The Fill-In Boyfriend starts with high school senior Gia getting dumped by her college age boyfriend Bradley on her prom night. In the parking lot of the prom, as a matter of fact (who does that?!). For the last few months, Gia had been telling her friends about her boyfriend, but they hadn’t met him yet because he’d been 3 hours away at college. Gia’s frenemy Jules doesn’t believe her boyfriend exists, so desperate to prove her wrong, Gia asks a guy hanging out in the parking lot to pretend to be Bradley for prom. Then, they’d stage a breakup and none of her friends would be the wiser.
As I’m sure you can guess, this creates problems for Gia. First of all, she can’t stop thinking about the fake boyfriend, and she doesn’t even know his name. On top of that, Jules seems set on digging into Bradley and exposing all of Gia’s secrets.
I have some mixed feelings about the book. I read P.S. I Like You by the same author, and didn’t like this one nearly as much. The one qualm I had with P.S. I Like You was how immature the main character seemed, and I chalked it up to it being her age. I had the same problem with this book, only ten-fold. Gia was incredibly self-centered and stuck up. She tells people that Jules doesn’t like her because she’s the “alpha” of their friend group and is basically jealous. She didn’t recognize classmates who had been in her classes for years. She just comes across as very entitled. I mean, come on…this random stranger does you a huge favor by pretending to be your boyfriend because you don’t want to look bad in front of your friends, and you can’t even be bothered to ask him his name? Rude.
Part of the book focuses on social media, and the way some people can become obsessed with it, to the point where it determines their self worth. On one hand, it did annoy me that Gia constantly felt the need to tweet everything that was happening in her life, but on another hand, as someone who is active on social media, I can sort of understand the draw. Gia definitely crossed the line into obsession with it, and while she comes to realize it later in the book, it felt like a very forced “life lesson” about how social media is bad.
Lastly, I felt like there was little plot in the book. I mean, okay. I went in expecting something light and quick, which is exactly what I got. I had higher expectations, because P.S. I Like You had a story line and was building relationships and progressing storylines. In The Fill-In Boyfriend, there was literally no plot. It wasn’t building to anything. The gist of the story is that Gia starts to develop feelings for Hayden, her fake-boyfriend (he finally gets a name!), but other than that, it’s entirely about how she can cover up the lies from her friends, and everything is completely predictable. I also hated the ending. Hated it. I felt like there was no closure to the entire situation with her friends, which was basically the entire plot to the book.
All in all, I didn’t love this book. I’ve heard that Kasie’s other books are better, so I think maybe this was just a week link and wasn’t her best book. I also think part of it could be my age. I graduated High School ten years ago, and I can’t relate to the petty friendship drama. Honestly, I don’t remember even being like that in High School, but who knows. The book still has good ratings from lots of other readers, so it may be good for a younger audience. All of that said, it won’t deter me from reading other books by Kasie West, but this one was a huge disappointment.