“The Fill-In Boyfriend” by Kasie West
5 out of 5 stars.
Smart, pretty, and popular, Gia Montgomery has always had a seemingly perfect life, but lately acting like everything is perfect has been wearing her down, especially with Jules trying to trip up her every step. Jules has been tirelessly attempting to turn Gia’s friends against her ever since she joined the group, and prom was Gia’s last chance to prove to her friends that Jules has been manipulating them into thinking she’s a liar. But Gia’s final hope of disproving Jules’ lies went out the window when her boyfriend, Bradley, dumped her in the parking lot of her high school, just minutes before senior prom. Gia doesn’t know if her friends will believe her when she tells them that Bradley dumped her in the parking lot, or if they’ll choose to believe Jules’ lies and think that she had been pretending to have a boyfriend all this time. But then Gia meets a boy in her school’s parking lot and she comes up with a plan: ask him to be her fill-in date for the night.
What was supposed to be a just one white lie for Gia and her fill-in date turns into another when she poses as his girlfriend at his ex’s party. Her fill-in boyfriend is sweet and charming, and as Gia spends more time with him and his sister, she begins to realize that being perfect isn’t what life is really about. For a while it feels nice to get to know people who see her and can be real with her in return, but then Gia’s growing web of lies comes back to haunt her. Gia doesn’t know how to tell the truth to her friends without losing them completely, and in the process she is starting to lose the boy that she has begun to care for as more than a friend. After hiding the truth for so long and pretending to be something she’s not, Gia realizes that perfection isn’t possible, and she wants to discover what real can mean in her relationships. That is, if she has anyone left after the truth is done with her.
This book was a serious cuteness overload in the best kind of way! I read it over the course of an afternoon, and “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was exactly what I needed. Normally I’m not a huge contemporary fan, but Kasie West always hits the spot for me and “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was no exception to the rule. I even ended up loving this book enough that I went and bought it the following week on a jaunt to Barnes and Noble!
I really loved how Kasie West wrote Gia Montgomery in “The Fill-In Boyfriend.” Normally female characters like Gia annoy me in stories because of how unaware they are of other people’s’ feelings and only care about how they are perceived by others. The way Kasie wrote Gia, however, made me feel bad for her because of how insecure she was in her friendships and familial relationships. Gia wasn’t viscous or spiteful, but she did have moments where she was really self-absorbed and couldn’t see beyond her own issues, and yet I didn’t mind her character at all. I wanted to see Gia grow as a person and become more secure in herself so she didn’t feel the need to lie and pretend like she was perfect to be accepted. Kasie West did such a fantastic job of writing Gia so that she was an enjoyable female character despite her flaws, and I loved seeing her grow as an individual. I especially liked the dynamic that Kasie created between Gia and her new friends.
Good Lord, I adored the love interest Kasie wrote for Gia!
I won’t tell you his name because that’s part of the story, but I’ll just say that I LOVED this boy. Nameless Boy was such a charming, sweet, and funny friend turned love interest that I couldn’t help but fall for him. Nameless Boy had a really good heart, and even when he did a couple of stupid things, I still loved him because he was a really great person. He and Gia were fabulously funny together in this book, and I also really liked how Nameless Boy made Gia start to think outside of herself and helped her to understand that she didn’t pretend to be perfect with people who were true friends. I loved that Kasie wrote a male character like Nameless Boy, and I absolutely adored his and Gia’s relationship in “The Fill-In Boyfriend.”
The romance is this book was so sweet and adorable. Nameless Boy and Gia were great together, and I loved that they started out as being kind of friends whose relationship evolve slowly into something more. Everything about this book and Gia’s and Nameless Boy’s relationship had me smiling from ear to eat because of how stinkin’ cute it all was!
But “The Fill-In Boyfriend” wasn’t all fun and games despite its smile-inducing charm, and it was refreshing to read a book that was funny and sweet while still having a purpose. Social media can be brutal in this day and age and it can also cause a lot of us to become really self-absorbed, superficial, and/or self-conscious. I just loved how Kasie West dealt with this particular topic, and I thought that she really got her point across without having to make an overly dramatic story. Kasie kept “The Fill-In Boyfriend” sweet and fun while dealing with heavier issues, and I honestly loved everything about this book.
Another thing that I liked about “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was that Nameless Boy and Gia seemed like more mature high schoolers compared to a lot of contemporary books that I’ve read as of late. He and Gia felt like they were seniors rather than petulant children. Sure, they were still really young and had a some drama go on between them, but nothing compared to a lot of the other books I’ve read in the chick lit/contemporary genres. Even when there was drama, though, I felt like it was well-founded in the fact that considering social media stuff and how viscous people can be, that the situations Kasie created seemed more realistic. Again, I want to commend Kasie West for masterfully writing a mature, yet clean, high school story that was as fun as it was heartwarming. I loved seeing Gia grow as a person, and it was really sweet seeing her relationship with Nameless Boy evolve. I also loved that she found another female friend that she grew to trust with her true self, not with the perfected facade meant to hide her flaws.
I could go on and on with how much I love this contemporary book, but I’ll end this review by telling you to go out and either buy, borrow, or get it from the library. “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was squeaky clean fun that had a lot of heart to it. I love this book so much, and I also grew to love all of Kasie’s characters and their perfect imperfections.