Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: May 5th 2015
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 favour 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
Gia has been telling her friends all about her boyfriend for months, but because he goes to university hours away from her they’ve never met him and are starting to think he doesn’t exist. Then, the night of their prom and the night her friends were supposed to meet Bradley for the first time, he dumps her and Gia is left needing to find a fake-Bradley who can fill in for the evening just so she doesn’t lose her friends.
For a few hours Gia and fake-Bradley pull off the perfect date, and after acting out their break-up Gia believes her life can go back to normal. Her friends have all seen who they think is Bradley so now Jules has no ammunition against Gia to try and force her out of their group. However after prom is over she still thinks of her fill-in for the evening, but with no way to contact him and not even knowing his real name, there is little Gia can do to find him again.
Until fake-Bradley’s sister comes back into the picture. After Gia promised him that she would act as his fake-date if he ever needed one fake-Bradley’s sister is determined to collect for him. So Gia finds herself attending fake-Bradley’s ex-girlfriends graduation party, acting as a buffer between fake-Bradley, his ex-girlfriend and his ex-best friend.
It’s the start of a friendship between fake-Bradley – Hayden – and Gia. But as the two spend more and more time together Gia is forced to keep lying to her friends. They think Hayden is actually Bradley and Gia has to carefully balance the lies she has told to her friends with the new friendships she is forming, not only with Hayden but also with his sister.
Gia at first is a typical popular girl at school, someone who is obsessed with social media and who is seemingly well-liked and respected by everyone but also kind of shallow As the book goes on, and the more time she spends with Hayden and his sister, the more Gia starts to grow as a person. She realises that even though she has never been outright mean to people she never really cared about them beyond what they could do for her.
I really enjoyed seeing Gia develop from who she was at the beginning of the story – a character constantly worried about what other people thought of her – to who she became at the end – someone mature who knew what the better things in life to worry about are. Gia’s is one of the best character journeys I’ve read in a while now.
Hayden is a character who is kind of typical in YA contemporary books, but I loved him nonetheless. He helps out Gia without needing anything in return, just because she seemed lonely. When it comes down to it Hayden plays a large part in Gia’s transformation in this book. He supports her through a lot of the things life seems to throw at her, and in return she supports him. Like Gia I think Hayden is lonely at times. Whereas Hayden fits in with the theatre crowd all his friends are more into sports, and even though they seem to make an effort he feels like he’s losing them.
The relationship between Hayden and Gia started off as a friendship, Gia was getting over Bradley and Hayden wasn’t over his ex either, but the more time they spend with each other the more their feelings develop. Hayden seemed to pull a different and better person from Gia, a person I enjoyed reading about a lot more.
I also really loved Gia’s relationships with her friends. She was close to them but at the same time she kept lying to them about Bradley/Hayden, scared they would abandon her when they found out the truth. Her developing friendship with Bec, Hayden’s sister, was also wonderful to read. Whereas Gia seemed to put on a mask for Claire and Jules she was herself, or her new self, with Bec.
While Gia’s parents are present in her life they seem set apart from it. On the surface they seem to be a perfect family but in reality they are very detached from each other. The more Gia changes the more she questions her parents distance and their role in her life and I thought it was an interesting take. In a lot of YA books the parents are a large part of their children’s life, and while it wasn’t too different in The Fill-In Boyfriend the story still chose a different direction to go in showing Gia’s interactions with her parents.
After finishing all of Kasie West’s YA contemporary books I can safely say The Fill-In Boyfriend is my second favourite, I don’t think anything can beat P.S. I Like You at this point. The story was a typical YA contemporary novel so what really stood out for me was Gia’s development, which was brilliantly written throughout the whole book.
What did you think of The Fill-In Boyfriend? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.