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The Fill-In Boyfriend

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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.

352 pages, Paperback

First published May 5, 2015

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About the author

Kasie West

25 books17.2k followers
I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, BY YOUR SIDE, LUCKY IN LOVE, LOVE LIFE and the LIST, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, FAME FATE and the FIRST KISS, MAYBE THIS TIME, and MOMENT OF TRUTH. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,974 reviews
May 29, 2015
So there's this popular girl. Her name is, like, Gia. She's 17 but has this totally hot junior boyfriend at UCLA whom nobody has seen (statutory rape is so, like, 2000s, which, incidentally, is practically the year in which Gia was born). She got Hot Bradley to take her to prom, only, like, at the last minute (literally IN THE PARKING LOT, Y'ALL) he dumps her.

Why? Because she's a shallow bitch and only cared that Hot Bradley was, like, totally hot, and her friends are gonna be, like, SO IMPRESSED. Especially that bitch, Jules, who's like, trying to totally steal away ALL HER FRIENDS. Because Gia is the Alpha of their group and we can't have that. No, really. She's the Alpha, and that status is endangered.
Nice friends you got there.”
“They’re mostly nice. Jules is just constantly trying to oust me.”
“I have no idea. I think she thinks I’m the alpha of our pack and that there is only room for one without resorting to cannibalism.”
But she's not such a bad queen bee, really, Gia and her friends only:

1. Completely disregard anyone beneath her social spectrum
“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.
2. Slightly teases her close friends who aren't up to her standards. She never bullies. That's, like, so low-class.
“Who needs money and good grades when you have community college?” Claire said.
“Exactly what I’ve been saying for the last four years,” Laney said. I could hear the embarrassment in her voice and I felt bad that school had been a struggle for her.
Such condescension! Such benevolence! Such pity! She is the equivalent of Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice!

So, after suffering from THE MOST HORRIBLE FATE POSSIBLE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD (on prom night), Gia is shit out of luck. But luckily for her, there's a totally hot guy just sitting in his car, ripe for the plucking. And pluck she does. She sweet-talks Fake Bradley into being, well, Fake Bradley, and taking her to prom instead.

He takes her to prom. Her friends are understandably impressed, because really, which high school girl is going to think about statutory rape when the guy is, like, SO HOT. Except the girl who's trying to steal her friends, cause she's all, like, smirking and scowling that her plans to TAKE ALL THE FRIENDS have gone to pieces.

For now. *sinister smile*
I wrapped my arms around Claire and glanced at Jules. Surprisingly, she wasn’t looking at me. Her stare was focused on the door that fill-in Bradley had just exited through. There was that familiar calculating look on her face, and I wondered what was going through her mind. I was sure of one thing—it wasn’t good.
So prom night goes swimmingly, and she even gets to conveniently break up with Fake Bradley at the end of it, which is great, except now, for some reason, Gia is really, really fascinated by Fake Bradley. If only she could find out Fake Bradley's real name. And then Real Bradley resurfaces, and maybe he wants to make up again?

Oh, gosh, what's a girl to do? Clearly, Gia has some #realproblems. And her archnemesis Jules is trying to expose everything via Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram.
She pulled out her phone. “Oh, and while I’m online, I wanted to leave mean messages on Bradley’s Facebook page for what he did to you. What’s his last name again?”
Here it was—her play. I was surprised she had waited this long. “He isn’t on Facebook. Who goes on Facebook anymore anyway?” He actually was on Facebook, but there was no way I was telling her that.
“So Instagram? Twitter? You showed me them before but I don’t remember his handle,” she pushed.
Obviously she forgot Tinder, and maybe Grindr. Possibly Pinterest and Yo, too. Gotta cover all the bases, y'know.

But let's not get facetious. Gia's got some serious problems.

I mean, she has to:

1. Find Fake Bradley

2. Get Fake Bradley's sister (who goes to the same school with her, whom she didn't know went to the same school, much less class with her, see note above about Gia not giving a shit about anyone outside of her hallowed social circle) to give her Fake Brad's real name

3. Decide what to do about Real Bradley
“How is Bradley anyway?” He gave me a sideways glance.
“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him since that night.” I’d been telling too many lies lately, so I felt the need to add, “He texted me. I tried to call him back and he didn’t answer. Then he called me back but I missed it. Then I left a message for him. I haven’t decided if I’m going to call him again.”
4. Try to prevent Jules from knocking her off the #1 queen bee (sorry, Alpha) in her circle of friends

5. Decide what to do what Real Bradley and Fake Bradley meet each other

Her family only looks perfect. Her dad is understanding, caring. Her mother is beautiful, intelligent. Her brother is a little distant. She's got some serious problems.
“What about you? Are you close with your family?”
“Yes,” I said right away, but then I paused, Drew’s words about how my parents hadn’t really been there for me after I broke up with Bradley coming into my mind. I shook my head to get rid of the thought and then nodded. “Yes.”

There is so much suffering. So much hardship. I can think of a thousand examples from the book in which her family is distant, cruel, uncaring. Oh, wait, I can't. They're pretty much white-bread perfect.

Clearly, you can see this book contains as much depth as is contained within Kim Kardashian's ample cleavage.

Actually, now that I think about it, that's pretty deep, yo.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
July 16, 2015
“You only care about your friends seeing me.”
“That’s not true.” Okay, so it was kinda true. But only because of Jules. She’d infiltrated our group a year ago and ever so slowly tried to turn my best friends against me.

Get your tissues ready, this is the saddest story you've heard all year.

Meet Gia Montgomery - a beautiful, popular, wealthy 17-year-old girl with loving parents and early acceptance to UCLA. But Gia, you know, she's got it bad. I mean, her hot college boyfriend not only broke up with her on prom night but, by doing so, he also sabotaged her plan to get even with her evil arch nemesis - Jules - and prove she DID actually have a boyfriend.

Oh lord - and on top of that? She doesn't win Prom Queen.

But wait, Gia is so super smart that she concocts a plan right there in the parking lot! Her boyfriend might have broken up with her (because she's a shallow, self-centred bitch), but looky over there - there's another male specimen just waiting around in his car; obviously waiting to be plucked up by her, ordered into a tux and dragged along into prom to pretend to be the boyfriend who broke up with her.

This guy - Fake Bradley - because of some great mystery of the universe, agrees to go with this girl he's only just met and pretend to be her college boyfriend. Then break up with her AFTER proving he exists. Fake Bradley does everything she asks, plays along, breaks up with her and goes home. And Gia - she's happy right?


