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BOOK REVIEW: By Your Side by Kasie West

BOOK REVIEW: By Your Side by Kasie WestBy Your Side by Kasie West
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Synopsis:

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

 

Ahhh I really don’t want to write this review. I mean, seriously, who wants to write a negative review about one of their favorite writers, one of those authors who never ceases to make you happy and put a smile on your face. Well, sometimes its necessary-especially when this is one out of three of your top anticipated releases for 2017. And, might I mention, two so far have been absolute TURDS. Alas, Kasie West was no exception.

I can’t quite put my finger on why this book was so drab, so dull, but I think it has a lot to do with underdevelopment. Undeveloped plot, underdeveloped characters, underwhelming ending…it was all a sad, endless loop of what could have been. I’ve read KW books before where the plot was kind of…hmmm….not for me? A bit boring? But never once have her characters suffered and been quite so cardboard cut out as this.

He laughed. “I’ll work on my poker face.”
“You should come over today after school.”
“To your house?”
“Yes, my brother is in town. I think you’d like him.”
“I don’t like anyone, remember?”
I took another small step forward. “I don’t think that’s true.”
“I do like distractions,” he said.

There was just something so, I don’t know, off about the characters in this one. I loved them, to an extent, but every time I thought we were really getting somewhere with them, it was pulled back in-Kind of like the sun on a cloudy day, as a kid. You would see the sun peeking out, teasing you, only for it to immediately disappear and leave you aching for its presence even more enthusiastically. The characters were like that-especially Dax.

“You’ve definitely been added to the archive the last couple of weeks.”
“What archive?” he asked.
“The happy memories one. The one I’ll draw from in my dark times,” I said quietly.
A smile stole away his hard expression before he wiped it off and pretended I hadn’t seen it. But I had. And it got added to the bank.

Dax was just prime Chelsea BBF material. He was rude, sarcastic, a bit on the side of tortured…I truly thought he was a 100% win. Turns out? The author truly didn’t explore him the way she could have. After the library debacle, I truly figured we’d get so much more out of our leading man, but instead, the plot took an odd turn with our main character, Autumn.

I stopped. “When I feel trapped, anxious, I think about the times I’m the happiest.”
He dared take his eyes off the dark lot in front of him to level his gaze on me. The intensity in them took my breath away. Then he was focused again out the window. I almost apologized, thinking I had hit a nerve with that suggestion. But I held my tongue.

We know, at the beginning of the book, she has a huge crush on some dude (and he might like her, too, GASP!). And after the library, we see him kind of resurface. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I didn’t like where the story went. It was a tad contrived. Maybe not contrived, more pushy. More plot device-y. I think it could have been okay, but it made Autumn even more reserved about liking who she actually liked and it seems like that made me roll my eyes quite a bit more than anything else did. Oh! Yes, I rolled my eyes, QUITE A LOT.

What made me roll my eyes almost as much (maybe the most?) were the constant flashbacks. Like….okay. We get it. She has a life and she loves her life. But…just…argh. Why why whyyyyy the always looking back?? Couldn’t there have been a little more set up and a lot less ‘fade from the present to make these moments longer’? I just loathe flashbacks, and in all that time spent in the library? I think she has at least one flashback per chapter. Did I mention I hate flashbacks? *Cringes inwardly*

There was definitely a lot of cute that can be taken from this story, especially near the end. But, come on, there was so much more that could have happened to make this story unforgettable. In fact, I had forgotten 90% of this book until I began writing this review. Even worse-I forget I’ve even read it until I scroll down my feed. So, take what you will from this review, just know that it is, in my opinion, by far the weakest Kasie West book to date. Meh.

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BOOK REVIEW: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

BOOK REVIEW: P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

“So you think I’m hot?”
“Doesn’t every girl?”
It surprised me when his cheeks turned a light shade of pink. I wasn’t sure why that embarrassed him in any way. I was positive he already knew it. He ran one hand through his hair. Then he said, almost too quiet for me to hear, “You’re not every girl.”

