Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Book Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Author: Kasie West
Published Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from 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.

Disclaimer: I won this book in a giveaway.

Review:
Legitimate question: How does Kasie West do this?

I mean, this is her 3rd contemporary novel and she just has this ability to create swoony boys and put them together with imperfect girls. God, her formula is awesome. The Distance Between Us is still my favorite Kasie West contemporary, but The Fill-In Boyfriend is fighting for 2nd place alongside On The Fence.

We meet Gia just as she’s getting dumped on prom night by her boyfriend, Bradley. That was rough to read. High school can be a cruel place, especially if you attend a promo solo. For Gia, the idea of attending prom on her own is not something she wants to face. Not when Jules, her frenemy, has doubted the existence of Bradley since the beginning. The last thing Gia wants is to be seen as a liar.

On a whim, she asks a guy who just dropped his sister off, to be her date to prom. She wants him to pretend to be Bradley, and after a little bit of bantering, he agrees. The night ends a little rocky, and Gia doubts that she’ll ever see Fill-In Bradley again.

Until it’s revealed that she’s been sitting behind his sister in one of her classes all year.

Now it’s time for Fill-In Bradley to pass Gia off as his girlfriend at a party that his ex will be at. Fill-In Bradley is clearly still in love with his ex, and is willing to do whatever he has to do in order to get her to come back to him. His sister is all for this plan although she intensely dislikes her brother’s ex.

More craziness ensues at the party, but my favorite part was seeing the sparks increase between Fill-In Bradley and Gia. I could feel the chemistry between them, I felt like I could root for them as a couple. That, right there is an awesome feeling. 

I loved the romance between Gia & Fill-In Bradley. It worked for me because there were things that balanced each of them out. When things went sour between Fill-In Bradley and his ex, his self-esteem took a nosedive. Gia helped his confidence. Gia started off the book a bit uptight and rigid, but Fill-In Bradley helped relax her.

I loved Gia’s character arc. At the beginning of the book she is so obsessed with doing everything perfect, being friends with the right people, never showing her true emotions, but as the book unfolds, Gia starts to crack, she starts becoming more flawed, she starts expressing her true emotions, especially around her family.

On the surface, her family seems normal, loving and supportive of each other, but as the book continues on, we realize that Gia doesn’t really share anything with her parents, and her mom especially, keeps her emotions bottled up, just like Gia does. I did love her dad though. Her dad was awesome and protective.

“I hate boys.”
“He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
“No, well, he just hurt my heart.”
“Oh honey, I’m so sorry.”

This book explored the complexities of sibling relationships as well. I spent most of the book detesting the hell out of Gia’s brother Drew. He just seemed like such a jackass and most of the time, the things he would say would enrage me. Things between Drew & Gia were complicated, but I liked how it ended.

Friendships in your teen years are difficult as well. For Gia, her friendships with Claire, Laney and Jules were difficult. I truly think that Jules was awful, but that she was also the Alpha. Claire & Laney were the Betas. I also feel like Gia was never her true self around these girls. Like she had to behave a certain way for these girls to even tolerate her. The exploration of teenage friendships was truly great.

I really enjoyed this book, and it was everything I’ve come to expect from a Kasie West book. I am giving this book 4.5 stars. I’m not actually sure why I cannot give it the full 5 stars, but I definitely recommend it very highly for contemporary lovers.

“We’re not perfect and we don’t have to be.”

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

This feature is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish

This was a fun list. I didn’t have any problems coming up with the Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year. My list is overwhelmingly filled with contemporaries, which really shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi
Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1) by Anne Blankman
The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting
My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door #1) by Huntley Fitzpatrick

So let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you want to. Also, if you did a TTT this week, be sure to leave the link to your post in the comments.

Review: On The Fence by Kasie West

Book Title: On The Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publish Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
She’s a tomboy. He’s the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she’s got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she’s falling for Braden. 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.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
By then time you read this, I will have read all of Kasie West’s books and have hopefully enjoyed them all. When I wrote this review I had only read Pivot Point but had just recently bought & received in the mail, Split Second & The Distance Between Us. I was hoping for a cute fluffy read and I definitely got that with On The Fence.

Charlie struggles a lot with this book and I was able to relate to that a lot more than I think I expected to. Charlie is a tomboy with 4 brothers being raised by her dad after her mother died 10 years ago. She doesn’t think that she is what guys want because she’s not feminine and she doesn’t wear makeup and talk endlessly about clothes and boys.

It was so clearly a struggle for her because she feels like she has to change who she is in order to get boys to notice her. She feels like boys don’t want girls who are “big and burly” and Charlie doesn’t know how to be delicate and feminine like she feels she should be in order for guys to notice her.I got that because I was much the same way in high school. Boys didn’t notice me because I was much more sporty than feminine. Boys went for the girls who were “hot” and who wore gobs of makeup and revealing clothing to make themselves look hot.

Working in a clothing store filled with feminine clothing initially makes Charlie borderline uncomfortable but then she begins to embrace her femininity and she begins to realize that she can be both. She can be sporty and feminine. Not having a mother in the past 10 years has made her feel like she must choose one or the other. Feminine or sporty. 