Because now, suddenly, Gia can't stop thinking about Fake Bradley. And FB's little sister won't give Gia his number because - gasp! - she thinks Gia will just use him. For some reason, she's got this impression that Gia is a bitch who cares for no one but herself and her little group of popular bitches:
“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.

And on top of it all, Gia has to deal with her parents! Her kind, loving, considerate parents who - *sob* - didn't support her relationship with an older man.

Poor Gia. Poor me for suffering through this - one of the dumbest books I've ever read. I expected better from this author.

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500 reviews2,413 followers
May 21, 2015
The more I think about this book, the less I seem to like it. I'm completely bummed about that since The Fill-in Boyfriend was one of my most anticipated releases of 2015. You can't see me, but I'm pouting right now.

The first issue I had with the book came in just within the first couple of pages. I know that we're thrust into the book knowing that Fake Bradley will agree to the terms of being Gia's fake boyfriend, but the way it was executed in the actual book made no sense. It was completely random and unconvincing.

And then, ta-da! The heroine is suddenly obsessed with seeing this boy again. Of course she is. She thinks about him 24/7, even going as far as to stalk his little sister. She even admits that what she's doing is stalking, and she's okay with it.

Stalking aside, Gia's character was just generally petty and shallow. I could not connect to her at all. I know the feeling of a certain friend wanting to get you out of the picture. Really, I do. But please, handle your problems in a mature manner. I'm fifteen, and I talk things out with my friends if I feel like they're doing something wrong. I don't keep it a secret and lie to them.

There are other fish in the sea. It's a big ocean. Sometimes we need to catch and release a few before we find the keeper. Just keep swimming.

Other than that one piece of brilliant advice, Gia's parents are also mostly just... there. They don't have a strong, supportive presence. In fact, they were just like cardboard cut outs. They had no personality and were basically useless to the entire story, which is a shame since Kasie's other books have amazing family dynamics.

Speaking of cardboard cut-outs, we also have Gia's friends. They did have more prominent roles in the story compared to Gia's parents, but their personalities were incredibly stereotypical. No one really stood out to me.

Let's talk about Fake Bradley and the romance. With a heavy heart, I'm saying that The Fill-in Boyfriend did not give me any feels. At all. There was a lot of drama between these two by the last half of the book, and despite being a fan of angst, I just flinched instead. No flutters. No gigglesnorts. No swoons.

The only reason I'm not giving this book one star is because I appreciated how Gia's problems with her friends were realistic. Like I said, I've experienced them myself. I just wished that they'd been handled better, and more maturely. And also because I really liked Bec, Fake Bradley's sister, who was the hard-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside kind of girl.

Overall, this book had potential to be one of those extremely relatable and realistic books, but it unfortunately fell flat on both of those aspects.


Kasie West can't write a bad book, folks. Look at all the feels she gave us:

The Distance Between Us made us:

Pivot Point made us think:

Split Second gave us:

On the Fence basically made us:

Just give me this book, okay!?
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
August 10, 2017
Wowzas. This was bad. It seems Kasie West and I just have a love hate relationship (more hate than love thus far though I did really enjoy By Your Side). I didn't really like anything about this, but my biggest problem was that the synopsis reveals a "plot twist" (using that term loosely) that happens in the last 100 or so pages. What is up with that nonsense??? Overall just not for me. Should've skipped it.
Profile Image for Melissa.
356 reviews626 followers
June 5, 2015


Not good enough?


That was totally better, right?

Still not good enough?
FINE, fine! Shut your trap hole, I'll give you more ^.^

Now, in all seriousness-not that I wasn't being serious before- this was all I hoped for and more. I remember adding this book to my TBR when it was just that drabby old GR gray cover. All it had was a tittle and Kasie's name on it. Then when the blurb came out, all I saw was fake relationship trope.

Last night I hadn't even planned on reading it, though. It was late and by late I mean 11 pm (I need 7 hours of sleep-sue me-if I actually plan on functioning). I just wanted to check out the first couple of pages...but then that turned into the first couple of chapters...and before I knew it, it was 4 am and I had just finished and was left wanting more.

Look, this isn't original. It's plagued by cliches and trust me, you've all read this somewhere else before but that did not deter the constant idiotic smile that refused to leave my face last night. This was all kinds of cute and fluff with rainbows and stars. There were even unicorns. Unicorns, people, UNICORNS! Her writing style is addictive and charming. It's lighthearted and all kinds of fun. It was a complete dream to sink into. And like the previous book I read from her, it doesn't just tackle romance, it takes on family relationships, friends, finding yourself and learning to grow and know when to let go.

Now there are points that will undoubtedly annoy you. We have the mean girl Jules and the BFF Claire. Then we have Bec, the girl no one really sees behind her armor of sarcasm.
Cliche, right?
The thing is, I don't think there's ever been a book that hit so close to home for me. You might find this very hard to believe-I mean, you better-but I wasn't the nicest person back in high school. Heck, Gia was a saint compared to me. I remember being best friends with "Claire" and the constant non-stop bickering with "Jules". I remember the lies, the manipulation, the games and boy do I remember the nastiness. But these were my friends, right? These were the people I saw day in and day out for years. And then I remember meeting "Bec". I distinctly remember hating her on sight. Worry not, the feeling was mutual.
But I guess the big changes that happen in our lives start out by subtle sparks. We went from hating each other to tolerating one another to acceptance to friendship. The closer we grew together, the further apart I grew from "Claire and Jules". The more time I spent trying to be a better person and actually caring about those around me, the less time I spent wasting away with frivolous conversations and fake friends.
So while that ending might have been/will be inconclusive to some, it was just life for me. And you know what?
I'm fricking glad.

We all went our separate ways but till this day I'm still best friends with "Bec". 10 years and counting.
Now, how cliche was my life?

PS: I'm going to marry Fill-In Bradly one day :) I just have to meet him first. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Seconds after finishing: Why did you have to END??!?!?!!? Crap it's 4 am, I should probably got to sleep :(
July 2, 2015
"I could try to guess your preferences."
"My preferences in a kiss?"
I nodded, our faces still very close together.
"My preference is simple-you."

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I can't say these aren't clichéd. I can't say they haven't been done before. I can't say there are bad boys and perilistic moments. And I certainly can't say they are perfect. But what I can say? They may have clichéd moments, but they are written impeccably well. They may have been done before, but never as adorably. There may not be bad boys, but there are guys who would do anything to make you happy. Guys who, for all intents and purposes, aren't only out for themselves. They are the heroes we deserve in real life, the boys we should strive to be with-And they always keep a permanent smile on my face. And instead of perilous parts, there are heart-wrenching and angsty moments-moments that break your heart and make you want to reach in the book and shake the main characters. And perfection....isn't that speculative?

