Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

May 31, 2015 Book, Reviews 7 ★★

Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie WestThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Friendship, Love & Romance, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th 2015
Source: Borrowed from Library
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two-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.

I’m really not sure how to make this review without sounding like a complete bitch and being disrespectful. Let’s summarize it in nice words instead: I did not like this book at all. I was met with high deception and being let down with this anticipated YA book by Kasie West. I loved On The Fence and Pivot Point, but while reading this one I kept asking myself if this was the same author.

I made a series of appointments instantly after reading the book, so I’ll try to bring them forward in the most rational way without being unprofessional.

Firstly and foremost, I detested to no end the main character called Gia Montgomery until the remaining 15% of the book because she finally realized some of her mistakes and wasn’t as snobby and shallow as when she started. Because of her and her friends circle, this book felt like I was reading the story of middle school girls who were in seventh grade, not seniors about to start college in the fall. Just thinking about them has me wanting to smack my head against my keyboard in frustration. I’m not sure if everyone has gone through this, but when you were in Elementary/Primary school did you have fights about who was who’s friend? If you were a good enough friend, how you fought about having a certain friend or whatever? If you talked to this person or that other one that had super ulterior motives? If you did and hated every moment of it, this book is not for you because most of it is like that.

Gia’s college boyfriend, Bradley, dumped her in the parking lot before her prom. Gia proceeds to make this random guy in a car in said parking lot become her fill-in boyfriend just so that one of her friends doesn’t say it was all a lie from the beginning and thus making Gia lose her other two best friends. It’s all a big web of lies for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. In the end they, obviously, discover Gia was lying. She could have saved the whole drama and stress if she was honest from the start. Instead she goes at it again and again and again. And while I understand that we all lie at some point or another to save our skin, Gia was presented in this situation so childishly it was unbearable. She and the other friend who’s name I can’t remember are passive-aggressive fighting for dominance for ultimate leader of the friend group. They both lie, stab each other in the back, dig around private things, for what? In the end, rather than learning how lying was bad, how we need to forgive people, how to grow up (yes please), the whole last scenes were about how Gia was better off without them or some other blah that left me like “Really? All that for nothing?”

The other concern I had with this book were the secondary characters. They were cardboard cutouts that were there for the sale of having something interesting happen. The only characters I liked here were Hayden aka Fill-In Boyfriend and his sister Bec that had an overall amazing personality and style. Hayden was nerdy/geek, romantic, sweet, concerned about Gia and his family, specially his sister, funny, and super swoony. Bec made me laugh with her cynical tactics and rare good moments with Gia. They were awesome, and her mom even more with her weird art things that I can relate to. The other characters were… bleh. Just there for the sake of being there and adding a problem to Gia and Hayden, or annoying the crap outta me like Gia’s friends and frenemy (who’s name is Jules, I just remembered). HOWEVER, the worst were… Gia’s parents. Unlike Pivot Point and On The Fence, where the parents play important roles to the story and the character’s development through the story, Gia’s parents were robots going through the motions. I was told that they strive for the perfect image where nothing was wrong in their family. But I didn’t see farther from there. There was no tell-tale sign that it was all a mask, no sign of struggle, a slip here, nothing until the end where Gia’s mom has a emotional moment that lasted all of less than half a page in the most unbelievable representation of tearing up and clinging to your daughter for support. I even laughed at that.

I’m really sorry if you’re reading this because this is barely a review and more a rant. I read this book with high expectations that really had me worked up, even now after a week and something of having read it. If you liked it, congrats. I’m really happy for you (no sarcasm there) but this book didn’t work out for me. Will I read other Kasie West books? At the moment I’m not sure. I might read her old ones I’ve had on my list for a while, but new ones not so sure as of now. I’m healing from this book at the moment.

Although I didn’t enjoy it much, the writing style and pace was good in the book so I have to give that to Kasie. I know writing a book isn’t an easy task and I admire her work. If you want to read it, do so at your own risk. If you are like me and don’t like the things mentioned above, read it with caution. And if not, I sincerely hope you like it tons. Don’t be discouraged to read other Kasie West books. Other than this one, in my case, Pivot Point and On The Fence were both great with their unique heroines and romantic interests that’ll leave you breathless.

Rating: 2 stars

 

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I'm Jennifer, addicted reader, lover of books, and aspiring author. I babble too much when I write and like to procrastinate work with other work 🙂
  • I’m so sorry you didn’t like this!! I’ve never read anything by Kasie West, though I really want to, but I can say for sure I won’t start with this one :/ It seems a bit petty and childish :/

  • shootingstarsmag

    I’ve never read anything by West, but I think if I do, I’ll go for her older titles. It sounds like the MC and her friends are just really shallow and difficult to relate too/enjoy.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • Yiiiiikes. I have a feeling I will not enjoy reading Gia’s character either. I’ve been putting this off for weeks now, and I think i’m finally realizing why.

  • I’ve seen a lot of bad reviews for this book. 🙁 Which is unfortunate because a lot are actually looking forward to this latest Kasie West release.

  • Such a shame, I’ve read some really great reviews about this one and have really enjoyed Kasie West’s other books. But Gia’s friends sound vapid and annoying and I could totally see how the bitchiness would grate on you after a while. The parent relationships as well sound like a let down here. Lovely review Jennifer, sorry you didn’t enjoy it more!

  • Benish

    I agree about the parents, they were useless in this book. Although, I really liked this book though. I actually DNF her On The Fence book, so we’re opposites here xD The main character was annoying at first, but I do think teenagers can make immature mistakes and learn from them eventually. I do see your points though, great review 🙂 <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

  • A web of lies encouraging drama and petty fights plus poor secondary characters? Yikes, I’m not sure about this one at all now. I also liked her other novels so it is sad that this one is just so far off the mark.