Gossip columnist and single New York City girl Mel lives lives in the most exciting place in the world, yet she’s bored with her lovelife. But things get interesting fast when the old lady next door is nearly murdered. Mel starts paying closer attention to her neighbors—what exactly is going on with the cute boy next door? Has Mel found the love of her life—or a killer?
Rowena: I went to breakfast with my friend Tasha a couple of weeks ago and we spent most of our breakfast discussing the books we were reading. So because we read a lot of the same books and because Book Binge is never far from my mind, I asked Tasha to buddy review a book with me each month for Book Binge and just like that, we were off. Our first buddy review book was The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot. It’s a book that is near and dear to my heart (because duh, it’s Meg Cabot) but it was new read for Tasha. I thought it would be interesting to discuss this book with her so here we are.
Alright Tasha, it didn’t take me very long to read this book and when I finally finished it, I was reminded why I love Meg Cabot so much. She never fails to write those books that just entertain the socks off of you.
What were your first impressions of the book?
Tasha: My first impression, hmmm…well, after reading the first 5 to 6 emails, I began to wonder if I could actually finish this. I mean, a whole story read through emails, I wasn’t sure. But I got used to it and found myself REALLY liking the book. This was a first Meg Cabot read for me and I enjoyed it very much.
Rowena: I know what you mean. I first heard about Meg Cabot and this book told in all emails a few years ago by my friend from Australia, Grace. She came down to visit way back in I think 2005 and we were at the bookstore looking for books and this was the book that she was looking for. I had never read a book entirely written in emails but I completely embraced the idea and picked this book up as soon as I could (they didn’t have it in stock at the B&N that we went to). As soon as I read it, I was glad that I did because it was such a fun book.
This re-read didn’t take anything away from my previous enjoyment of this book. I loved it all over again (which I’m happy about since a lot of my favorite books from back in the day are not holding up for me) and seeing John and Mel get to know each other and then fall in love while Mel believes John to be someone else? It made for a great read. Meg Cabot sure knows how to entertain.
What were some of your favorite parts of the book?
Tasha: That’s hard to say. I like the relationship she has with her boss George. If only my boss was as cool as he was. I mean, he tried to sound like a big bad guy, but I think his “bark was worse than his bite”, lol. There was this one part in the book where Mel and Nadine were emailing back and forth about John (after she found out who he really is) and George was being nosey and trying to read Mel’s email. She had purposely wrote something about him because she knew he was reading it,
“ ‘Are ,you kidding? George Sanchez is the sexiest man alive. Any man with that much hair on his back has to be a veritable repository of testosterone…’ HA, GEORGE! CAUGHT YOU!!!!” (pg 164)
That was one of my LOL moments. The characters here were so likeable that it was easy to follow along with the emails and capture everyone’s different personalities. How could you not be sucked in by Mel’s personality. Her response to George and the HR representative, Amy Jenkins just has her character written all over it. And I really really like John. I only wish he was man enough to come clean much sooner and told Mel the truth. But of course, it that happened, then it would’ve been a SUPER SHORT story!
Being that you’ve read other books from Meg Cabot, what would you sets this particular story aside from the others?
Rowena: I agree. I loved Mel’s character. I loved the way that she dealt with everyone at work, her soft heart where her neighbor was concerned and how close she got to what was the dog’s name again? Paco? She was such a giving character, who didn’t let people walk all over her and her personality just rocked my socks. I think my favorite scenes in this book were her responses to Amy Jenkins. And well, her emails about Max aka John. LOL.
What were your thoughts on Max? What a loser that guy turned out to be. When he first comes onto the scene and he’s more concerned with spending a week with a model instead of his Aunt in a coma, I hated his guts. And that model chick he wanted to spend time with? Ugh, what a freaking airhead.
Oh, I forgot. One of my favorite emails was the one John sent to his brother telling him about his first meeting with Mel as Max.
To: Jason Trent <email@example.com>
From: John Trent <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: How’d it Go?
She’s a redhead. Help.
Haha, oh man I adored John. The obvious affection he had with his brother Jason made me laugh and swoon because one guy is great but two hot brothers? Yum! I LOVED them.
Tasha: Oh yeah, you could tell the sincerity of Jason’s concern for his brother at the beginning of this whole fiasco. Its nice to see that brotherly love. But what about John’s sister-in-law Stacy (Jason’s wife), wasn’t she the BEST? I loved her and I loved the emails between her and John. Some of the CRAZY advice she gave him also had me LOL! I liked that she was pregnant during all of this because it made her more human…blaming all her crazy advice to her hormones, ha! I loved her even more when she forward that email to Mel explaining John’s true feelings for her and the situation.
As for stinking Max, he was a big ka-ka head!!! I mean, who does that…throw a fit because your rich aunt wouldn’t give you money and accidently knock her to the floor AND leave her there to bleed to death? I tell you who…Max Friedland! He got everything he deserved in the end. Broke and no chance of getting any of his aunts money, hehe! I felt sorry for Vivica. She seemed like she really liked that loser. And yeah, I think she was somewhat of an airhead but it wasn’t like she knew anything about what Max had done. Its funny, I pictured Max as some cheesy looking Don Johnson (Miami Vice days) wanna be. You know the type that thinks he’s a real lady’s man, and dresses himself like he’s got plenty of money to throw around, when really he’s nothing! That’s what I thought of Max.
Rowena: Yep. Don Johnson for sure, I mean he wanted John to wear tassles on his shoes during his first meeting with Mel. What the hell? LOL. But you’re right, Stacy was pretty awesome. All of the characters in this book were kind of awesome. What happened with Max made me laugh because that was what he got for being stupid…and selfish.
I loved the characters, the story and the pacing. The story moves at a fast pace so there isn’t time for you to become bored, which is something that I appreciated. Meg Cabot does well with the stories on the lighter side of the emotional train but she does it in a way that still tugs at your heart strings. This book was so full of win that I’d gladly read it over and over again. How about you?
This definitely gets a 4.75 out of 5 from me.
Tasha: I agree, the characters were ah-mazing! They made the story more interesting for me. The different emails back and forth, to different recipients, I was looking forward to ‘em. And I suppose it did make the story go by faster. Definitely a great read for me and I’ll be picking up more from this author.
This being my first Meg Cabot read, I’d give this a 4.5 out of 5.
Thanks for choosing a great book Rowena!
Rowena: …and I think we’re done! Thanks for reviewing this book with me, Tash. You rock! What’s our next book? Your turn to choose.
Tasha: This was fun! Thanks for inviting me to do this. It’s something different and I really enjoyed it
My pick: Charade by Nyrae Dawn
Rowena: Thanks for doing this with me, I love talking books with my favorite book people! Next month Tasha and I will be reading and discussing Charade by Nyrae Dawn on Book Binge. See you next month!