[Fill-In Bradley] pointed at the olives I had picked off my pizza. "What's going on there?"
"I'm not an olive fan."
"There were other options without olives."
"I like the flavor the olives leave on the pizza. I just don't like the texture of the olive itself."

I swear to God, that's me (for most vegetably things)-I love this reference^^^^^^^!

Oh man. I just....I am so tired. I have had a bad couple weeks (yes there have been happy moments, like Cedar Point) and the only thing that I really have been looking forward to are these happy little books that make your heart beat faster than should be humanly possible and the [good] boys I have been falling for in my binge-read-for-happiness. So, when I finally decided to read this one and give it a try, it was just what I needed.

My dad folded his hands on the table. "Chin up. There are other fish in the sea. It's a big ocean. Sometimes we need to catch and release a few before we find the keeper. Just keep swimming."
"I don't think that last one applies here."
"I was on a water roll. I just went with it."

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This story centers around Gia. She has a boyfriend named Bradley and her [horribly annoying] friends don't really believe her. He is a UCLA college student and they have never met him. But, at Prom, she is determined to show him off to her friends-it's finally going to happen...they have to believe her now, right? Yeah, things rarely go according to plan, do they?

He glanced over my shoulder, toward where my friends were still sitting. "Nice friends you got there."
"They're mostly nice. Jules is just constantly trying to oust me."
"I have no idea. I think she thinks I'm the alpha of our pack and that there is only room for one without resorting to cannibalism."
"I'm going to take your weird wolf analogy and assume you mean that she wants to be the leader of your group."

Bradley dumps her in the school parking lot, leaving her dateless and, well, looking like a liar. So, when she sees an adorable boy sitting in the parking lot (reading, mind you), she asks him to fill his place so it won't look like she was lying-Yes, I see the irony here-and she can prove her horrid frienemy wrong.

He was still looking at me like I was crazy. I felt crazy. "You want me to pretend to be Captain America?" He pointed toward the street.
I was confused at first but then realized that's what he was calling Bradley, whose build was on the beefy side. "They've never met him so they have no idea what he looks like. Besides you're..." I gestured toward him without finishing the sentence. I tried to think of a different superhero to compare him to but nothing came to mind. I wasn't well versed in superheroes. Were there some who were on the thinner side? Spiderman? That didn't seem like a compliment.

Again, LOVE superhero movies, so I was giggling like a moron lol^^

Let's just say things don't go perfectly. But for those few blissful moments of triumph, she gets to see Fill-In Bradley for the good person he is. I mean, what guy would run home and put on a suit and actually come back for a random stranger? A nice one, I tell you. As they dance and talk a little, his lingering stares and smoldering looks start to get into her head. Long after the charade is over, she sits at home wondering what his name really is, why he took her to the dance, what he's doing...and then she realizes he might have gotten into her head more than she even realized.

"This is Gia, by the way, Mom."
"Oh, I'm sorry, where are my manners?" She extended her hand to me. "I'm Olivia. I'm sorry for stealing this boy away but I need his gorgeous face. I mean, tell me that face doesn't inspire creativity."
Both [Fill-In Bradley] and Bec rolled their eyes.
"She says that every time she pulls us in here and then she creates things like that." He pointed to a painting of a half-insect, half-zebra face splitting open to reveal a blooming flower. "My face did not inspire that."

I absolutely adored Fill-In Bradley. He was adorable with his messy, hardly manageable (brown) hair and piercing blue eyes. And he was always worried about Gia-her feelings, her friends, how things were going for her. I know it sounds cliché (okay, we covered this, yes?) but he would pretty much do anything for her...even though they had just met. And it was just so....okay, shut up shut up....adorable. I just...sigh...I just loved him.

"I will save you from yourself, then. You cannot get the Rocky Road. Anything else...except vanilla because that's so boring. Who would even think of getting that? I don't even know why they stock it."
I smiled.
"It's actually the most popular ice cream flavor," Blake said while adding a scoop of strawberry to a cup.
"Well, I feel validated now. I should've gotten vanilla."

I'm not saying this is the most creative book ever, I'm just saying that it was a good book that had lots of fun, sweet, and happy moments. I am not in the business of passing up absolutely gorgeous book covers with irresistible writing and a wonderful plot...I'm just not. So I will likely continue to devour these types of books (by this and other Chelsea-approved happy-go-lucky authors) and not feel a damn bit guilty about it. If you need to smile, if you want a break from the shittiness that is life sometimes, then I suggest you pick this story up. The Distance Between Us is still my favorite Kasie West book (XANDER!) but this one is my second (FILL IN BRADLEY!) favorite. So...yeah...just read them, 'kay?

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Omg guys. These books are like damn fairy-tales....every time.

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I do, in fact, want my HEA.

Review to come.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
839 reviews3,758 followers
February 15, 2021

Actual rating : 3.5 stars

I have a question for you : how am I supposed to rate a book whose flaws are so obvious I just know many of my friends will be bothered but which let me with such a huge smile glued on my face? If several characters irked me something fierce but which made me so happy I just ... didn't care for the most part?

JUST FUCKING TELL ME. In the meantime, welcome to my messed-up brain, guys. I apologize in advance is this review is more filled with ramblings than anything else. Just know that I tried. Pinky swear.

I'm not gonna lie, I read this book in one sitting and the only thing I can say is it is highly addictive as usual with Kasie West. Indeed it seems that her books share this ability to compel me in this teenage world and even if it's generally not the kind of humor which makes me laugh out loud, it remains that I'm swimming in a general giddiness just so refreshing that I can't help but want to read each and every one of the books she'll write in the future.

As for the plot, it lacks originality for sure, and I found The Distance between Us more daring in many ways. What do we have here? The clueless popular girl who's living for peers validation and doesn't care that much about others - but cares deeply about what they think in the meantime - and who suddenly realizes that she's quite a bitch without meaning to. After being dumped at the Prom parking lot by Bradley, her college boyfriend (asshole), she decides to lie and to ask a random guy to be her... Fill-in boyfriend, because she's too afraid of what her friends will think about her being single (not to mention that several of them didn't believe that she had a boyfriend in the first place, so... You see the whole picture). Of course, of course, lies always backfire on you... And Gia will learn it the hard way. While I'm a sucker for fake relationships, and absolutely adored their interactions (I'll come back to that), I can't deny that Kasie West doesn't offer us something original here, but that's quite the opposite actually. It didn't prevent me from enjoying the book, but you need to start it knowing this, otherwise you would be disappointed.

