Here are my thoughts on The Fill In Boyfriend
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.
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!