The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
*I read this over the weekend with the lovely ladies, Krysti and Sarah @ YA and Wine in a super fun buddy read! If you’re not following them already, you really should because not only are they so super sweet, they have the best reviews and coolest theme of pairing YA books and wine choices! Check them out here and their own review will be there today!*
This was my first buddy read, and now I’m hooked, I have to say! This was the perfect book to do the buddy read as well. It was totally discussion-worthy with the characters, feels, and even the cover (which we all agreed had the perfect color scheme and feel for the book). Let’s get to the summary, and start the discussion…and my review! Well, review-discussion. Discussion-review. Just review. Oh dear. This is going wrong from the very beginning. XD
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 will admit that this wasn’t my favorite Kasie West novel. I was the only one in the buddy read that had read West before, and while I did enjoy it for the most part, PS I Like You and By Your Side were far better than this one – and you know, the always forgotten Pivot Point. ❤ But it still a decently good book to start off with for West’s books, and it still has a lot of elements that West does so well – swoony romance, quick read, good writing, and fluffy feels. Even though this wasn’t her best, it thankfully didn’t scare the YA and Wine ladies and both are looking forward to future ones (Sarah, the two I mentioned above and Krysti, Lucky in Love), and it definitely didn’t scare me off On The Fence which is in the mail right now as we speak.
The biggest issue that we had was with the friend group. Gia was a whole different character when the friend group came around, and I just didn’t like her. She lost that honest, nice quality, and her friend group was just so unlikable that I forgot I was also supposed to like Gia. Jules was the classic mean girl, and while we all agreed that West tried to give her a backstory or redemption arc, it just failed and her whole story fell quite flat.
Gia, though, was a fascinating character. At first, she seemed to fit the mean girl trope. I was super excited to see how her redemption played out, but the truth is, there really wasn’t the cliche mean girl trope. Instead, Gia’s characterization portrayed a different kind of character. Gia was focused a lot on her self, her own problems, her own issues, what she wanted. She was selfish and didn’t think about others – and it was interesting to see her coming to this realization and what she did to change it. This was very interesting, and I – and Sarah and Krysti – did appreciate this characterization and change of the straight mean girl trope.
Favorite parts: definitely the romance. Fill-In Bradley was adorableeeeeeeeeee. He was literally my favorite character (and the YA and Wine ladies totally agreed he was great as well), and I loved him dearly. He had his own issues, but he had the humor and adorableness that I had come to expect from a West novel. And the romance? Totally adorable and gave such feels.
There was a side character, Fill-In Boyfriend’s sister Bec, that we loved as well. She was sassy, fun, and brought a very cool vibe to the story. Her characterization was very well done as well.
Overall, this was a very cute and fun read. The buddy read aspect was also perfect for this, because Krysti and Sarah brought up some aspects of Gia’s characterization I didn’t think about in that way. At first, this was totally a 3 stars read, but after talking with them and realized Gia wasn’t just surface level, I totally found myself giving it 4 crowns instead of 3. To sum up: adorable romance, cute feels, cool characters. Bad: Gia and the friend group together; some major plots glossed over at the end.
4 crowns and an Ariel rating!
Check it out:
Make sure to check out YA and Wine’s review on their website here!
What do you think? Have you read this book? Have you done a buddy read? Did it change your mind about the book? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
Make sure you check Past Bedtime Blog today, because Renuka and I have something epic planned! It’s Disney, it’s books, it was so much fun. Click on the link here to find our post sometime during the day!