Moreover, this book deals with several teenage - and adult - issues as the consequences of our lies and the difficulties to trust someone, not to mention the importance of friendship and well - the thin line between wanting to genuinely please our friends and hiding our true feelings because we're afraid of not being validated by them. While I appreciated to read about these subjects and to follow Gia's evolution, in my opinion these issues aren't fully handled and the book keeps its smacks of superficiality unfortunately.

First of all, let me say that I liked Gia for the most part. Yes she's awful in the beginning (but damn, how I laughed when she met her Fill-in boyfriend!) and does sound really shallow : as I said earlier, she seems interested in what others think and this only, and I'm sure some readers will hate her. I didn't. Never. Why? First because I love reading about flawed characters when they aren't annoying (she's not) and then because the development of her character was really good and well-handled in my opinion.

As for Fill-in Bradley, whose real name is a secret therefore I won't write it here, it's pretty simple actually : I adore him. Indeed not only he's cute and all kinds of adorable, but he's not perfect either and every one of his personality traits made me like him more. First he's kind of a nerd - but not the computer kind. Don't get me wrong, I love videogames and my BF either, but we can be a nerd or shy or well, cute and adorable in his case without being glued to a screen, and I was glad to see Kasie West acknowledging this fact, because authors often put their character in big boxes and the geek guy is always some hacker or something. It's getting old in my opinion. Just sayin'. Moreover, Fill-in Bradley has trusts issues (and for reasons) and for me it added to his believability as he doesn't change his way of thinking for Gia right away.

Her romance was gradual, pretty light actually, smile-inducing and believable. I ship them hard. Oh, and, definitely, no meet-cute here, but a controlling and kind of awful girl begging some clueless guy. Of course that was awesome, what do you think?

"He was still lokking at me like I was crazy. I felt crazy. "You want me to pretend to be Captain America?" He pointed toward the street. I was confused at first but then realized that's what he was calling Bradley, whose built was on the beefy side. "They've never met him, so they have no idea what he looks like. beside you're..." I gestured toward him without finishing the sentence. I tried to think of a different superhero to compare him to but nothing came to mind. I wasn't well versed in superheroes. Were there some who were on the thinner side? Spiderman? That didn't seem like a compliment."

To sum up, their relationship is full of cute and funny moments that I can't quote here but you know, you can just read the book and find.

Concerning the families, can I just say that while I hated Gia's I completely swooned over Fill-in Bradley's? What can I say? Bec, his sister, is that awesome metal girl whose way to deal with angriness pleased me very much (yes, it involves throwing thing and screaming. Good girl) and the growth of her friendship with Gia was one my favorite parts of the story.

"Sit. Start your rant whenever you're ready. I will be here to egg you on."

And what can I say about his mother except that she was supportive and deliciously eccentric? Oh, yes : she was hilarious.

"I'm Olivia. I'm sorry for stealing this boy away but I need his gorgeous face. (...)"
"She says that every time she pulls us in here and then she creates things like that." He pointed to a painting of a half-insect, half zebra face splitting open to reveal a blooming flower. "My face did not inspire that".
"It really did," his mum said."

Now, let's talk about my biggest peeves : Gia's friends. Talk about a bunch of jackasses, for real. I'm not even talking about Jules who was the stereotypical bitch but FOR. REAL. Who treats his friends that way? WHO? Indeed I never, ever, got what their deal was and if I can understand that it can be annoying to learn that our friend lied to us, seriously, they were overreacting throughout the whole book and the ending didn't satisfy me in this particular issue because to me, too many problems remain unresolved. As you can guess, they were way too immature and stereotypical for my taste, and if I had to point something that I'm sure will bother many readers, it would be this. You've been warned.

Anyway - I just can't dismiss that big moron smily face I wear since I finished it. I can't, and I can't wait to put my hands on Kasie West's next book because let's be frank one second here : I fall in love with every one of her male leads. they're awesome like that.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Jennifer.
662 reviews2,254 followers
May 6, 2015
Cute! As expected! Was a bit disappointed with the ending as much wasn't really resolved. Urg her friends were so annoying! Jules was on my last nerve. What a B!

*Inject book into veins now!*

Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,045 followers
August 4, 2021
***Reread on July 29, 2021***

This is my first reread for the year and it's so satisfying. It's so much better the second time around. Rereading is really one of the best therapies, it's so reliable in getting me out of a slump.

The first time I read the book, I thought Gia didn't have a lot of spunk but I realized she didn't really need it because she wasn't intentionally mean, she isn't your good ole regular mean, bitchy queen bee and the fact that she is very self-aware makes me appreciate her more.

In my first review I also failed to mention how entertaining the plot is and how significant the underlying themes are despite the cutesy story. I'm definitely upping my rating from a three to a solid four stars.

***First read on December 29, 2015***

Kasie West is one of my go-to authors when I'm looking for cutesy YA romantic novels with lots of clichés (they're actually her main ingredients, just look at the cover and title of this book).^^ But she has this special way of making them bearable so that the overused premise particularly in this book- popular girl fakes relationship with a not so popular guy (to save face) but eventually falls for the guy for reals- becomes likable, charming even.

Behind the tropes are significant social messages that educate readers, in this case, about people's over-reliance on the social media and other people's validation of one's self-worth making the story more meaningful than expected. The reader gets to witness the elaborate self-realizations of a petty, shallow girl (who used to be clueless of the effects of her actions on other people) and her transformation into a better person.

My picture of Gia (the main character):

TBH, I find Ms. West novels consistently flawed. Aside from clichés, the endings are usually rushed and like in this book, I found a hard time connecting with the characters that are quite unrealistic. Gia in the beginning fell a little bit short of personality and attitude fitting her "social standing". She's Student Council president, practically the "Queen Bee" but I feel like she didn’t have enough spunk and convincing powers.^^

But, the author has a natural gift in spinning off what would have been a bad element into something good, even inspiring. The last quarter of the story allowed for Gia’s growth in character making up for what lacked in the beginning. What I like most about the author’s writing is how she can manage to make a romantic story both intriguing and swoon worthy while maintaining a completely wholesome approach.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
965 reviews741 followers
August 20, 2016
So, the covers of Kasie West's contemporary/romance novels has a pattern. Headless couples. Lol. I know I'm not the only one.

