The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Epub format 219 pages
Published May 2015 by Harper Teen
Rating 4/5

First, I'd like to confess that I was wrong misjudging this book. At first, I thought this book is just another boy-girlfriend thing. From the title itself, it's fill in boyfriend so there must be someone who lost her boyfriend and foundsomeone to replace. And, blame the synopsis, it says that the jerk finally asked her to come back. Ugh! Well, if my judgement was that shallow, why would I kept reading it and finally finished it?

Hmmm....I just need something to distract my mood from an actor I go nuts to.... Yes, I'm shallow. That shallow indeed.

This book is about Gia, an about to graduate student, is considered perfect to her league but still needs some kind of validation to any of what she does. Whatever she does, she uploads to her social media only to get some replies or comments. She has group of friends whom she thought would be at her side, but turn out she is wrong. It gets worse when she is dumped by her boyfriend on prom night, the one she was about to introduce to her best friends. Seeing no way out, she finds a cute guy, sitting, reading (READING, for God sake, and wearing glasses!) in a car next to her being- dump-scene. Out of the blue, she asks him to act as a fill-in boyfriend.

Here comes the unexpected plot I don't expect. The fill-in boyfriend,  or I should call him BiF, or Hayden (such a beautiful name, huh?) pretends to be her boyfriend then later asks her to pretend to be his date, just to win his lost girlfriend over his best friend. They're supposed to be even,  right? And they're supposed to end their relationship,  but No. This is what I call unexpected plot. Gia, as I told you, always plays a perfect girl in public,  she could suppress her emotion, her feelings,  acting-she's-fine-thing. Hayden,  on the other hand,  is from a family who appreciates expressing emotions. She could sense, and even teaches Gia how to express emotion, and show the other sides of Gia that's been hidden for quite long. This new Gia, apparently,  disturbs her relationship with her best friends. Starting from pretending to bring her-what's-so-called-boyfriend, and never tells her best friends, it turns out to be a big problem. A big one that she gets stampled as a liar. Hmmm... This makes me think, nobody who looks perfect won't be that perfect that later hurts people's feelings. Hey, come on! Gia isn't a saint for God's sake. She's more human with her lies,  I guess. How could her friends treat her that way?

Another thing that attracts me from this book is about addressing today's issue about social media. How is self worth 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?" 

Do you feel you're in that position? if yes, it means that you're the target of this short speech by Drew, Gia's brother. He uses her and his family as the target of worldwide issue today. How do you consider yourself popular? By getting more and more friends, by getting how many times your posts being liked, being shared, etc? I could understand how Gia feels when she was the main character in the video his brother winning movie.

Gia, Hayden and Bec, Hayden's sister,  are not perfect characters that make this story incredible for me. Wanting to look perfect in public is something many people try to do, whether they succeed or not, expressing anger or emotion is humanly thing to do, being jealous or nosy to someone's life,  or worse her own best friend,  is not worth friendship. Well, time will tell eventually. See what I wrote why I said I misjudged the book? It is not just about a romance thing but more about relationship to family thing and best friend thing, and about to become better.

We rarely find 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.

See more I meant about this book? Not only it's not just boyfriend-girlfriend thing, but more than that. It's both witty and quotable in some lines. No wonder this book is one of Goodreads's choice books of Young Adult Fiction 2015, together with Jenny Han with her P. S. I still Love You. Hmmmm, mi should decide what to vote since I like both books. One minor from this book is sometimes I lost track where or when or how some characters here  get to a certain place. For example,  Gia suddenly watches Marcus do practice his band while I thought she's still in her school area, while Marcus is from different school. Another one is when Gia suddenly gets to Hayden's house and becomes his mother's model for painting while I'm sure a she's still in her grad party. Ugh! Maybe I just missed track, but still this nominee fof Best Young Adults Fiction is worth reading =)

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