I almost cried it was so painful.
There’s also everything with her parents and her brother. Her brother is kind of terrible and unapologetic about it; her parents try too hard to put on a good face. It’s shaped her a lot, but I liked where they were going by the end. There's also everything with her friends, to which there's a lot of drama, and the way Jules reacted to everything really got on my nerves. But it's also possible that she had real reasons because of how Gia was before the book stared.
And then there’s fill-in Bradley (I won’t spoil his name, since there’s build-up, and it’s completely fitting). He is one of my favorite boys at this point. He’s funny and super sweet, caught between her and his friends at one point, but trying so hard to be a good guy. I loved the humor from the very beginning—the way he and Gia joke around is hilarious and adorable. And the swoons between them is intense, I love their chemistry, and I’m very happy with the way they made up at the end. It was kind of perfect.
There were a few strings left unended, particularly with Gia and Claire, but that’s okay. I would also be very happy with a spin-off featuring Bec, because she was a fantastic character, and I really liked seeing her and Gia get to know each other.
This might be my favorite West book yet, and I can’t wait to read the next one, whatever it may be.

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