The Boy Next Door

Oh, Meg Cabot. I haven’t read your books in so long and I deeply regret that now.  I’m so glad I got this thrift shopping.


Rating: 4 Stars
Published: 2002
Genre: Adult Fiction
Favorite Quote: 

“Aaron, in order to die you have to live a little first.”

Told only through emails, The Boy Next Door, is the laugh out loud tale of Melissa Fuller.  Mel is a New Yorker, a gossip columnist, and a good neighbor.  When her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Friedlander, was attacked in her apartment, Mel drops what she’s doing to make sure she gets help.  Between going to the hospital and walking the woman’s Great Dane and feeding the cats, Mel has her hands full.  Her boss is not amused that she keeps showing up to work late to take care of animals that are not her own.

That’s when Mel decides to contact Mrs. Friedlander’s only relative, her nephew, Max Friedlander, a photographer and playboy to come take care of the animals. When Max gets the news, he is characteristically unconcerned seeing as he is in the Keys with a hot supermodel. Instead of returning to New York as Mel thought, he sends his buddy in his place.  John Trent owed Max a huge favor.  John, thinking this would be the easiest way to get Max off his back because of that one night in Vegas, agrees. Little did he know he would be attracted to Mel. Things get complicated when they start dating and Mel thinks that he’s Max.  Not to mention that Mrs. Friedlander’s attacker is still on the loose!

This was seriously laugh out loud funny. Reading this book reminded me of Sophie Kinsella. Except that Sophie excels at writing ridiculous awkward encounters that make me cringe. While, Meg’s encounters are more subtle but they pack the same punch.

I read this book in just a couple of hours late at night. I couldn’t put it down. Because of the style of emails, the book reads very fast. I was glad I wasn’t reading this in public because I was smiling the entire time I wasn’t laughing. This is such a light-hearted and fun book to read. The only thing that bugged me was that I really didn’t get a sense of time. There was no time & date stamps on the emails so, at times, it was a little disorienting. I don’t think it took anything away from the book but it was just something that I noticed. I loved reading the emails between all the secondary characters and especially the other workers at the office.  It added so much to the story that we could see who other characters like John’s sister-in-law, Mel’s best friend, Nadine, and even Mel’s boss were emailing throughout the entire story. It really filled out the little piece of New York that Meg was writing about. I thought the way the characters talked about sex was really realistic as well. There were many different viewpoints and the characters struggled a little bit with their decisions.

Also, props to Meg for writing about body positivity before it was cool. I loved reading about Nadine’s struggle with her body image because I could relate to it so much. On that note, my next Meg Cabot book will probably be Size 12 is Not Fat (if I can find it. My mom bought it years ago but where in the world is it? I cannot say. Hope I find it soon!)


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