A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Could lead to some valuable discussions about social media and its impact on self-esteem.
Gia and Hayden want to be "better people." Eventually, Gia learns to appreciate being her more authentic self, believing she would rather be remembered for doing something rather than for her popularity.
Positive Role Models
Gia and Hayden make mistakes, including telling some lies to their friends, but Hayden helps Gia learn to express her true feelings instead of pretending that everything is "fine," a lesson she quickly passes on to her mother.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing, hand-holding. Gia stumbles into Hayden's ex making out with a boy on a secluded part of the beach.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Some mentions of junk food products, such M&Ms, Mountain Dew, Slurpee, and Twix.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Fill-In Boyfriend is a tame, sweet summer romance. There's some kissing, including a romantic first kiss, as well as hand-holding. Gia and Hayden make mistakes, including telling lies to their friends, but they want to be "better people." Eventually, Gia learns to appreciate being her more authentic self, believing she would rather be remembered for doing something rather than for being popular. She also learns to express her true feelings instead of pretending that everything's fine. This book could lead to some good discussions about social media and its impact on self-esteem.
Is It Any Good?
Teens will find Kasie West's romance fun and a pretty quick read, making it a perfect book for the beach. It is rather formulaic: Readers will know from the beginning whom Gia will end up with and that her little lie will probably be exposed. But she learns some thoughtful lessons along the way, such as not ot put too much stake in collecting social media "likes" and how alienating it can be when you express your true feelings.
This isn't the most original or well-constructed YA novel, but The Fill-In Boyfriend is a sweet story with smart messages that make it just a bit more satisfying.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.