Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

My rating: 5 of 5 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.

Beware spoilers ahead!

This book was recommended to me by Alyssa ! Click on her name to read her review.

I had first added this book a few months back. I was in the mood for chick lits at the time and this sounded like a good addition to my list. Then all the unappealing reviews started coming up. I heard stuff about how selfish and awful Gia was. Some people didn’t even finish it. After hearing all of this I took it off my list.

I came across Alyssa’s review . It was the first good review that I had read at the time. And I decided that if Gia’s character improved throughout the book, then it was worth a shot. I’m very happy to say that I loved it!

The book begins with Gia trying to stop her boyfriend Bradley from breaking up with her. She does so by wrapping her arms around his waist. He explains her that she only cares about herself and what her friends think about him. He eventually leaves her in the parking lot.

Gia is pretty upset about this. She had been promising her friends that they would see her boyfriend. One girl in particular claimed that Gia didn’t have a boyfriend and must be lying. Since then the rest of her friends have been having a hard time believing her. Bradley attends a University and whenever he came to visit her, he wanted to spend time with her only.

Gia has no idea what to do. If she goes in there on her own then that would make Jules the winner and the rest of her friends (Claire and Laney) would pity her. Then she sees a guy in the parking lot reading a book. She approaches him. She starts asking whether he lives close by, whether he can tame his hair, and whatnot. As he is about to roll up his window she explains that she needs a fake boyfriend for the night. If he agrees then whenever he needs a fake girlfriend she’ll be there.

For some reason he agrees and returns a few minutes later dressed in a suit. Before they enter she gives him a backstory about Bradley. When they enter Jules is not happy to see that Bradley actually exists and Claire and Laney are pretty happy. During prom Jules starts asking all these annoying questions about his and Gia’s relationship.

At some point fake Bradley’s sister gets involved. His sister thinks that she is just using him and that this is stupid. Surprisingly Gia agrees with his sister. She thanks fake Bradley and says that she is going to tell her friends the truth. He tries to argue with her saying that Jules will never let this go and what if her friends ditch her. As she is about to come clean to her friends fake Bradley stages a break up. Leaving her friends to assume that he is cheating on her with some girl in their school. He and his sister then leave. Gia explains her friends that she is not in the mood for a after-party and that they should go without her. Once she leaves she posts on Twitter that she is officially single.

After prom Gia can’t get her fake boyfriend out of her head. She doesn’t understand why he even agreed to help her, and why wasn’t he at home reading his book. Ever since that night nothing in her life has been normal. She decides that in order for her life to go back to normal she needs to talk to him.

The next at school Jules starts asking Gia whether she can give her Bradley’s social accounts so that her friends can spam him with angry messages. Gia tells her that she doesn’t want anyone of them to do that because she and Bradley are over. They argue a bit more until Gia points out that Jules wants to be the Queen Bee amongst them. Jules pretends that she has no idea what Gia is talking about and they all leave for class.

Gia discovers that her fake boyfriends sister is in her government class. She is surprised because at prom she dressed differently. When Gia asks if she can have Bec’s brothers phone number so that she can text him a ‘Thank You’ Bec says no.

Gia tries asking Bec for her brothers number and trying to find ways to talk to him. Then one day Bec says that Gia owes her brother back. She explains that her brother will be attending his exes graduation. She wants Gia to pretend to be his girl friend. Gia agrees seeing as she owes him and deciding to ask him about why he agreed to be her fake boyfriend.

I really love how complex contemporaries are. Despite what the synopsis makes the book sound like this is not some silly mindless chick lit. This book had so many important themes in it and relatable characters. I can honestly say that there wasn’t anything that I disliked in this book. Hence the 5 star.

I loved the writing about as much as I loved the story! Gia’s voice was extremely well done and it was like she was popping out of the pages. In the beginning Gia was a selfish brat. Not at all likable. Throughout the book she grows and becomes a better person. She starts to reflect on her life and whether or not she has made good choices. Does she just want to be known as the popular girl? Or does she want to be known for doing something.

Gia’s comes from a family in which they like to maintain a perfect image and don’t really express their feelings. Gia has a very hard understanding that it is okay to mess up and to openly express feelings. She also has a hard time understanding who she is. She doesn’t know herself and that affects her relationships with Claire, Laney, and Jules. Fortunately Bec and Hayden are there to help her.

Gia and her brother are not very close. In fact her brother does something to her that was not okay. She sometimes feels like he doesn’t care about her and really wants to two of them to be close. They do make up and try to be better siblings. On the other hand Bec and Hayden are very close siblings. It was really sweet to read about them!

I really liked how Bec’s character was not afraid to speak her mind and defend her friends and family. It was nice reading about their friendship and she supported Gia. To help her vent out her anger they would scream together and throw baseballs at this car.

Hayden and Gia’s relationship was also very sweet. At first Gia was afraid that Hayden didn’t share the same feelings and that it was all an acting game. I really liked how they understood each other, found comfort in each other, and helped each other out.

The author also brought up how social media affects relationships and how some people feel they need to get other peoples approval through likes and comments. It was a really good idea to bring up as a lot of people in this world could be struggling with that.

Gia starts drifting away from her friends to hang out with Hayden and Bec. In a sense they out grew each other. I liked how the author decided to bring that up because you don’t remain friends with the same people forever. I also found that there wasn’t a right or wrong in the relationships. Just decisions which do not define a person.

Jules reminded me off Genevieve from To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. She was rude and just as awful as Gen! I really could not understand her issue with Gia. I get that she wanted Claire all to herself but she didn’t have to right to say that Claire didn’t deserve Gia. That should’ve been Claire’s right. It was really odd how she went on this whole mission to expose Gia’s lies. Yes what Gia did was wrong. But Jules wasn’t much better.

I felt that how Jules went about isolating Gia from her friends was wrong. She spread lies and made them believe in her. Just like Gen, Jules is revealed not to have any easy life. Through Claire’s insisting and because Gia wants to be a better person, Gia does try to connect with Jules. Similar to how Lara Jean did. That’s not to say that Jules is a wholly a bad person but just awful to Gia. I liked how the author decided to show readers that despite how your friends have other friends that does not mean that you are going to get along with all of them.

Overall this was a wonderful book! I cannot wait to read this authors other contemporaries! I would recommend it to fans of the author, people who are looking for a fast but complex read, and contemporary fans.

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