This is the first time I can remember doing this: I’ve pre-ordered the electronic version of this book, it is coming out today, and I am attempting to read and review it on the same day.
I figure if I’m going to take a chance and try a same-day review, it might be with this book. I have already read all of Kasie West’s previous novels and I have found them to be quick reads as well as enjoyable ones. I’ll review those separately some other time. For now, here is what I think of The Fill-In Boyfriend.
First of all, I have chosen really well for my first same-day review. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to finish this book, especially since it was a work day. But I did manage to read most of it during my breaks, and finished it with time to spare after work.
First of all, I want to say that I think Kasie West is being grossly mistreated by the promotion team at HarperTeens, the branch of HarperCollins that publishes her books. They keep undermining the suspense of her novels by selling out major punchline in the blurb. They did it for her first stand-alone novel “The Distance Between Us” and for her next one “Over The Fence”, and they did it here.
If I was the one trying to write the blurb for this book, having just read it, here’s what I would do:
Gia Montgomery is in big troubles: her boyfriend breaks up with her on prom night, the night she meant to introduce him to her friends. They might not even believe he ever existed is she shows up alone! She finds a last-minute replacement, a guy sitting alone in his car in the parking lot. He agrees to be the pretend boyfriend for the evening, and even fake-breaks-up in public so that her friends won’t ask about him anymore. That should be the end of it, but the fill-in boyfriend has a sister, and she has other ideas.
I might add a line about Gia’s journey of self-discovery and personal growth, because it’s vague enough and most YA novels deal with personal growth in one form or another.
This is the official blurb, the one that’s been out for months on GoodReads:
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.
You see what I mean? It mentions the real boyfriend coming back, which only happens 3/4 of the way into the book, maybe even later than that. (I’m not going back to figure out the maths, my point remains.) Besides, why waste space in the back of the book by stating the obvious? Of course the boyfriend is going to come back and mess everything up! But by putting it in the blurb, you expect it to happen much sooner then it actually does, and it makes for a frustrating reading experience.
One other thing that distracted me with this novel is that I kept wondering if I should know these characters. “The Distance Between Us” and “On The Fence” were both loosely related to each other, there was a common set of secondary characters, and I kept expecting it to be the case here as well. I could not, however, find the connections. Either they weren’t there to be found or it’s been too long since I’ve read the other two.
t might sound like I’m griping a lot but I hope that the fact that I finished this book in approximately 3 hours, over the course of the day, says something more then my words would about how much I enjoyed it. I will definitively continue to keep an eye out for future Kasie West novels.