THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND is the newest YA romance from the pen of the wonderful and very talented Kasie West.
Kasie West is well-known name in the YA genre. At first, I wasn't sure about her stories. The blurs on the back of each book do not give the justice to her stories, but once I fell under the spell of her story-telling skills I became an addict. I craved more. I adored THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US and since then purchased all her novels. The newest one, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, has only been released this year. I had have it on pre-order for months and months. And then, on May 5th, it finally found its place in my mail box... This book has been also picked by me and Sara from Carpe Librum Girl for our buddy read this month (yes, I am behind my reading schedule this month, but I am slowly catching up to it ;)). *
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 favour, 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 threading to destroy her friendships and her newfound relationship.
Do you see what I mean when I say that the blur doesn't give the justice to the real story?!?! It makes it look too cheesy.. Like a baked camembert...
Anyways, let's talk about the package - the book edition - first. Paperback. 343 pages divided into 39 wonderfully crafted chapters. The front cover captures the photograph of two people, a couple - a girl and a boy, talking near a bridge. You cannot see their faces only the bodies and legs. It's a similar to the cover on The Distance Between Us Cover. So it seems that the design team decided to stick to the same familiar design. I appreciate and thank them for that. It ties the individual novels together. The photograph has a soft pastel, summery design. I like it a lot.
The writing.... Oh how much I love Kasie West's story-telling. It's modern. Cute. Funny. Relate able. Emotional. Exciting. Smart. It's like a comfy blanket. It wraps around you and keeps you safe and happy. It realises so many endorphins into blood streams and has the same effect as chocolate. It makes you happy, even giddy and highly addicted. You just won't be able to put this book down!
Thanks to this book and the story itself, I have broken my own personal reading record. I have read this book in just over 7 hours. Last time, I have been charmed by a book and weren't able to put it down until it was finished, was when I was reading THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger. This story is just like a good romantic comedy. It charms you with a promise of romance, back-stabbing, challenges, getting to know yourself, trials in friendships, love at first sight... Yes, it might be a bit predictable. But it's different if the predictability and the romance is wrapped in such an attractive package.
I truly enjoyed getting lost in this story. From the first page, I was hooked and couldn't let go. And as it went on, it got better and better. It was like meeting a new friend after a long time. You invited it with open arms and I wasn't able to let it go. Everything was perfect. The characters. The plot. The interactions. The humour. Every step of the way, Kasie West managed to pull all the stops and made you feel all the range of emotions - happiness, sadness, love... And when I finished this book, I couldn't do anything else, just a happy giddy dance around my room.
All the characters in this book are loveable, even when you try to hate them.
- Gia. The popular girl at school. Class president. She has nearly the perfect life. A great group of friends. A boyfriend in college. But then the boyfriends dumps her just before the prom. At a parking lot. She is so desperate for people to like her that she makes up a lie. She randomly approaches a stranger and asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend. Little she knows, that this guy will change her life. She becomes more aware of how shallow and selfish she has become. And she starts to change her look at life and what's important. I love that Kasie West made this character, a main character, very flawed. As you read on, you realise how shallow she is at times, but at the same time you know that she isn't that bad at all.
- Hayden. Aka Fill-In Bradley. Aka the boy who helps out a girl in a complicated situation. He is a geek. (I like him already). He loves theatre and is doing a drama in high school. He is kind, funny and loves his family. He is always prepared to give you a second chance. I love his adorable relationship with Gia.
- Bec. Hayden's sister. She is angry teenager who doesn't have a problem to express any feelings towards you. I love her interactions with Gia. They compliment each other. She isn't shallow. She values friendships and she gives you a chance even if you are mean.
- Jules. She reminds me Georgina from Mean Girls. She plays the mind games with her own personal gain in mind but at the same time she is just a lost girl craving love and friendship. She wants somebody to be her true friend.
All the characters in this book are flawed. No one is perfect. And I adore that about this story. I love the interaction, the friendships, the easy dialogues. It's so entertaining to witness it.
I love how much story makes you realise that not everything is perfect at the first look. We all are different. We deal with things different way. We all have flaws. And I love how this story is playing on these flaws and how we cope with different situations. Those friendships you valued for so long, aren't real friendships. The parents who doesn't like conflicts and rather brush it under the carpet. And the boys.. It's always about the boy... He isn't perfect, he makes mistakes - big big mistakes, but you cannot help but forgive him.
So, all in all, I can happily say that this book is one great YA romance for this summer. If you are looking for something easy to read, entertaining, but deep at the same time, you should add it to your library. You should reach for it and read it. It will be a treat for you.
So thank you Ms West for reminding why I fell in love with your writing in the first place.
* check out Sara's review on her blog : carpelibrumgirl.blogspot.co.uk