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review 2017-03-29 05:04
The Fill-In Boyfriend
The Fill-In Boyfriend - Kasie West

I absolutely love stories where two people pretend to be in a relationship and then fall for each other later, so I was set to love this before I even began, and it did not disappoint. When Gia is dumped in the parking lot on prom night just before she was finally about to introduce her boyfriend to her friends, she panics and convinces a guy in the parking lot to pretend to be her boyfriend for the night. Gia plans on never seeing him again, but that doesn't quite work out.

 

The two of them are adorable together. Their banter had me smiling whenever they started up. Watching them go from complete strangers who were pretending to be in love to actually falling for one another was fun. There's just something about two people faking intimacy until it becomes real that never gets old for me.

 

Gia does a lot of growing during the course of the story as she realizes that she can be pretty shallow at times with the help of her brother and the fake boyfriend's sister. She cares too much at times about what people think about her and keeps people at a bit of a distance. Of course, it's not hard to see where she learned that behavior from when we see her family. Her parents are not the best at communicating and seem to care more about appearing to be perfect.

 

In comparison, the fake boyfriend's family is great. I loved Gia's interactions with the fake boyfriend's mom and sister. They were all just so sweet and had some excellent banter.

 

The weak element of the book for me was Gia's relationship with her friends. One of the girls, Jules, is not so subtly trying to steal Gia's friends from her by continually insisting Gia is lying about things or lying herself about Gia. It was just a bit over the top for me. And one of the lies Jules told was so easy to prove that I was surprised Gia didn't think of it. Jules tells her friends that Gia didn't call her to invite her over when Gia had done exactly that. If I had been Gia, I would have pulled up my phone's call history which would show that Gia made the call and that she and Jules had spoken. And since Jules lie was that Gia didn't call at all, that would have solved that problem. Jules gets some develop later on to give some insight into why she's doing this, but I just didn't like that particular plot too much. Even though it is the whole reason the fake relationship got started in the first place. So it wasn't useless. Just not my favorite part of the book.

 

Books with fake relationship plots are generally a bit ridiculous in premise, but that doesn't stop me from adoring them anyways. This one was a ton of fun with a cute relationship, funny banter, and some great side characters.

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review 2017-03-29 04:53
The Fill-in Boyfriend (Review)
The Fill-In Boyfriend - Kasie West

When I first read this in 2015, it was the only book I gave five stars that year. Admittedly, I wasn’t reading as much as I would have liked, and I’ve been in a hardcore reading slump since then, but still—one five star book is a little disappointing. I never wrote the review because things got in the way and I didn’t make time, but as I started looking back on my experience with this book, I started to worry that maybe I didn’t like it as much as I’d remembered. Maybe it was just the kind of book I needed at the time. Maybe it wasn’t all that great after all, and I was looking at it through rose-colored lenses.

 

That worry resulted in me picking it up again today to see how I really felt about it. And guess what? I loved it just as much as I did the first time! I read it (again) in one sitting, and I fell in love (again) with the characters and their stories. This is my first encounter with Kasie West, and I’d always been meaning to read so many of her books, but The Fill-in Boyfriend really sold me on absolutely everything. It is the perfect summer read—heck, it’s the perfect it’s-still-winter-even-though-it-should-be-spring-now read, too. It is the perfect chick-lit romance without shoving insta-love or cheesiness down your throat. I highly, highly, highly recommend it, and I’m so grateful that it will always be on my shelf for those days when I just need to escape reality and dive into something satisfying.

 

What I Liked: Spoilers!

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review 2017-03-08 16:40
By Your Side Book Review
By Your Side - Kasie West

Okay, so, so far I really have only enjoyed On the Fence by Kasie West. I was super excited for a book about a girl stuck in a library with a boy, but honestly? I thought this was just awful. There are so many plot holes involved and the anxiety and illness really wasn't handled well. 

 

Autumn finds herself suddenly locked in the library for the weekend. With no way out. And worst of all she's stuck in there with a boy, Dax. Autumn has anxiety, but none of her friends know, she only hopes she can keep her cool while stuck in the school library with the mysterious and somewhat gorgeous Dax. 

 

Ugh. First of all West didn't do her research. The not being able to use public computers was realistic. But the library not having any phones? NO. And what about emergency exits? Also NO. This just would never actually happen the way it does and I couldn't get through it without eye rolling every few pages. 

 

And the anxiety felt very poorly written. I know several people that suffer from anxiety and while I myself don't I have seen it and have seen how hard it is for people to deal with. I just didn't find it believable in By Your Side, and I really don't feel like West understands just how hard it is to live with it. 

 

So disappointed by this one. I almost didn't even finish it. 

 

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review 2017-02-17 18:00
P.S. I Like You
P.S. I Like You - Kasie West

Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars and rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.

So all in all I really liked this book. It was cute, and was a great little homage to You've Got Mail, which was a great homage to The Shop Around the Corner. I read this for Romance Bingo 2017 and this fits my Young Adult square.

Told in the first person, we have Lily, a teenage girl who has a chaotic (but loving) home life, and only has one best friend. Lily plays guitar and tries her hand at writing lyrics, but mostly she keeps to herself while clashing with her best friend's ex-boyfriend who treated her badly. After writing song lyrics on her Chemistry desk, she comes back the next day to see that someone has written the next line on the desk, and from there she starts exchanging notes with an unknown boy at her school who she finds gets her, and she really gets.

I liked Lily cause God knows I grew up in a family where I could not get five minutes of myself alone. She's a loner, but has her best friend who she loves and who is always there to cheerlead her on. Lily is a hipster I would say, but an unaware one based on what everyone else says to her. She loves music, indie rock mostly it appears. And she has a guitar and is trying her hand at writing lyrics. When a song writing contest opens up to Lily, she finds herself blocked for a bit until she and her mysterious pen pal start trading back notes to each other. Based on the things he tells her, Lily finds herself writing about the things he makes her feel, but also about his loneliness.

What I thought was smart was that West allows us as readers to see the back and forth between Lily and her mysterious pen pal. You can see why she's falling for this guy (whoever he is) and you see how vulnerable both of them are being while revealing things about themselves. I did laugh at bit here and there though, cause I cannot imagine a teen boy (even if he was anonymous) discussing some of the personal stuff that Lily and him discussed.

I do have to say that some of the secondary characters could have been built up a bit. Lily's best friend (I ashamed I forget her name) was not really there except to be her wise friend and be totally understanding at all times. It pretty much comes out repeatedly that Lily's friend broke up with her ex because he and Lily could not get along. Then there is a complete re-write to the whole thing and just made me roll my eyes.

The mean girl was so one dimensional and "evil" it just made me shake my head. Has high school gotten worse? I can't imagine people like this at all. We had some bullies at school when I was growing up, but thank God the teachers/principal didn't put up with it and made sure those people were suspended and dealt with. Heck two boys I went to school with were flat out expelled for what they were doing to people in class.

The pen pal didn't take long for me to figure out at all. You watch "You've Got Mail" and you can pretty much figure out who it is. What I did like is watching Lily having to cope with finding out who the guy is that she fell in love with via notes.

All the feels. I love Tom Hanks. That is all.

I liked the writing. Lily's family scenes were freaking hilarious at times. The pacing moved okay too, though the end felt rushed as anything. There is a big incident at school and then it felt like it got resolved ten seconds later.

The ending didn't stick the landing though. I would have liked to see what happened with Lily and the song writing contest she entered. Having an epilogue that said six months later would have worked wonders.

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review 2017-02-17 13:45
The Distance Between Us
The Distance Between Us - Kasie West I am so annoyed. I got this book because I enjoyed Kasie West's other book I just finished, "P.S. I Like You." This book made me wonder if I made a mistake in thinking that I may have found another YA author to follow. The plot did not make a lot of sense. I did not care for the main character. I seriously wondered why the love interest even kept hanging out with her, because she ran hot/cold towards him and also was rude. The secondary characters were a mess. And then the book ends and I think I am supposed to be going, ahh or something, because yes teens should totally be running around thinking about forever and marriage. I don't know guys. Maybe it's just me.

The main character, Caymen will work your nerves. She's rude and sarcastic. She even kicks a guy who was actually nice to her, but hey he needed to wake up so ha ha? She answers someone else's phone (I hate that in YA novels, there is no justification for that, stop it!) and decides she knows everything about everything. We find out that Caymen is poor. And not just regular poor, but capital P poor. She lives above a doll shop that she and her mother run. We find out that Caymen's mother is estranged from her family after being disowned for falling pregnant with Caymen when she was a teenager. Caymen's mother accepted money from the boy's father with a promise to not seek him out for anymore money and Caymen's biological father is nowhere to be found.

Now if this had been about one girl's journey out there trying to find out about her family, why her father has not sought her out in 17 years, I would be all for it. Instead, we just have Caymen acting like a jerk and thinking that it's cute. She is resentful of her mother because she thinks/knows her mother wants her to run the doll shop one day. Caymen though is interested in science (and by the way that whole thing came out of nowhere, she goes to school for half days and barely interacts there at all, so I wasn't getting a I really love to learn and love school vibe from Caymen) and wants to go to college, but knows that her mother needs her to give up everything to take care of things. That is me being sarcastic by the way. Honestly 2/3 of the angst in this book would be solved if people actually spoke to one another.

This is supposed to be YA romance, but honestly, there is barely any romance in it for me. We just have people telling Caymen she's poor so Xander and her will never really fit. And heck even Caymen thinks that throughout. So this is like "Pretty in Pink" but only if you hated Molly Ringwald's character.

Secondary characters are sloppily developed. The character of Xander just keeps popping up and is interested in Caymen. I don't get why. I don't know if she's the most beautiful girl he's ever seen or what. But since she was rude and lied to him after their first encounter I am still baffled by what was going on there.

Caymen's mother doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I don't want to get into too much due to spoilers, but it felt like this ending was hastily thrown together, with no thought at all of why in the world would her parents pop back up in 17 years and be all is forgiven. West makes it seem like she kept them away, but then we still have Caymen saying that her grandparents abandoned her mother. And if the grandparents are so rich and were so concerned, you are telling me a private investigator could not have tracked her down? That was what was throwing me about the Matthew character. I assumed he was a private investigator. Instead he was just a bill collector.

Caymen's best friend was just another manic pixie girl and I refuse to even discuss her more than just saying that about her.

The writing was not good in this one. I was confused so many times while reading due to Caymen saying something rude and then inner voicing what she means or inner voicing that the person probably won't get her sense of humor. Dear Caymen, you're a jerk, it's not cute. The flow was awful to from beginning to end. I don't know if it would have made it better if we could have seen Caymen as a little girl in a prologue or what. I don't know if we could have started off with her mother first and then switched back and forth to her. Nothing really worked, and I am wondering if a second POV by Caymen's mother or even Xander could have saved this book for me.

The book takes place in California. But honestly, that is all I got. The main parts of the book take place in Caymen's mother's store. You get to read about how creepy dolls are and how creepy Caymen finds them. Things move around a little bit location wise here and there, but not really.

The ending was too much for me. I am glad though that West managed to restrain herself for going for a straight up cliche ending. I thought for sure someone in this book was a goner. So that's the main and only reason why I gave this two stars.
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