I find it just so strange that I had never read a Kasie West novel until late last summer. Seriously-It’s so hard to find YA contemporary authors that make such a large range of people happy, that continue to produce cute, funny, witty, and memorable stories, and that do it well. I had personally never heard of her, and then one of my best friends is like…are you kidding? Do you live under a rock?? READ HER NOW! So I picked up The Distance Between Us (Still my favorite Kasie West yet) and fell HARD. Who could resist Xander? Who I ask? WHO?

If only there was a way to transport letters faster, through some sort of electronic device that codes messages and sends them through the air. But that’s just crazy talk.

So here I am almost one year later, eagerly awaiting her next release. As soon as I ran out of her books (it was very quick lol) I was desperate for more. I can’t say she’s my absolute favorite author-that would be a lie-but what I can say is that she is an author I have come to admire and that I always look forward to reading. For instance, the minute this book was announced, I immediately had it on my TBR and let all of my friends know. And you can just tell how obsessed and loyal all her fans are. It’s so crazy! And the thing is…I truly truly had never heard of her.

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But now I have, and what I’ve read is nothing but impressive. So here we are, sitting and anticipating her next release-A cute little story about two students who both feel like they are missing something in their lives…and seem to find and express themselves through the words of their favorite bands. What was meant to be just a release one day in chemistry for Lily becomes an instant connection between two people who are desperate for someone to hear them. It begins as a game, a playful flirtation that happens by chance in a boring chemistry class. But, as the days go by, it blossoms into something they look forward to and think about every single night long after the lights have gone out….and turns into something far deeper than they ever thought possible.

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I was both equally in love with this book and disappointed by it. And I know that sounds so crazy, what with my extremely high rating, but I am so torn on this one. On the one hand, I’ve seen this done before-and it was done WAY better. I’m sorry, I adore Kasie West, but that other novel is one of my favorites of all time and it had way more, I don’t know, heart. I’m not saying this wasn’t done well…but on the pen pal aspect, I felt myself strangely detached-and it wasn’t until I was done that I realized I wanted that same intensity I felt from my favorite and this didn’t get one tenth as deep as that. So, this aspect was an extreme let down for me-And I wasn’t even trying to compare.

Words brought us together though they almost kept us apart.
You trusted me with your secrets and then you stole my heart.

And I’m sorry to be focusing on the negatives first, but I’d rather be salty and then sweet-I find it leaves a better taste in my mouth to end on a happy, high note. I had two other problems and one bothered me more than the other, if I’m being honest. I was a tad bored in the middle because the pen pal trope got a little bit stale, in my opinion. That’s a small part of my disappointment. But, no, my largest peeve, and I’m sad to say this, was the main character.

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I know, I know-I almost NEVER dislike the main girl, but for some reason I have been increasingly pickier with my female leads. Lily was…I liked Lily at first, ya know? But then I saw how judgmental she was…ON PURPOSE. She wasn’t simply just a snarky teenager, she made herself be that way. And I didn’t realize until the final page just how deeply her attitude had affected me. I adored how much she loved her family-it’s what my friend and I loved most about her. But then I saw how she reacted to said pen pal…it wasn’t enough that this person was a kindred spirit. It wasn’t enough that this person was miserable on the inside. It didn’t matter. All she saw was what she wanted to see, and even when said person proved they broke the mold of her pretentious expectations, she still pushed, fought, and clawed to keep things where it kept her comfortable. So she wanted to pigeonhole someone… but was indignant when she thought that others were doing the same to her. This really just…grr. This did NOT please me.

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And I told my friend this…That I just couldn’t get past her bias. And my friend Anna said-‘Yeah, I get that. But teenagers are like that. They can be judgmental. I’m used to it.’ And it really bothered me long after-Was I being too harsh? And I finally decided…no, no I wasn’t. I love books where the heroines are unreasonable- I just couldn’t get past this one for whatever reason. She bothered me, plain and simple…and it was probably the largest reason I couldn’t fall head over heels for this story.

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But enough of that. I have so many positive things to say about this. Like, how about the fact that after 50-60% I Could. Not. Put. This. Down. It became everything I’ve expected of a Kasie West novel and made me so badly wish that I’d had that connection from the very beginning. Imagine it like this:

Part one: Cute introduction where the plot is set into play and we get to know all our quirky characters

Part two: Pen pal plot drags a little, I begin to lose a little interest in Lily’s attitude and story

Part three: TOTAL transformation where the plot finally expands and we truly connect to the pen pal and our main character (well…you know what I mean). This part was 100% a 5. Things ACTUALLY happen and it feels like an actual story with a flow and a final destination.

