It has long been a source of embarrassment that I have never read a Kasie West book. I recently watched a sort of beginners guide to the author over on YouTube and thought I’d give one of them a shot. I figured I’d start with The Fill-In Boyfriend, I’m not really sure why exactly, I just fancied its plot line the most, it sounded like the kind of thing I’d like. And so today, I bring you my first Kasie West review.
If you’ve been following me over on Instagram, you’ll know I wasn’t so sure about this book at the beginning, and judging from the comments, many of you agreed. I can’t really put my finger on the source of the problem, I think I just found the whole thing fairly underwhelming. However, my opinion did improve throughout the second half of the story.
I think a large part of my thoughts on this book, stem from my dislike of Gia. In a lot of ways, she reminded me of the protagonist in Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone, in that they’re both popular girls who realised they no longer really fit in with their friends. As you may, or may not, recall in my Every Last Word review I mentioned that I didn’t usually like the popular bitchy protagonist, but didn’t mind in that case because of the writing, very cleverly, made me empathetic. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Miss Gia. I found her character incredibly shallow, diluted and very much a drama queen. Even at the end of the novel, when she was supposed to have grown up, she remained very superficial. Overall, she just wasn’t a character I could empathise with.
My dislike of Gia further extended to a hatred of her parents, made worse by the fact that there were no really admirable family dynamics illustrated throughout the novel. Although Hayden’s mom was supposed to be cool and interesting, the was no realism in her portrayal and we didn’t get to see enough of her to make up for the crapness of Gia’s own family.
On a more positive note, I did quite enjoy Hayden as a character. He was a little bit underdeveloped for my taste (just a bit wishy washy), but he did have some interesting defining characteristics, like his role as a drama student and the baseball throwing thing. I just wish we could’ve gotten a more in-depth look at his character.
If you’re looking for a book with a unique, original plot line that’s going to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout – don’t look here! This plot line is very basic, with a stream of very basic characters. However, it’s the kind of feel-good YA novel that I just really needed over the past few days. It hit the spot, and I’d definitely consider picking up another title from her when I find myself in the same mood. If I had to, I’d say it felt like a YA Nicholas Sparks novel – it’s a book you need to be in the right headspace for or it’ll just be pure dribble.
Overall, I gave this novel 4/5 stars. It’s not earth-shattering, but I don’t think it’s meant to be. It’s a cute, feel-good story that has a sprinkling of really adorable moments. All in all, a good read for the summer if you’re in need of something that’s 90% cloud fluff. Make sure you let me know what you thought of this book, or if you have any other Kasie West suggestions, down below in the comments!