The Fill-In Boyfriend

the-fill-in-boyfriend


Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend

Author: Kasie West

Series: N/A

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: May 5th 2015

Rating:

Five 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 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…

…The Plot

“How is self worth measured today? By the amount of likes a post gets, by how many friends we collect, by how many retweets we accumulate? Do we even know what we really think until we post our thoughts online and let others tell us if they are worthy?”

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.

“You know what we’ve succeeded in doing with this game?”
“What’s that?”
“Increasing the anticipation.”
He laughed. “I know, right? Can I just be fill-in Bradley forever?”

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.

…The Characters

“I was humiliated for the girl with the social media addiction. The girl addicted to the validation of strangers. She didn’t even know what she thought until someone told her what to think. She didn’t even know who she was.”

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?”
“Yes, Gia?”
“Nothing I just wanted to say your name.”

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 could try to guess your preferences.”
“My preferences in a kiss?”
I nodded, our faces still very close together.
“My preference is simple-you.”

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.

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46 thoughts on “The Fill-In Boyfriend

    • That was pretty much me as well, well except I didn’t get the book in the Owl Crate box, but after reading P.S. I Like You I just had to get all of Kasie West’s books and luckily I really loved them all so hopefully you will as well! 😀

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  1. Awesome review! I haven’t read any Kasie West books *hides face* I know what a shame! Lol! But this one sounds cute. I’m conflicted if I should pick up this one or P.S. I Like You since you enjoyed that more, ahh!!!

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    • Definitely a classic story, and yes now you’ve mentioned it I am definitely seeing the similarities between this book and The Wedding Date! 😀
      She definitely does it right. If you enjoy YA contemporary books, or are even thinking of picking them up, I’d recommend Kasie West.
      Thanks, it’s always great finding a new favourite author isn’t it? 😀

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  2. I’m thinking I should order some of her books right about now because I am in serious need of a catch up!! I love her writing, so I don’t know why it is taking me so long! I am glad to see that you liked this one 🙂

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  3. I actually just finished this book last night! I gotta say I had a love hate relationship with this book because I started off hating it because the characters didn’t do anything for me. It all seemed so cliche and boring, but I agree with you 100% that Gia’s character growth is worth reading this story for because it was written so well! Great review! 🙂

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  4. This was actually my first Kaisie West book, and I really liked it actually! I MUST read P.S. I Like You if this is your second-favourite though! But yeah, I really enjoyed reading it! I did find it frustrating at times, with how toxic some of Gia’s friendships seemed to be…but it was great to see her grow as a character ❤ And Hayden was totally swoonworthy haha 😀
    Wonderful review! 🙂
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books

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  5. Great review, Beth! This sounds cuuuute, and it has one of my favourite tropes of all-time: pretend relationships. I’m really glad to hear that Gia, in particular, develops as a character from being a “popular girl” into someone with more dimension. What kind of personality would you say Hayden has? That often makes or break a book for me. 😉

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    • Thanks so much Reg! It’s definitely a cute story and if you enjoy pretend relationships it’s one I think you’d enjoy as well! Gia’s development was one of the high points of this story for me. I think for Hayden he can be blinded to his friends actions, he wants to keep them as his friends even though he knows they’re drifting apart, but when he’s with Gia he’s really sweet. He helps her through a lot of the things she goes through and gives her advice and support when she needs it. He’s just a genuinely kind and sweet character. 🙂

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  6. Well, I really need to read Kasie West’ books as soon as I can, especially this one. I love the whole idea of a fake boyfriend, I feel like it will be a lot of fun to read about, and obviously cause a lot of drama, ahah. I love that Gia goes through so much development through the whole story. I need to read that one soon 🙂 Great review!