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And let me be clear-Had this whole story been like that last 40%, this would have been my absolute favorite Kasie West book (Probably). I just…I can’t explain how a complete lack of connection, focus, and butterflies turned into IMMEDIATE butterflies that are so forceful and so out of nowhere that I couldn’t breathe. I’m not kidding. It’s like…okay, it’s like the Beast roller coaster at King’s Island (LOVE LOVE LOVE)-It’s a great coaster okay, but then you get to the final third of the coaster and there are all these wooden tunnels that make you go underground-ish and they are pitch black and you feel as if you are going 1000 times faster and, on the first turn into the first tunnel, your head whips to left so fast you can’t handle it-but you love it and it takes you completely by surprise as you laugh and scream and hold onto your partner for dear life. And, by the end, you have the biggest smile on your face and can’t contain the good feels and your extreme excitement. It was just like that. Literally-Feels out of nowhere.

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And I know I haven’t mentioned my main man WHO I AM OBSESSED WITH…but I don’t think I can because it’s a spoiler…is it, though? Is it not obvious? Okay, anyway, I can’t say his name, and I can’t really say much about him or it will make it even more obvious, and I can’t particularly claim he’s above Xander (maybe right below?), but just know that I absolutely loved him. He was an extremely kind, caring, and butterfly-inducing cutie. Misunderstood, if you will. But stop me now, I’m sure I’ve said too much. Whatever, sorry, it’s just so damn hard for me not to say his name and gush and cry like a fangirl professing her love and ah I am just a goner. But, alas, I guess you’ll have to meet him for yourself, unfortunately.

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So, anyway, it may seem like I was mostly down on this book…but that’s not the case. I just wanted people to understand why this isn’t a 5 when I’ve rated her others that way. So many stories win me over in the end (a million jump into my mind) and become a forever favorite and a five star. But when I struggled to love this story from the beginning and found that it paled in comparison to my lovelies, The Fill-In Boyfriend and The Distance Between Us, I can’t objectively and fairly give a five for this story. I finished, was smiling so big it’s unreal, proclaimed my love of it to my friend, and said I had to give it a five…but then I slept on it and realized that it didn’t feel right to give it that rating, that it wasn’t a forever favorite, and it it had too many issues I couldn’t get over. So, I decided to rate highly…because the amount of giddiness and happiness I felt for the final third of the story can’t be overlooked-but it didn’t surpass her other novels and needed to be rated thusly. This rating, while a little disheartening to me for KW, feels right and truly says what I want it to say: While this book had it’s issues, it was fun, addicting, butterfly-inducing, and brought the largest smile to my face. P.S. is a good time, if not a little forgettable, and it will take you away from reality and make you feel better about yourself. It will make you happier, if only for the length of the novel. And, really, what else can you ask for?

**ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review**

*********************

Alright guys…I’m guna be frank. My favorite thing about this book?? AGHHHHH MY BOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY….he winssssss. Okay. Phew. Glad I got that out of the way. The boy was everything. He was the pitter-patter in my heart. The butterflies in my belly. He was the smile on my face and the driving force behind my high rating for this book.

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Because, frankly? This wasn’t my favorite Kasie West novel. And I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until this morning:

Spoiler alert?

I hated the MC.

Sorry not sorry.

RTC.

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BOOK REVIEW – P.S. I like you by Kasie West

BOOK REVIEW – P.S. I like you by Kasie WestP.S. I like you by Kasie West
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

“If only there was a way to transport letters faster, through some sort of electronic device that codes messages and sends them through the air. But that’s just crazy talk.”

 Several times during my read I asked myself, “what would it take for P.S. I Like You to reach a 4.5/5 stars?” and in all honesty, I don’t think it could, no matter how cute some parts were. Now, I’m all for rating a novel according to its genre, but where am I supposed to put Kasie West books? In YA contemporary? Sure! Then they can’t – and will never – compete with the raw honesty and the avalanche of feelings I associate with some of my favorites : Please Ignore Vera Dietz, On the Jellicoe Road, Raw Blue, to name a few.