Charlie meets a cute guy named Evan, but she feels like she has to dumb herself down for him because apparently making a guy feel useless is emasculating. So instead of rattling off everything she knows about sports, she stays quiet, allowing Evan to believe that he is teaching her something. Next door neighbor Braden actually had some good insight on this whole dumbing herself down for a guy thing

“If you can’t be yourself around him, you shouldn’t be dating him.”

I absolutely LOVED this quote. I had highlighted several things in the book, but this one in particular stuck with me. Mostly because I think most teenage girls go through this. They feel like they have to dumb themselves down for a guy. They feel like they have to be something different in order for a guy to like them.

Watching Charlie realize that Braden was right and that a girl should never try to be something else in order for a guy to like her, was really awesome. If a guy doesn’t like her for who she is, he’s not worth dating.

It’s hard for longtime friends to admit to being attracted to each other. It’s terrifying because each of them worries that their friendship might be ruined.And what if the relationship doesn’t make it? Will they ever be able to be friends again? So I totally understand why it took so long for Charlie and Braden to admit their feelings.When they do though, its full of sweetness and swoons.

I really only had one complaint.When secrets are revealed about how Charlie’s mom died, I felt like Charlie reacted and then got over it really quickly. I mean I wanted more about that and I felt like it wasn’t delved into it as completely as it should have been.Had that been explored a little more, I think I would have given this book a full 5 stars. But I definitely had the feels while reading this book. Kasie is really good at giving her readers those all important feels. So this book will be getting 4.5 stars. Kasie has absolutely secured herself a spot on my author auto-buy list.

Review: Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West

Book Title: Split Second (Pivot Point #2)
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: February 11th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Paranormal
Series: Book 2 in Pivot Point duology (My review of Pivot Point is here)
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
Oh Split Second, how I loved you. Let me count the ways…

Just kidding, I am absolutely not that poetic, but holy crap this was an awesome book, from beginning to end. There were twists and turns frequently which I loved. Addie and Laila are still one of my all time favorite friendships. The friendship is beautiful, reciprocated and well balanced which I love. 

Unlike in Pivot Point, I loved Trevor. He was sweet and kind and so supportive of Addie. This time around, I bought their relationship and not only that, I rooted for them as a couple. Generally a Norm and someone with abilities do not mix well together, but with Trevor and Addie it just works and it works really well.

Connor and Laila were my favorite relationship in this book. Connor was the quintessential bad boy and Laila was the only girl to be seemingly immune to his charms. Yet, again, they work somehow. Maybe it’s the opposites attract thing, I don’t know. Laila needs Connor’s help though and it’s at that point, that you realize that Connor’s bad boy image is just a facade.

My favorite subplot was Laila’s brother Elliot. He hasn’t Presented yet and he’s scared that he won’t Present. I was scared that he wouldn’t Present and that he would be kicked out and made to live in the Norm world. Watching Laila try to help him was beautiful and at times, heartbreaking. I can never say enough about how much I love brother-sister dynamics in books.

I’m obsessed with the ending. It was quick paced and action filled to the point where I didn’t want to put it down for anything, nope not even a bathroom break. Even the ending kept me guessing, which I absolutely loved. I am so sad that my journey into this world is now over and that I will never see these characters again. 5 stars to this book. I think everyone should read this duology.

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Book Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: July 2nd, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Disclaimer: This book was a personal purchase.

Review:
Oh my goodness, I need to start off by saying that I absolutely adored this book. I mean I am full on, madly in love with this book and I want to marry it.Yes, I know that sounds weird and borderline creepy but holy crap Kasie West has done it again. Although I have not finished Split Second yet, Kasie West has been firmly placed on my author auto-buy list. With The Distance Between Us,she managed to capture my heart completely. This book made me laugh but also cry.

Caymen is pretty sheltered and she lives with her mom above a doll shop that her mom owns and runs. Her mom is very against anyone who is rich because Caymen’s father’s family was rich and they basically gave hush money in order to keep Caymen’s mom & Caymen away from their son who “was going places”

So when Caymen starts spending a lot of time with the grandson of a customer, she keeps it to herself for the longest time, while also realizing that maybe her mom is keeping secrets of her own. Caymen’s not used to that as she and her mom have a very open relationship where they talk about everything. I related to that because that is exactly how I have been with my own mom. I know it’s weird to think of your mom as your best friend, but that’s how close my mom and I are.

From the beginning, I sensed that Xander was different. Yes he oozed money, but he didn’t wave it around obnoxiously. That would have driven me crazy. He’s nothing like the stereotypical rich teenager which I loved. He wasn’t rude or arrogant about it at all and I have a feeling that Caymen hadn’t expected that.All she had been taught from her mother was that rich = bad and poor = good.

Caymen had given up a lot of her dreams in deference to her mother. Instead of going straight to college, she was going to work at her mother’s doll store for awhile. Her dream was to major in science. There is a specific scene in the book where you just know that science is something she is very interested in. Xander is definitely supportive of that.