After reading her two romantic novels, I made a decision to trust only Kasie West when it comes to the genre I don't usually read-- the romance genre (I'm serious. Hahaha). And I'm glad I put my trust in her on this genre because reading her romantic novels are really enjoyable and devastating at the same time. They aren't too angst-y or too dramatic and the romance weren't overdone.

I love The Distance Between Us. I love On the Fence. And this book? Oh I love it too.

When it comes to cute and sweet romance, Kasie West is digging it. She is really good. No more questions. I can surely feel the chemistry, the love and all that shits when I'm reading this book (and her other books) that sometimes I can't hide my giggles and smiles. My heart is in euphoria unleashing a positivity in my body.

Of course, it's not always cute and sweet. This book also contained hurtful and unhappy scenes that somehow I put myself on the characters and think what will I do in these circumstances if I were them. And it leads to a realization that the book just punched me in the gut and it hurts. Maybe that was really it is when the characters were affecting you so much.

The Fill-in Boyfriend is fun and sad and engaging. The characters were realistic and not one dimensional. The dialogues are gold-- hilarious, witty and carry the right emotions. It is kinda predictable but it's sure it has been delivered in an unpredictable way.

I might be biased but who cares?
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
592 reviews3,540 followers
Want to read
January 23, 2017
Have you noticed her book covers are pretty much the same? Two headless bodies facing each other.

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West


The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

I mean.

On the Fence by Kasie West


By Your Side by Kasie West
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,186 followers
July 26, 2015
3.75 super cute stars!!

“Chin up. There are other fish in the sea. It's a big ocean. Sometimes we need to catch and release a few before we find the keeper.”

First off I mostly read this book because of Chelsea's review so if you are on the fence about reading this, her review will convince ya.

On prom night Gia is dumped by her boyfriend. In the parking lot beforehand. Faced with telling her friends that he isn't there, when they already don't believe Bradley exists having never seen nor met him before. Gia finds a guy in the parking lot and begs him to pretend to be Bradley. He agrees and helps her out, before not telling her his name and disappearing.

But now Gia can't get Fill-in-Bradley out of her head, and her one connection to him is not thrilled to help out. On top of this, Gia seems to be going through a self realization, and she might not like the person she's become.

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“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

Kasie West is like Sarah Dessen and Simone Elkeles mashed together, but better. There's just something about her young adult books that are so much fun and the perfect escape. West adds a level of depth that is missing from most contemporary teen novels. Yes this book was a romance, but it was more. It was a journey of self-discovery. It was a girl discovering that because her parents never held her accountable for her actions, she became a shallow selfish person. It also portrayed what a majority of high school friends are, someone you are friends with out of circumstantial necessity.

Fill-in-Bradley was such a great guy, you really felt for him and his situation with his horrid ex and terrible friends. The friendship and relationship built between FIB and Gia was cute and adorable with a little bit of angst thrown in. The only thing I really didn't like about this book was the resolution, it felt unresolved.

Highly recommend if you like YA sweet reads. Sweet isn't normally my thing, so I'm glad I took a chance.

"Nothing I just wanted to say your name."

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Profile Image for Sophia.
270 reviews2,036 followers
May 11, 2019
2.5 stars

this book started off as a 1.5 star book, rose to a 3 star book, and then dropped down to 2.5 stars. initially, i regretted picking this book up. the main character, gia, was painfully shallow and the writing left much to be desired. i found it extremely difficult to take anything in this book seriously, but gradually, as i got further and further into the book, things began to change. i found my alliances shifting, and surprisingly, by the end of the story, i genuinely connected to gia in a number of ways. however, that still doesn't excuse the fact that for a good majority of this book, gia is painted as a girl whose only concerns revolve around boys. she never did anything to advance herself or show that the thoughts in her brain were colored by anything other than boy troubles. she was aware she was weaving herself into this horrible web of lies, but never took initiative in untangling things before they blew up in her face. i was rooting for her to be a smarter, more proactive character, but she never was. her development came eventually (and she did transform into a much more respectable person), but it came only after the most dramatic prompting in the history of high school drama.

one thing this book really had going for it was entertainment value. i read this in one sitting; i never put it down. i was invested in the sense that i wanted to know when things would happen (because the predictability of the events gives you plenty of knowledge of what's going to happen, it's just a matter of the timing). i kept flipping the pages, until the ending abruptly sprang up. am i the only one who thought this book cut off so suddenly? i felt like i didn't get the closure i wanted!
Profile Image for Jillian .
431 reviews1,780 followers
September 1, 2016
i'm so happy i really enjoyed this. i was worried bc i didn't like on the fence but THIS WAS SO SO SO CUTE
Profile Image for Laura.
559 reviews331 followers
May 11, 2015
He raised his eyebrows.
"You get to be my date."
"Uh..." His mouth opened but that's all that came out.

After the funny and cute way this story started, I was sure that I was going to like it. And I was right. Kasie West is a queen when it comes to writing fluffy, light and unputdownable books. I can't seem to read her stories in any other way than one sitting. It's impossible. I always find myself completely enraptured in her worlds and The Fill-In Boyfriend was no exception.
I'm pretty sure it has lots to do with her swoon-worthy heroes. Seriously. I seem to love all of them so much. But it's not just that. Her stories always have a lot of charm and give me this giddy feeling. I simply love the way she writes!

His amused look softened.
"So you still don't know my name?"
"No. And I need it for tonight."
He didn't provide me the answer but instead asked, "What have you been calling me in your head, then?"
"What makes you think you've been in my head?" He just smirked like he knew he had. And he was right. "Fill-in Bradley." He laughed. "Wow. Creative."

So yes, we don't get to know his real name for what felt like ages and it drove me crazyyy. So I won't tell you either. You'll just have to read the book. Or forever think of him as fill-in Bradley.
Also, their dialogues. Probably one of my favorite things about this book. I just couldn't get enough of it. He and Gia just had such a great chemistry. It was easy between them and they brought out the best in each other. In the course of the book, they both go through a bunch of stuff and I loved seeing them support and care for each other.

"You know what we've succeeded in doing with this game?"
"What's that?"
"Increasing the anticipation."
He laughed. "I know, right? Can I just be fill-in Bradley forever?"