Truth is, P.S. I Like You put a smile on my face and was well, cute, but I cannot deny how unmemorable it is.

Fact #1 : I’ve read all of Kasie West‘s books and I’ve never come across a female lead like Lily, which is to say, the typical quirky girl with weird self-made clothes and notebooks. The tomboy, the popular girl, absolutely. Not the artist.

Fact #2 : Yet I’ve read my fair share of YA novels, and Lily doesn’t bring anything different in the sea of female leads. She likes music, makes (false) assumptions about people, is convinced that no guy would take an interest in her, fantasizes about this crooked-smiling, earbuds-addict guy with cool hair, has one and only friend because people suck (or something). When it comes to analyze someone else’s actions, she’s blind, but aren’t we all? I mean, TEENAGER 101, anyone? I don’t necessarily complain upfront about stereotypes, because sometimes they can be twisted to add something more to a story. Let’s just say that it wasn’t the case in P.S. I Like You.

Fact #3 : Lily’s family is what I like the most about her, but it may be because it is so relatable to me. A four children family and general messiness? It was my playground. Anyone who grew up in a family of six and who looks blank when confronted with the concept of a one child room will easily understand what she goes through. Her family is weird, crazy, annoying, roll-eyes worthy, yet so lovable, with a special award for Bugs Rabbit XD

As for the love interest, given the fact that it’s supposed to be a “surprise” (come on, I knew who it was on page 6 – more on that later), I won’t say his name but he was pretty great, if completely forgettable. I know, I know, I am harsh, but really : no matter how much he made me smile, mark my words : I will have forgotten his name next week. I just know it.

Look, I’m all for pen pals and stuff, as it’s a plot which usually really work with me. Yet if I accept having doubts, I still ask for the story to keep its mystery, at least a little. Take Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, for example. I loved that I did not know if I was right until the very end.

P.S. I Like You, though? I knew who her “mysterious” pen pals was almost instantly, and every time a new event would occur, the threads were always so thick that I felt like I was only waiting for what I already knew to happen. Granted, the story mostly revolved around Lily’s romance with ***, and romance novels are always all kinds of predictable. Yet it annoyed me because given that I knew who it was, I couldn’t help but feel the urge to skim through all the useless scenes with other boys. Just, nope. I didn’t care, and it awfully felt like filler for me.

As for the romance, I cannot deny that Lily and *** shared a great chemistry and that I rooted for them to get together from the beginning. They made me smile, especially when they were writing to each other. But I cannot deny either that something was missing, or perhaps I’m finally too old for this kind of cute, kissing book. Maybe. See, it was adorable to see them getting to know each other, but it lacked some tension and character development in my opinion.

Finally, the music part felt flat and contrived, and rather useless. It’s as if YA contemporaries had to incorporate some kind of artistic vibes, without needing them to add something to the story. I’m quite tired of this.

It’s no surprise that Kasie West‘s writing is addictive and smile-inducing. Her books, how flawed they can be, always manage to make me happy, even if my feelings stay superficial. However, if I really appreciated the letters, the dialogues didn’t flow as well. Although they were often funny, they sounded fake and I forced myself to adapt and ignore the stiffness – or rather, the fakeness. Yes that’s a thing.

All in all a cute but unmemorable novel. I would still recommend it to anyone who needs to smile.

BOOK REVIEW – On the Fence by Kasie West

BOOK REVIEW – On the Fence by Kasie WestOn the Fence by Kasie West
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Synopsis:

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door.

With three older brothers, Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, has always been more comfortable calling the shots on a basketball court than flirting with the opposite sex. So when her police officer dad demands she get a summer job to pay for the latest in a long line of speeding tickets, she's more than a little surprised to find herself working at a chichi boutique and going out with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with her neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden, sitting back-to-back against the fence that separates them. Braden may know her better than anyone. But there's a secret Charlie's keeping that even he hasn't figured out—she's fallen for him. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Review:

On the Fence made me want to spin circles while laughing and smiling.  Seriously.  This book was beyond adorable.  I had a permanent smile on my face, and I closed that last page feeling incredibly happy!  If you’re in need of a super cute book, that also has some deeper moments, then definitely pick this one up!

