Book Review: The Fill-in Boyfriend

18660447Book Review # 16: The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West
Copy: Trade paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Date Published: May 5, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating:  Image and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPic

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 don’t know what possessed me to read this book. It probably had something to do with the rising hype on Katie West’s novels. Was it any good? Let’s see.

Meet Gia. She’s the girl who has it all. She’s pretty. She gets good grades. She has lenient parents, awesome friends, and a college boyfriend. She’s the student council president, and she’s popular! What more could she want?

A date, definitely. She couldn’t believe Bradley dumped her right before prom! And just when one of her friends accused her of his possible inexistence. What Gia needed now was a temporary boyfriend, a fill-in guy just for a day. She looks around the parking lot and sees a prospect. He will have to do.

So the verdict: Was it mind-blowing? grin-inducing? filled with unforgettable romance and fluff?

It was not. I am apologizing in advance if you are an avid fan or if you liked this book very much because you might not like what I’m about to say. I kind of transitioned from annoyed to irritated, to calm and dissatisfied by the end of the book that to find something good to say would be too much of a challenge. Nevertheless, I will try.

So to cut to the chase, my two cents on this book:

What I did not like

I could not get an exact picture of Gia’s character: It’s severely lacking in consistency. Is she supposed to be the mean girl or the calm and collected one? The achiever or the ditzy one? The combination of traits that the author utilized are confusing and makes it difficult to grasp the entirety of Gia’s character. This made me appreciate the character development less (sadly).

There’s not much of a back story: What was clearly enumerated remained unexplored. Sure, fill-in Bradley had his own unfortunate circumstances and Gia had her fair share of heart aches as well, but these were not talked about in detail at all. There were troublesome relationships between family members and friends but these slowly became bland and uninteresting as the focus kept coming back to Gia’s lies and the probability that she would end up with Fill-in Bradley. The result? It made the characters difficult to relate to. It also kept all my emotions at bay whereas they should have been fluctuating or at least heightened during certain encounters.

The issues were realistic enough but there’s just too much going on: Include the additional conflicts here and there plus the lack of exploration and what do you have? Half-baked resolutions unfortunately worth sighing over.

There should be a solid and more confident turnover to accompany an otherwise shallow premise: Well, this is what I prefer as a reader. Obviously, that’s not the case for everybody. It’s just that Gia transitioned from being certain about herself to questioning her worth, which was good, except I was hoping she’d have a more solid comeback or realization of some sort.

The other characters apparently served as wallpaper designs – dull and uninspiring.

What’s to like about this book: 

If you enjoy simple, straightforward, and predictable romance between two leads, with the occasional wit when it comes to conversations, then it would do you good to pick up this book. However, if you enjoy young adult novels but are particularly sensitive about back stories and such, I suggest you read a different novel.

Well, admittedly, there was some decent character development: This was to be expected of course. If it did not happen along the way, this book would have long been in my DNF pile. So yeah, do not fear. The beginning might irk you but you won’t book a room in irritation avenue, in this aspect at least.

On a lighter note, most YA lovers may find this to be a very quick read. The format is quite nice and easy in the eyes (spacey and all).

Well, I’m disappointed to say this but this is not the first book I’d recommend to anyone, even those who enjoy subtle romance or shallow plots. I got a bit generous with three stars but I guess I’m just not cut out for stories of this kind.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone but I’m definitely not the type to generalize so if you have a lot of time on your hands, go ahead and read this book. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, if you’ve read Katie West’s other novels, I’d appreciate one or two more recommendations. I’d still like to give her other books a chance.

Some shallow stuff I couldn’t bear to read again: 

“Hi. I’m sorry. I don’t know your name.”
He shrugged. “I’ve only been in four of your classes over the last three years. Why would you?”
My cheeks reddened. Had he really? I looked at him again, closer. He honestly didn’t look at all familiar to me, except from prom the other night.

Curiosity burned in my chest. Maybe he thought I was cute. I did look great in that dress.

“I never get mad when people hear my name wrong because I think to myself, Maybe they have hearing issues, excess earwax or something.”

I liked this quote:

How is selfworth measured today? By the amount of likes a post gets, by how many friends we collect, by how many retweets we accumulate? Do we even know what we really think until we post our thoughts online and let others tell us if they are worthy?

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Fill-in Boyfriend

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