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    • Oh definitely, if you loved what you’ve read by her so far then you’ll love this one as well!
      See I wasn’t so sure about the idea of the fake boyfriend, it’s why I left this book till last of all the Kasie West one’s on my to-read list, but it ended up being so much more than I ever thought it would be. The development was just amazing, I wasn’t expecting it either which just made it all the better!
      Thanks Marie! I hope you enjoy this book when you get around to it as well! 😀

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  7. I’m so glad you’ve also read The Fill-In Boyfriend. This is the first Kasie West book I read. I actually read the whole thing in one sitting because I loved it so much, and then I bought On the Fence. I also loved Gia’s character development. It was great how she went from the shallow popular girl to more down to earth by the end. And I loved them together. So cute. And I loved Hayden’a sister. I still need to review this book along with a few others by Kasie West. I’ve read so many books by her and Colleen Hoover that I’m so behind. I’m even behind on my more recent reads. 😂

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    • Oh I thought it was amazing! I can definitely see why you loved it, and why it made you want to pick up the rest of her books as well! It’s definitely my second favourite of her books I’ve read to date.
      It’s some amazing development for her character and I wasn’t really expecting but it was just so wonderfully written you know. I thought all the characters were amazing but Hayden and his sister were the two best.
      I can’t wait to see your reviews then, and yeah I know the feeling, there are a fair few books and reviews I need to get through! 😀

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      • Yeah, this book is super cute. I was hooked on Kasie from that point on. And the character development was great. Yeah, I loved Hayden and his sister and their relationship was so adorable. That’s what made me like him even more. I have about 4 more reviews for Kasie West. I’m so behind on all of the books I’ve read. 😂

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      • I can see why, I think if I’d read this book first I would have been hooked as well! As it is I’m still hooked. 🙂
        I think theirs was my favourite family relationship in this book.
        And yeah that’s a fair few reviews still to go, what one of hers is next on your to-read list then? 🙂

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  8. Another one added to my TBR! I remember having picked this one up at the bookstore at one point and reading the synopsis and think eh. But the fact that it’s seems like one of those uplifting type books that show a lot of character development makes me want to read it. I officially need to read all of Kasie West’s books after having read your reviews haha. I’m definitely going to try to get around to a least one of them before the year is over anyway. Lovely review, Beth! 😊

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    • Oh yay, I hope you like it. Yeah the synopsis doesn’t really give the whole experience of this book, it sounds like a typical YA contemporary book you’ve read a hundred times before but it is so much more than that, and there is a lot of character development, especially for Gia which was wonderful to read.
      I felt the same way after reading P.S. I Like You, I pretty much binge read all of her YA contemporary books. I hope you enjoy whatever one of hers you pick up, and thanks Melissa! 😀

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      • I hope so too! And it really does, some synopsises just don’t do their books justice! I love books where the main character really evolves throughout the story. It’s great when the character development is there. So, I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this one! Especially with they way you described Gia, Hayden, and his sister. I already like them and I haven’t even read it! I might have to draw names to randomly pick which one I’ll read as I don’t think I’ll be able to choose lol. I hope so too and you’re welcome! 😊♥

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      • It’s a shame with this one because I feel some people may be a little put off, like I nearly was, and it’s actually a much better book than the synopsis makes you think! And yeah, same here, character development is one of the main things I look out for in books like this and it was all there.
        I think in that case you’ll like then even more when you read the book yourself, they’re all pretty amazing characters. 😀
        Ohh like a TBR jar, I’m thinking of doing one of those myself, may help me actually work my way through my TBR list! 🙂

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      • Honestly I’d probably do the same, I’m a major mood reader, but I saw one where it was full of challenges. So instead of actually books it was ‘a book with a red cover’ or ‘a fairytale retelling’ things like that which may work better for us as mood readers. 🙂

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      • That’s a great idea! It would be perfect to do with little mason jars and label one fantasy, one dystopian, one, light contemporary, one dark contemporary, and so on. I feel like it would work for me. Definitely great for us mood readers! I might have to try it out sometime. 😊

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      • I have a few jars I can use for this express purpose. I tend to collect seemingly useless things and save them until I find a use for them. Means I have so much crap in my room but eventually something will be able to be done with it! 😀
        Let me know if it works for you yeah? It’ll be interesting to see if it does! 😀

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    • Oh same here, I thought overall as well Bec was just a much better friend for Gia compared to her others, and a great sister to Hayden as well! I really loved Hayden, and his relationship with Gia too.
      Kasie West is one of my favourite YA contemporary authors now, I think all of her books are going to have to go to the top of my to-read list from now on! 😀

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