Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Author: Kasie West
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary
Release Date: May 5, 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 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.
When I initially read the synopsis for this book, I was super excited. I enjoy the “fake dating turns into real love” trope a bit more than is healthy, so I was completely expecting to love The Fill-In Boyfriend. Add on top of it the fact that I was only hearing amazing things about the book from others, and you’ve got expectations that are clearly too high. I’m now wondering if I read the same book as those people, because the disappointment is strong with this one.
The one positive thing I will say about this book, is that there is an addictive quality to the writing. Even though I hit a point where I was no longer enjoying the story, there was something that made me keep flipping the pages. Okay, that’s about all I’ve got for positivity in this review. Buckle up, kids. We’re about to get into why this book annoyed the hell out of me.
TOO MANY UNLIKEABLE CHARACTERS
Now, I have no problem with unlikeable characters in books. In fact, they are often needed. But there were just too many here. So many that it ended up hindering my overall enjoyment of the book.
- Jules: The bitchiest girl in Gia’s group of friends. If you’d like a barometer for her unlikeablity, I believe I updated my Goodreads with a status about how much I wanted to dropkick her whilst reading.
- Drew: Gia’s brother who completely humiliated her and didn’t care that he did so. That was the one moment I felt any kind of sympathy towards her.
- Gia’s parents: Didn’t care about what Gia’s brother did to her and even took his side.
- Gia, herself: Incredibly shallow and a generally insufferable human being, which explains why her group of friends are more of the same. In a way, they all deserved each other.
The saving graces of the book were Hayden (The Fill-In Boyfriend), Bec (Hayden’s sister), and their Mom. If these characters didn’t exist, I would have rated this book even lower. They were such nice characters that I felt bad for them for having to be inflicted with Gia.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT? I DON’T BELIEVE IT.
Towards the end of the book, we are pushed to believe that Gia is a changed person, but it just didn’t seem genuine to me. Yeah, she may have changed a couple things about herself, but overall she still seems like the same shallow person from the beginning of the book.
I’d been looking for a great summer contemporary so I was ready to love this, but unfortunately the book had too many flaws to overlook. Because it was ultimately the characters that led to the downfall of this book for me, I won’t write off West’s other works. I will try to check out something else she has written in due time, but this one is a “No” for me.