Another thing that was really great about both of them is that they don't really fit in any typical YA character categories. Gia for instance, she's very popular because of her student council president status, so because of her smarts and leader tendencies, not because she's pretty or a cheerleader. At the same time though, she's extremely clueless about a lot of things and cares way too much what people think about her. So yes, Gia's really insecure and unsure of herself, but tries to hide all that underneath her perfect image...Which just makes her seem a bit untouchable and keeps her from having real relationships with people. All that changes, of course, in the course of the book which brings me to something else I really liked: the character development of the heroine. It was subtle and not rushed at all, written in a way that I could barely pin point when she'd grown so much. There wasn't one big thing that changed her over night, but rather many little incidents and mistakes from which she learned. It seemed very realistic to me.
Then, there's fill-in Bradley alias Fib (I almost slipped and wrote his actual name. NO YOU DO NOT GET TO KNOW IT). Fib is kind of geeky, but at the same time confident with a beautiful albeit bitchy ex-girlfriend with a serious mean streak. So he isn't your typical insecure or even unexperienced nerdy guy either. Also, he isn't nerdy in the way that most YA nerds seem to be defined. But I digress. My point is that they both seemed very complex and because of that more real. And I really enjoyed that.

Also, can we talk about how awesome Bec is? Bec is Fib's sister and she does not like Gia at all which was so funny to watch. Bec's very honest and loud and kind of angry most of the time, so she managed to make me laugh a lot. She and her sassiness made for some really great scenes.

Bec spun in a circle once, her arms outstretched, then she grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. "You are awesome. Revenge is awesome."
Olivia cleared her throat.
"Because I have a very, very immature brain," Bec added.

So, now you probably wonder, why - if I loved so much about this book - did I give it 'only' four stars? The answer to what, or rather who made me do that is very simple. Gia's friends, especially Jules. I won't go into detail, but I still don't get why Jules did what she did. And it's a very important part of the plot, so I feel like I can't just ignore it in my rating, even though I read it in one sitting and everything kind of screams 5 stars. Jules and even the other two annoyed me a lot, and also how Gia reacted in the situations they put her in, so it honestly took a little bit from my enjoyment. I just wish that whole part wasn't there or at least different because I loved the scenes with fill-in Bradley and Bec so much. But it is what it is, so four stars from me!

You should still read this book because Kasie West writes the most adorable stories and always manages to put a smile on my face. And who knows, maybe the friends won't even bother you!


Yes, I just read that in one sitting.
No, I don't regret it at all.


Fake relationship kind of stories - my weakness ♥
Profile Image for Anastasia.
134 reviews67 followers
May 28, 2016

3.5/5 stars

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.

“Chin up. There are other fish in the sea. It's a big ocean. Sometimes we need to catch and release a few before we find the keeper.”
I went into this book with only one thing on my mind; get out of my reading slump. I had been in a reading slump for about two months and it was killing me. So, naturally I decide to read a fluffy, fun loving romance book that I can speed through. This book was exactly what I needed to get out of my slump. Granted there were a couple holes in the plot, the character were really petty and cliché, and the whole relationship was completely unrealistic. But, it was a perfect book to get me out of a slump and I needed it at the moment.
“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?”
Okay, first off you have to realize that our main character Gia is a total b*tch. This girl doesn't care about how others feel and only thinks of herself. I was actually thinking of dnfing the book after the first chapter because I couldn't deal with her thoughts. But, after she meets fill-in Bradley her whole demeanor changes. She starts to stand up to her horrible friends and hangs out with kinder and all in all better people. Without her change of character I would have probably thrown this book at a wall. So, when/if you read this book just power through Gia’s horrible attitude in the first chapter.
“I like it when you're not perfect.”
Gia and fill-in Bradley’s dynamic comes naturally and helps move the plot along. They are really good actors when it comes to filling in as each others significant others. The first fill in at Gia’s prom was very uncomfortable since they had only met minute before, but Kasie West wrote it perfectly. They didn't mold into their fake relationship quickly, it took some warming up but ultimately they stuck to the plan and were fantastic. Fill-in Bradley and his sister were my favorite characters. Their relationship wasn’t like your usual brother-sister duo but it was so much more. They watch each others backs even when they yell at each other and are complete opposites.
“I never wanted anyone to have this much power over my emotions again. It was safer to keep to myself, to keep things on the surface. Things ended better that way.”
The plot had a few holes that were just glazed over and a lot of the conflicts were really petty. Honestly the whole book could have been resolved in the first chapter. Instead of lying to your friends just own up and tell them the truth. Simple as that, but instead of doing that Gia makes an elaborate lie and basically watches it unravel around her.
“Mocking someone else to make us seem deep or intelligent only proves the exact opposite.”
All in all Kasie West’s books are perfect for getting out of a reading slump and just having a fun time. They are the kind of books that lets you turn off your brain and just live in the moment. I’m not a huge romance fan but Kasie West makes every situation so interesting, even though a bit unrealistic, they are fun to read, with an edge of seriousness. If you are looking for a fun, light romance this is a must read.
Profile Image for Maureen.
507 reviews4,199 followers
April 5, 2017
3.5/5 stars

Well I guess I'm just floating my way through all of Kasie West's books! I didn't like this as much as PS I Like You or The Distance Between us, but I still really liked it! The beginning was a little rough, mostly because I didn't connect with Gia, but there was good reason for that since that's how she grows as a character throughout the book. I still wish some of the side characters had been more developed, but I think that was kind of the point.
Profile Image for Jiana.
296 reviews817 followers
April 30, 2017
This was cute, but I think I expected more from a Kasie West book? I've read 3 of her books so far: PS I Like You, The Distance Between Us and The Fill-In Boyfriend. I can easily say The Fill-In Boyfriend is my least favorite between the 3 so far.

Like all Kasie's books, this one was light and super easy to read. It shed light on some important issues such as the obsession with technology and how teens use it to validate oneself and how they get affected by their circle of friends, needing their approval, again for the purpose of self validation.

“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

Despite this book being easy to read, I found it boring around some parts. Despite it being short, I found that it had dragged around unnecessary parts when I needed more of other parts. I needed more Gia and Hayden after they got together. They basically got together at the very end of the book and I barely got to enjoy their relationship. I'm pretty aware that this is a pattern in Kasie's books, but I wish I got more of Hayden and Gia.

Gia was a meh MC, I don't really feel a thing for her; however, I do love her character development! She went from someone so dependent on her friends' opinions of her to someone who's discovered who she is and who she wants to be. That's a great message to deliver. Hayden was a dreamy guy! Kasie never fails to create swoon-worthy guys! Bec, Hayden's sister, is amazing. She's so outspoken and sarcastic and I just love her!

