Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

18660447The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I absolutely love Kasie West, and can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed everything she’s written. I am beyond excited for her next contemporary story PS. I Like You, and am desperately anticipating the time when I can read The Distance Between Us. I read On The Fencea few months ago and liked it, but this one blew me away. I literally could not put it down.

The Fill-In Boyfriend starts with the protagonist Gia being dumped by her boyfriend – a boyfriend that he friends never believed she had in the first place – but even worse: he broke up with her on Prom night and she’s left without a date. There’s a cute guy in the carpark where she was dumped and somehow she manages to wrangle him into being her date for the evening, but it turns out that the charade needs to last a lot longer than that!

Gia is the kind of girl who looks like she has everything, but struggles with anxiety. Her parents don’t really pay enough attention to her and she often feels like the love the feel for her brother eclipses her. Unfortunately, a girl in Gia’s friendship group is super jealous and seems to be out to get her at every opportunity, which causes a lot of friction, so in reality Gia hasn’t got it all.  Her personality reminded me of Madison’s in the Top 8 trilogy and the same sort of thing happens to Gia and her friends in this story – not a bad thing by any stretch, but it did feel slightly cliche.

Hayden is the boy she drags into her plan, and it turns out that he’s just gone through a pretty terrible break-up too, so Gia and Hayden end up with a pretty sweet deal of acting to be each other’s significant other at different events. As with all things the web of lies starts to spin out of control, and Gia can’t distinguish between Hayden’s acting and his real feelings. I was practically on the edge of my seat, literally gasping and sighing whenever they miscommunicated. It’s so obvious they’re made for each other! I love how they’re relationship developed tantalisingly slowly. The slow builds are so worth it in the end and I was completely hooked.  Seriously, this novel will not let Gia and Hayden have their happily ever after easily, both go through a lot of tense, character changing experiences that make them contemplate who they are and how they can be better.

I honestly, felt so devastated and happy for the pair at the same time, it was ridiculous, I can’t actually remember that last time I was this invested in a couple – maybe it’s June and Day from Legend? Or maybe even as far back as Amy and Roger? – seriously, I loved every second.

Bec, Hayden’s sister, was a really great addition to the story. She offered something unique and original that definitely spiced up an otherwise pretty predictable story line. I really loved how different she was from her brother, and their mum sounds so cool, I can definitely see myself wanting to read more about their family in the future. I just wish that some of the other characters could have had the same amount of development and plot, like Gia’s other friends.

This book just shows that everyone’s going through their own problems, and you shouldn’t be so quick to assume that someone’s happy just because they say “I’m fine”. It’s got some amazing messages and a beautiful romance, so what more could you ask for?

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