Blog Tour: The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty

The Stand-In Boyfriend (Grove Valley High, #1)  
  Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend
  Author: Emma Doherty
  Release Date: March 12, 2019
Livy Chapman is in love with Jessie Stephenson. It’s that simple. She has been for years but he only see’s her as his best friend. His best friend who copies her homework, relies on her to bail him out of trouble and who he hooks up with other girls in front of.

Enough is enough and when Chase Mitchell, star of the soccer team, and all round Mr. Popular steps in and convinces her that they can do each other a favour by pretending to date, Livy is just crazy enough over Jessie to agree to it.

I mean, Chase is just her stand-in boyfriend. Nothing could go wrong. Right?
Pretend relationships will always be my favorite trope. I swear - nothing can compare to the main characters pretending that they like each other and then slowly and actually starting to like each other! I love the awkwardness, the forced proximity, and all the fake hugs and kisses, and I love how the characters are then forced to get to know each other to prove to other people that their fake relationship is real. I just can't get enough of this trope! As soon as I saw the blurb for The Stand-In Boyfriend, I may or may have not screeched. A YA contemporary with a fake relationship! I haven't read one in ages. Sign me up!

The Stand-In Boyfriend starts with us getting to know our heroine, Livy, and her best friends Sophie and Jessie. Livy has been in love with Jessie since they were children, and she's desperate for Jessie to see her as a girl, and not just as his best friend. They all attend a party, and Livy knows this is her chance to show Jessie what he has been missing. Livy dresses up to impress Jessie, and while there was a moment where Livy thought their relationship was shifting, she later on catches him making out (and more) with his on and off again girlfriend, Courtney. Chase, the most popular boy in school, sees Livy upset and proposes that they pretend to be in a relationship to make Jessie jealous, and to finally convince Abigail, Chase's on and off again girlfriend, to leave him alone. It takes a few weeks and a few awkward encounters, but Livy eventually agrees.

I love my fluffy YA contemporaries, and the first half of this book is just that. We have Livy unsure if she wants to take up Chase's offer, and we have so many cute moments between the two of them. A kiss in the middle of the school cafeteria? Yes please! The build up between Chase and Livy is slow and steady, and once we hit the second half of the book, we get all the angst! I normally don't like angst in romance, but in YA, I love angst. The angst is realistic, since teenagers of course make mistakes more than most people, and because all our characters have complicated relationships with each other. Livy and Sophie have a great relationship - Sophie always has Livy's back, and she's encouraging Livy to explore her feelings for Chase. This in turn complicates both Livy and Sophie's friendship with Jessie, who is jealous of Chase. Chase and Livy's fake relationship also causes friction between Chase and Abigail who have always been friends despite their on and off status. And of course, we have Livy and Chase, who start to become good friends themselves. And of course, sooner or later, Livy starts to confuse what's real versus what' not. Ah, our characters certainly do weave a tangled web!

I particularly liked how Doherty compared and contrasted how Livy acted with Chase as opposed to how she acted with Jessie. With Chase, Livy is strong. Chase lends her strength, and through his unwavering support, Livy is the best version of herself with him. With Jesse however, Livy is almost a different person. She prioritizes his needs before hers, and she always excuses his laziness and insensitivity. Livy was wearing rose-colored glasses in regards to Jessie throughout the book - I wanted nothing more than for her to see just how much Jessie is taking advantage of her. Jesse was so frustrating to read about, and while Livy thinks of him as a good friend, I was eager for her to see what else is in front of her.

All in all, I enjoyed reading The Stand-In Boyfriend. It didn't hit me until when I was reading it just how much I missed YA contemporary. I miss reading about characters making mistakes and learning from them - which this book had in spades. I also loves the subjects Doherty explored. Other than fake relationships and unrequited love, Doherty also tackled toxic friendships and anxiety, and in doing so, she was able to add a little more depth to the story. I do think that the ending was a bit rushed, but I guess that's because we have another book in the series. I hope we get more Livy and Chase!

Rating: 4 Stars

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1 comment

  1. This book sounds absolutely adorable and right up my alley! I am writing it down now so that I can eventually read it! Great review!


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