Another main issue I had with this book: the open ending. I hate open endings. They leave me unsatisfied and with loads of questions. I think this is yet another pattern of Kasie's? Because that was the case in The Distance Between Us, too. However, I don't remember how the ending was in PS I Like You.

Despite all this, this book still served its purpose: be a light and fluffy read while maintaining to shed light on issues. I still have two more Kasie books to read and I feel the need to binge them but I don't want to not have Kasie books to read???? The STRUGGLE IS REAL.
Profile Image for Bekah.
745 reviews979 followers
September 4, 2015
Original Review found at: www.awesomebooknut.com

Again, another fabulously adorable book by the crazy cute author Kasie West.

This was just an overall fun, cute contemporary romance. I so enjoyed this book.

Gia is a bit of a nut but I enjoyed her character development as the story progresses she realizes what she had become and what she really wants to be. I was quite shocked when at the end it wasn’t a complete “happily ever after” which was a nice change from the norm and I appreciated that.

I really wanted to punch the main problem in this story because she was so annoying BUT without this girl, Gia wouldn’t have been able to see how shallow she really was and it was able to see great things around her. In the end you just felt bad for this character because she will never be happy.

I loved Hayden the fake-date he was just perfect and I enjoyed everything about him. He is a sweet guy with a fun personality. I’m tired of toxic guys in books and love how this guy just tries to be good.

I really enjoyed Hayden’s neurotic sister Bec. She’s snarky and tells it how it is. However Bec has her own problems as she tries desperately to find her out who she is and where she belongs. I was a bit disappointed that it seemed for someone so smart she felt she had to be a certain way in order to catch the eye of some guy. I wonder if Kasie will do a story on her she would be a great one to tell. *hint, hint*

There are a lot of teen social issues in this book without all the extra content that other social YA books have which makes this one even more special. It shows the side of real issues that teens have and face during their high school years and it also shows wonderful things that happen and can shape a person.

Overall this is a sweet, fun yet deep story which it completely enjoyable.

Sexual Content: mild
Language: mild
Drugs/Alcohol: mild
Violence: mild
Profile Image for Ariana.
938 reviews1,302 followers
May 11, 2015

To be honest, I was absolutely sure that I would love this story, even with the funny (though a bit unfortunate) title. And don’t get me wrong, the story is cute and quite amusing, for a younger audience it might sound much better anyways, but there were some things that made my rating drop a bit..

Gia is very immature.
Her problems with Jules made me laugh in frustration (because there was nothing left that I could do) and I wanted to shake them both for being so stupid.

Then there were more things..
Like, the fact that her other friends were just as shallow as Gia, her parents made me want to scream at them to get real (they weren’t bad parents per see, but they seemed not to care much about their kids and I never understood why that was) and her brother (though he was so right about everything in the movie) should have known better than to go around hiding things and assuming that he had permission for what he did.

The reason for the fill-in boyfriend was ridiculous in this context.
I did get Hayden’s take on it later on (though he didn’t actually ask her to play that part), but for Gia it was all about shallow appearances and friends validation. And I get that this was the whole point, for her to grow up and finally be herself without the approval of the others, but it still didn’t make me like her much.

On the other side…

Hayden was really great.
A bit dorky, in a cute kind of way, and with a bit of an emotional baggage, but very sweet and just what Gia needed in order to become real, instead of the a cardboard copy of a teen that she actually was.

Also, his sister was a bit sharp-tongued, but nice – when & if you actually got to know her. I liked her shy side and I liked just how supportive she was. I only wish to know what happened with her story.

What I loved the most was the movie.
Gia can be all the upset she wants, but that movie defined her perfectly. I understand why it hurt so badly, but it didn’t take away the fact that it was real.


This is a light, cute story about self discovery and the importance of truth and trust. It’s a quick read with a few very great insights, and even though it is not my favourite from this author I still think that you should give it a try – if you think that it’s a story that might appeal to you ;)

Happy midnight reading!

Find the full review and more at ReadingAfterMidnight.


Pre-reading thoughts:

The.. what? ... Oh boy! :|
I love Kasie West so much, so it's gonna be soooo embarrassing to have this book (with that title) on my favourite shelf (assuming I will enjoy it as much as I did with her other books).

Kasie dear, you'll owe me one!


Blog (EN) | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Booklikes | Blog (RO)
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,170 reviews437 followers
April 30, 2017
I've been a fan of Kasie's contemporaries ever since I read them last summer, and I had high hopes for this book. Suffice to say, I was not let down her latest offering. In The Fill-In Boyfriend, the main character, Gia, is dumped by her college boyfriend in the parking lot outside her prom. Her friends, who have never met now ex-boyfriend Bradley, didn't believe he even existed, and Gia is going to lose her reputation if she goes into the hall by herself. Luckily, there is a guy dropping off his sister who is willing to pretend to be Bradley for the night. He's the perfect gentlemen, and after prom, Gia can't stop thinking about him - the only problem is, she has no clue who he is.

I really liked Gia as a character. Yes, she was bratty and slightly naive to begin with, but there was a definite character growth. Up until that moment outside of prom she'd had a perfect life - her parents weren't overbearing, she was popular, and had a wonderful boyfriend. She had her life all planned out, and now had to realise that something things just don't work out how you intended them. Her group of friends were, for lack of a better term, absolute cows! I hated them, and, really, my problems with Gia seemed to stem from them. Because of this group of 'mean girls', Gia had no chance to explore herself. Once she began making new friends, with fake-Bradley, and fake-Bradley's sister, Bec, I really liked her.

Gia's family was problematic. Her parents were just there, they didn't do anything, and that was the problem. When her brother does something really nasty, they just congratulate him - I mean, what is up with that?! I'm glad Gia grew a backbone with regards to her family!

The romance between real Bradley and Gia was cringe-worthy. I did not like him, at all. We didn't get off to the best of starts, with him dumping her outside of prom, and he didn't get any better as the book went on. Now, fake-Bradley, was swoony! They may have started their quasi relationship off knowing they were both lying, but the feelings grew and grew, and it was so sweet to see them all giddy over each other.

