Do you all ever have the feeling that you’ve read too much? I finished reading the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness three days ago and after more than 1800 pages in the same story world I felt a bit wrung dry. So, I decided to pick up a book that wasn’t part of a series, that would probably be light-hearted and didn’t have too many pages. When I was standing in front of my bookcases my eye automatically wandered to my NA and contemporary YA section. And there it was: the book that would shake me awake. I chose The fill-in boyfriend by Kasie West and read it in one night because I couldn’t put it down! What’s this book about?
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 how West does it, but in every book I’ve read of her I loved the characters. Gia is one of the most popular girls at her school, but lately she’s been feeling like there’s something missing. Besides, her friendship with Jules has taken a weird turn, it’s as if Jules is jealous about everything and goes out of her way to make Gia look bad. Worst of all is that her other friends are starting to believe Jules. So, when Gia’s new boyfriend Bradley dumps her just before prom she makes a desperate last-minute decision and asks a complete stranger to play her boyfriend.
Hayden is recovering from the heartbreak his ex-girlfriend and former best friend caused him by cheating together, so, when he sees Bradley breaking up with Gia and the desperation Gia feels he decides to help her out by playing Bradley. When Gia and Hayden are dancing they hit it off but the deal was to break up at the end of the evening and that is exactly what Hayden does. However, Gia can’t put her fill-in boyfriend out of her mind. She tries to get his phone number to thank him, but Hayden’s sister Bec does her best to keep Gia away from her brother because she feels Gia doesn’t deserve him. When Hayden’s ex invites him to her graduation party Bec takes action and forces Gia to go with Hayden to play his new girlfriend in exchange for his phone number. Gia feels like she owes Hayden for helping her out and decides to help out Hayden this time. This is the beginning of a complicated relationship based on a whole web of lies. Biggest complication however is the fact that Hayden and Gia really start to fall for each other but can’t be together because of all the lies they’ve told.
As with all lies, the truth eventually comes out (thanks to Jules). In one fell swoop Gia loses all of her friends, and on top of that her brother has used her for a film he created and makes her the laughing stock of his college. Gia feels like she’s an idiot with no character or redeeming qualities. Hayden and Bec are her only supporters, but when one of Hayden’s friends starts spreading lies about Gia Hayden doesn’t know who to believe and walks away from her. However, Bec has decided that she believes Gia and does her best to reunite Hayden and Gia because she knows they love each other despite the weird way they came together. Meanwhile Gia has to figure out who she is and what she wants in life.
I loved how the romance between Gia and Hayden developed and how Gia discovered herself. This love story and coming-of-age tale was really sweet, realistic and fun to read. This is one of those books you’ll want to read if you’re in the mood for some light reading, sweet romance and easy entertainment!