“A girl who plays disc golf?” Jerom said. “That’s hot.” Gage curled his lip. “I don’t know. A girl who plays disc golf? She’s probably a dog. Some aggressive, burly thing.”
The guys laughed, not seeming to realize I was standing right there . . . playing disc golf. Maybe that’s how they saw me. Maybe that’s how most guys saw me.

Charlie is a 16 year old tomboy, and it took me a few chapters to warm up to her.  I was somewhat of a tomboy when I was younger, and I spent my weekends shooting guns, racing four-wheelers, playing baseball and climbing trees with my 5 male cousins and brother.  But when I hit 12/13 I realized that I also loved shopping, fingernail polish and obsessing over my latest Hollywood crush ha.  So it took me a little while to find a connection to a more intense tomboy. But once I did, this book became everything I was looking for!

“What did you mean by that, anyway?”
“By what?”
“That you don’t know my type of girls?”
“I hang out with athletes.”
“And?”
I paused, a little surprised. Was he saying he would date my teammates if I set him up? It had been a while since Braden had a girlfriend, but I was pretty sure his last one knew more about nail patterns than defensive patterns. “And . . . I guess I don’t know your type.”
He chuckled. “I find that hard to believe.”

Charlie is surrounded by males!  Her dad, three older brothers, and neighbor, Braden, are her world.  Well sports are too.  She spends her days playing sports games with them along with wrestling, goofing around, watching tv, and just hanging out.  Charlie easily fits in and is one of the guys.  But after getting a speeding ticket, her dad forces her to get a job.  Where she ends up working, starts to make her world split in two.  Because at work she is surrounded by clothes, makeup, girl friends outside of sports, and even a potential boyfriend.  Charlie feels as though she has no clue how to mesh the person she is at work to the person she is with the family she loves.  And I loved watching her try and figure it all out.

“He trusts you. You’re like our brother.”
“But you’re their sister.”
“And yours.”
“You’re not my sister, Charlie. And they know that. They are very protective of you. More than you could possibly know.”

My favorite part of this book was Charlie interacting with Braden.  He is her neighbor that she has known forever, and one of her older brother’s best friends.  After starting her new job, she realizes that she has some feelings for him. And the electricity that you felt springing from her chest when he would talk a little too close or touch her had me squeeling!  But their friendship become even deeper when they started to meet by the fence that separated their two houses and talk in the middle of the night.  Charlie is trying to escape her nightmares and Braden is escaping his drunk father.  Their talks were friendship, hope, desire and they reached a level of deepness that hadn’t ever existed before between them. And each of those talks helped to create a flutter in my heart.  I adored their time alone, and I kept wishing for that version of them to be brought into the daytime.  But all truths eventually make their way out, and watching theirs progress was so much fun!

He grabbed hold of my arms, preventing me from falling. Something he would’ve never done pre–fence chat. He would’ve let me fall on my butt and then I would’ve tried to sweep his legs out from beneath him. Our eyes met for the briefest of moments and then he quickly released me. As if realizing he’d breached some unwritten rule, he grabbed my arm, bent down, and threw me over his shoulder.
Walking to the couch, he unceremoniously plopped me down on my back. “There. If you’re going to fall on your butt,” he said, his eyes twinkling as he said the word, “choose a better place.”

So yeah, I fell for this book!  And I can definitely say that I have become a huge fan of Kasie West!  She has the ability to create males that are to die for, heroines that pull you into their emotional webs and a story that is completely heartwarming.  I definitely recommend reading this book.  Especially if you are in need of some smiles in your life!

PS I have to say that one of my favorite scenes was the nerf game.  You’re definitely going to want to read that part!  *giggles while fanning face*

BOOK REVIEW – The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

BOOK REVIEW – The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie WestThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she decides to do the unthinkable…convince the cute guy waiting to pick up his sister to pretend to be her boyfriend for the night. The task is simple: two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

The problem is that days after prom, she can't stop thinking about her fill-in boyfriend. But can Gia turn her fake boyfriend into a real one without exposing her lie and possibly destroying her friendships and her newfound relationship?

Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Kasie West's talent shines in this tale of one girl's unexpected quest to find love…and possibly herself.

Review:

The Fill-In Boyfriend was an absolutely adorable book!  I happily smiled through the majority of the story, while giggling like I was in High School all over again.  I became a huge fan of Gia as she grew up throughout the story.  And I fell head over heels in love with Fill-In Bradley.  But that ending left me wanting so much more.  It felt as though there was so still much up in the air, and I would have loved to have an epilogue.  And of course more time with Fill-in Bradley.

“I can pay you.”
He raised his eyebrows. “I’m sure there are services for that. Maybe you can try calling 1-800-HOOKERS or something?”
I rolled my eyes but couldn’t help the smile that came with it. “You know that number well?”
He let out a single laugh.

I started out the book easily feeling sorry for Gia.  She got dumped by her boyfriend, Bradley, in the parking lot, right before they were to walk into her school dance.  Ack, how awful!  But she was a little more devastated over the fact that now she was going to be labeled a liar.  By Jules, the newest addition to their clique, who didn’t believe Gia’s long distance boyfriend was real.  And Jules was slowly trying to turn Gia’s friends against her.  In her desperation, Gia luckily saw a boy who watched the whole tragedy unfold.  An older brother sitting in the car after dropping his sister and her date off for the dance.  Gia worked her magic and convinced him to take her to the dance.  And be her Fill-in Bradley.

I loved Fill-in Bradley.  Can I please steal him out of this book?!  Please? He was mesmerizing and quickly pulled me under his spell.  Not only did he step up to the plate and help out Gia, but he defended her, watched out for her, and treated her with love and respect. Well fake love and respect, since it’s all a charade….but still!!  He gave me chills with his actions and words, and I easily melted into a puddle of goo.  But alas, all good things must come to an end.  Or not.  Haha!

His amused look softened. “So you still don’t know my name?
“No. And I need it for tonight.”
He didn’t provide me the answer but instead asked, “What have you been calling me in your head, then?”
“What makes you think you’ve been in my head?”
He just smirked like he knew he had. And he was right. “Fill-in Bradley.”

You see, Fill-in Bradley’s younger sister, Bec, is making Gia return the favor.  Gia now gets to pretend to be Fill-in Bradley’s girlfriend at his ex’s bbq.  Shrieks of excitement escaped out of me when that was announced!  I had so much fun watching them play their little charade, and I had even more fun the second time around.  But like Gia, I too became confused at times.  Because sometimes their actions as a fake boyfriend and fake girlfriend felt real.  And what would happen if one of them wanted more?

He greeted several people then scooted his chair extra close to mine. While he ate with one hand, his other was always resting on the back of my chair, or on my shoulder, or playing with the ends of my hair. I knew it was for show and I had to keep telling myself that as chills radiated down my spine every time he touched me.

But you want to know what surprised me the most about The Fill-In Boyfriend?  How much I loved Fill-in Bradley’s sister, Bec.  She was hilarious, endearing and honest.  I loved how she meddled with Gia and Fill-in Bradley’s relationship.  How she helped remind them that they were just pretending, damn it.  But what I loved most about her SPOILER was how she taught Gia what being a true friend meant. Because let me tell you, Gia definitely didn’t have much experience in that department.

I let him take me to the makeshift dance floor across the sand. I let him wrap my arms up around his neck and then rest his hands on my hips. For one moment I forgot we had an audience and it was for them that we were performing this show. He made me forget I had come here to try to get him out of my head.

So, thank goodness for Fill-in Bradley and Bec stepping into Gia’s life, because her old friends desperately needed to grow up and disappear.  They were a group of catty bitches.  And her parents and brother weren’t much better than them unfortunately.  But lucky for us, Gia does learn and grow throughout the story.  I was more than pleasantly surprised!

Looking back, I still can’t believe I flew through this book in under a day!  It was that addicting!  And I was that obsessed wanting to know what was going to happen with fill-in Bradley.  What can I say?  I get obsessed with my fiction male characters haha!  I just wish there was an epilogue or another chapter or two explaining some loose ends, because this book could have easily been 5 Stars!

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