The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot
- Published: October 2002
- Pages: 374
Summary from Goodreads:
“To: You (you)
From: Human Resources (email@example.com)
Subject: This Book
This is an automated message from the Human Resources Division of the New York Journal, New York City’s leading photo-newspaper. Please be aware that according to our records you have not yet read this book. What exactly are you waiting for? This book has it all:
*Heroine in peril
*Dolphin-shaped driftwood sculptures
If you wish to read about any of the above, please do not hesitate to head to the checkout counter, where you will be paired with a sales associate who will work to help you buy this book.
We here at the New York Journal are a team. We win as a team, and lose as one as well. Don’t you want to be on the winning team?
Human Resources Division
New York Journal
Please note that failure to read this book may result in suspension or dismissal from this store.
*********This e-mail is confidential and should not be used by anyone who is not the original intended recipient. If you have received this e-mail in error please inform the sender and delete it from your mailbox or any other storage mechanism.*********”
Another brain-candy book was pretty much all I could handle while I was sick earlier this week. No knitting, no TV, no podcasts, just something light and fluffy.
The Boy Next Door is told entirely through emails. I liked the idea of this method of storytelling, but I found it entertaining at first, but cumbersome for an entire novel, and other readers might also. Reading the “To:” and “From:” in each email was irritating. Necessary, but irritating. Especially since I would rather know the “From” first. But that could just be me. I struggled with the absence of date and time in the email header. Particularly in emails that could either have been a late-night confession to her best friend or an early morning just-got-in-the-office-and-had-to-tell-you email. The passage of time (apparently months) was also hard to gauge without the date. These are nitpicky things that didn’t really affect the overall story.
Cabot did a good job of creating a different voice for each character’s emails without being too varied. The characters were certainly flawed (who would agree to be someone else and then not tell the girl he falls for very quickly?), but overall fairly relatable. The number of personal emails going through work email addresses, though, and the extreme lack of professionalism in the entire office seems unbelievable, but may actually exist out there. Perhaps my work environments have just had more restraints than this fictitious newspaper.
Overall, an enjoyable read that kept me entertained. Another book that would be good for fans of early Jane Green and Bridget Jones books. Readers who liked that the character was a journalist might like the Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella.
Rating: 3 stars