Kasie has always gave me all the feels when reading her books, and this was no exception! I noticed she answered an ask on GR about maybe doing a sequel, and whilst she said no, she did say she was up for developing Bec's story - and I'm up for reading that ;) I'm dying to get my hands on her upcoming books, and all I can say is, she is one of my favourite YA contemporary authors, and is definitely on my automatically buy/read list! A definite recommendation from me!
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
April 27, 2015
I think The Fill-In Boyfriend may just be Kasie West's fluffiest book yet, but you'll get only minor complaints from me on that score. What's amazing is that, even though the story is refreshingly simple and lighthearted, the main character's growth is still something to savor. In typical Kasie West fashion, our heroine goes through a growth spurt of sorts, trying to discover just who she is and how that plays into her friendships and love life. This is a book I read in one sitting, and I'm betting I won't be the only one to do so.

The Fill-In Boyfriend starts with prom night, and it's not going at all as Gia Montgomery has planned. Her boyfriend of two months - a boyfriend from college who her friends think she may have made up - dumps her right outside the school. Worried that her friends will ditch her, too, for "lying", she sets her sights on a boy in the parking lot, asking him to "fill in" as her pretend boyfriend/date. What starts out as harmless enough soon spirals into lie after lie. Gia realizes she wants her fake boyfriend to be very, very real, but she's caught in a web of her own making. If her lies are exposed, will she lose her friends and her new-found romance?

I don't really think the synopsis does the book justice. For one, the one on the back cover implies that Bradley - the boyfriend Gia gets dumped by - plays a larger role than he actually does. Those who are love triangle wary like me, you have nothing to worry about. From the beginning it's a straight shot to who Gia wants, which I was really happy about (naturally). Also, the summary doesn't get into Gia's real growth. Yes, the lies she's built play into her character arc, but it's so much more than that. Kasie does a fantastic job of illustrating that time in a teenager's life when she doesn't feel like she knows who she is. We've all been there. Gia is popular and pretty, but she's starting to realize that's not really what counts. The whole situation with her friends allows her step back and see things from a new perspective. Gia is not all that likable in the beginning; she's a bit of a snob, relatively opinion-less, and her friends are like the "mean girls" of the school. After she meets "Fill-In Boyfriend" and starts to hang out with his less popular sister, she becomes much more self-aware. I loved her character arc and seeing her learn harsh truths while growing into herself as a person. It doesn't take long to sympathize and connect with her.

There's a strong theme of friendship present, and I'm happy with the way things end on that front. Her original group of friends really irritated me with the way they bullied other classmates and cared only about popularity. I think the way Gia slowly grows apart from them yet doesn't want to lose their friendship is realistically portrayed. (Of course, I wanted her to just ditch them, but Gia can't discount years of them being close.) The new friend she makes - "Fill-In Boyfriend"'s sister - is a highlight of the book. She's snarky and confident, with a hint of vulnerability beneath the surface. She doesn't warm to Gia right away, and rightfully so, and just her whole demeanor was so engaging. In the end she became a great friend to Gia, and I would love for her to get her own book someday.

There is of course a romance, which is very sweet and light. The love interest is a bit nerdy, and he's very loyal to his family. He's going through his own problems as well, including a cheating ex-girlfriend. I really liked him, though I don't think we get to know him as well as I would have liked to. He has all these little quirks to his personality, and he's very supportive of Gia, but I can't help but wish the romance had been more of a focal point. It was too tame and needed a little more oopmh! Some highlights: the guessing game Gia plays to figure out his name, and a supremely cute scene near the end involving baseballs and lap kisses.

Fans of the Kasie's previous books will no doubt connect to The Fill-In Boyfriend as well. The story is an easy one to sink into, and, like I've come to expect from all of her books, I finished with a smile and a light heart.

***Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!***

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Mandy K.
464 reviews31 followers
October 23, 2019
Full Review

Another thing that I'm finding I like about contemporary novels is I can easily finish them in a matter of hours, in one sitting. There's just something so satisfying about that. And this book is no exception. As cheesey as it might be, there's just something I really love about the whole "pretend to be in love and then accidentally catch feelings" trope. It's just so heartwarming and sweet, and it a bit early to say this (I haven't read too many contemporary novels) but I don't think I'll ever tire of it. This novel was just so sweet and cute. I was simultaneously both maddened and intrigued by the fact that we didn't learn the Fill-In Bradley's name until about a third of the way into the novel. I was satisfied with what his name ended up being though, it's a cute name (and no I'm not going to tell you what it is, you'll have to read it and find out for yourself).

I didn't like Gia at the start of the book, she was self centered and way to concerned with validation. Her character arc was pleasing, and by the end of the story, I found myself liking her. I loved Bec, she was just so real and sure of herself and want she wanted. I also, of course, loved Fill-In Bradley, who was slightly geeky, and adorable, and such a gentleman. His mom was also pretty awesome. Of the rest of the side characters, the only one I found alright-ish was Claire, though aside from being sweet she seemed a bit flat. Gia's family look perfect from the outside, but they definitely aren't. And Gia's friends, family, and most of the rest of the characters all shared two traits: shallow and judgemental.It sort of got to the point where I was like "ok is anyone not shallow and judgemental?" And I know that was part of the point, but it seemed a bit unbelievable that everyone could be like that.

Despite the sort of unrealistically shallow characters, this was a sweet heartwarming story.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews420 followers
July 11, 2015

I've read both of Kasie West's other contemporaries and loved them both with all my heart. I had no doubt in my mind (or soul) that I wouldn't love The Fill-In Boyfriend to the ends of the earth. And I totally did.

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail because I don't want there to be any spoilers so this going to be a really vague review.

I loved the characters, I loved the plot, the writings, everything about this book.
There was so much character development, especially with Gia. And even though I didn't really have anything in common with her, she still felt real and relatble.

I was so insanely emotionally invested in this book and the characters. I went read 99% of it alone in my room because I was laughing, shrieking, and flailing the entire time I was reading this book.

Overall, I can't even put into words how happy this book made me. I loved every second and I can't recommend this book enough.
Profile Image for Emily.
87 reviews14 followers
November 7, 2016
Fake. Dating.

This book is exactly what you would expect from a Kasie West contemporary, and that's completely a good thing. I had pretty good hopes for this book and everything I wanted to get out of it was what I got. This isn't a book that is going to change your life, but it will leave you pleasantly happy after reading it. Just like every other well written fluffy romance.

The strong point of this book was the family/friend/lover dynamics. Every character and relationship felt very real to me and I really enjoyed knowing that the MC was a good person at heart and was able to see her come to that conclusion herself.

If you enjoy this book, I would definitely check out another book of West's. (Particularly The Distance Between Us because wow I still really love that book).

"I tucked the note into my jeans and left to the sounds of more laughter. I guessed it was okay when they were the ones doing the mocking."
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