Contrary to what people think, money doesn’t solve everything. While having money can help, it can also create a heavy burden. Xander’s family owns a lot of hotels and he is expected to go right into that business but his real passion seems to be photography. Watching him come to terms with where he needed to be was a great story arc.

The end had me full on bawling like a newborn. It was beautiful and kind and full of love and forgiveness and honesty. All things that were important to the story. They tied together perfectly and neatly like a little bow.This book was beyond fantastic, it was amazing and definitely Kasie West’s best book. 5 stars to this beautifully written book. Everyone needs to read this book right now.

Top Ten Books I read in 2013

This feature is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish

This was an interesting year for me. I started this blog in April and since then, I’ve found some simply amazing books of all different genres. Books that I probably wouldn’t have found if I wasn’t blogging.

So here goes my list…

It should shock no one that I am putting The Program by Suzanne Young on here. Every single time I’ve been asked for my favorite book of the year, The Program has been my immediate answer. The feels are all there and the character development is amazing. Go read it right now if you haven’t already.
Splintered by A.G. Howard quickly became a new favorite of mine. I had never read retellings before but it looked amazing. So when I got it as a Christmas present, I dove right in. And I loved it. It was absolute perfection.
My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi was a surprise to me. I had no idea how much I would like and yes even love this one.This one was an unexpected and happy surprise.

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu had the power to be amazing or be terrible and it was amazing. It was awesome to see the characterization of OCD done right and not understated or overstated.
If You Find Me was an amazing debut and it had me pondering my own life and being thankful for the people in it. It also had me pondering the idea of sending Emily Murdoch my therapy bill.It broke me in the best possible way.
Oh how I love books about cults. Gated by Amy Christine Parker was awesome and I loved it big time.It brought out the feels in me a lot towards the end. Yet I totally understand that it’s not a book for everyone.

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry actually came out in 2012, but since this is a list of books I’ve read in 2013, I figured it’s okay to put Pushing the Limits on this list. Um, this book was amazing, beautiful and full of feels. Go read this one if you haven’t already.
The Sea Of Tranquility also came out in 2012, but I just recently read it so it made it’s way onto the list.Amazing book, yet another one that broke me into teeny tiny pieces by the time it was the end of the book. I teased the lovely Katja Millay that I was going to send her my therapy bill. I am stunned that it took me this long to read this book.
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan doesn’t come out until the beginning of 2014, but I did read it this year so it also gets to be on this list.It was awesome and different and heartbreaking. Go pre-order this book right now.

Pivot Point by Kasie West was awesome and beautiful and amazing. After only reading one of Kasie West’s books, she has cemented herself on my list of auto-buy authors.Pivot Point was beautifully written and it had one of the best friendships I’ve ever seen in Addie & Laila.Go read this book right now and get ready for Split Second.

All of these authors were actually new to me. That’s been another perk of book blogging. I’ve been introduced to hordes of new authors.Looking at my list, over half of them were contemporaries.Of the other 4, one was fantasy,one was paranormal,one was science fiction and one was dystopian.

So let me know if you’ve read any of these and if you did a Top Ten list this week, link me to that as well. See you guys next year!

Happy New Year!

Top Ten Books I Want Santa To Bring Me

This feature is hosted by The Broke and Bookish
So my mom & grandmother had been bugging me to make a list (yes at almost 28 I am still asked for lists) So I made them and emailed them. I got the same response from both of them “Um Lexi, isn’t there something other than books, that you want?” I seriously didn’t know how to answer that. To me, the answer would have been an emphatic “NO” but I know exactly how they get and how much they like to surprise me. So I put a few non book related things on there.
There have been a lot of books that have caught my eye over the past 8 months or whatever. Even more so than normal and I can thank my fellow bibliophiles for that.So these ten books are a compilation of books that either look amazing, or bloggers have raved about it or if it’s just something that I must have in my hands RIGHT NOW!
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
-The premise drew me in big time and this one has been taunting me from my Amazon wishlist for weeks-
-Amazing cover. Plus the synopsis. Plus an amazing author who regularly interacts with her readers on social media-
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
-I haven’t heard a whole lot about this one, but what I have heard, is all positive stuff-
-Kasie West is a goddess and I’ll read whatever she writes-
-I absolutely love the cover and that’s what’s drawn me in the most, although I have to say, the premise looks great-
-I’ve heard so much about this book. Like how it was life changing. I need this book in my life-

-If I had to pick only one of these to be sitting under my tree, it would be this one. Hands down-
Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
-I’ve heard nothing but amazing things from this one. The premise sounds amazing-
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
-My grandmother read this one and LOVED it. It’s normally not a book she’d love so I’m excited-
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
-This book just sounds like something I’d be all over. I am really excited about this one-

I am sure a lot of you have already read most of these. Or maybe you haven’t gotten around to it yet. Anyhow, let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you think about them. Leave me the links to your TTT posts so I can come by and see what’s on your list.