To all outward appearances, Gia Montgomery has it all: she’s pretty, she’s popular, she has a close group of female friends and a cute older boyfriend who’s taking her to the prom, where she might even be crowned queen. So when the boyfriend unexpectedly breaks up with her — in the parking lot at the prom, no less — Gia panics. Her friends haven’t met him yet, and she’s sure that her frenemy, Jules, is waiting for any chance to edge her out of their friend group. So Gia decides to take desperate action. She sees a guy around her age in the parking lot, and she asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend for the next two hours. Although the guy is understandably confused by her request, he eventually agrees. And Gia’s plan actually works — so well, in fact, that he asks her to return the favor and accompany him to a party hosted by his ex-girlfriend. The problem is, the more Gia hangs out with her fill-in boyfriend, the more she really begins to fall for him. But how can she tell if he feels the same way, or if their relationship really is just an act?
I’ll admit right off the bat that this book is pure fluff, but if you don’t have particularly high expectations going in, it’s quite a fun read. I’m a fan of the fake-relationship-becomes-real plot, so I guess I was predisposed to enjoy it. But while the romance is very cute and satisfying, I was pleased to discover that there’s a little bit more substance to the book, also. I was particularly fascinated by Gia’s relationship with her group of friends. Initially, she believes she’s really close with her longtime best friends, Claire and Laney, while Jules is the interloper. But as she grows in self-awareness, she realizes that maybe things aren’t as black-and-white as she thought. The glimpses into Gia’s home life reveal that her way of dealing with conflict is to avoid it altogether. There’s a very telling moment where her friends basically tell her she’s bossy, citing the fact that she always decides where they eat lunch. Gia thought she was just making a suggestion, but her friends took it as a command and resented her for it. So in the end, Gia actually learns something about herself and takes some steps toward healthier friendships. I still wouldn’t characterize this as a particularly deep or thought-provoking read, but it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon!