The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot
The Boy Series
Fiction, Published 2002
Read Sept.-Oct. 2008
From the Cover:
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 by aware that according to our records you have not yet read this book.
What exactly are you waiting for? This book has it all:
- Cooking tips
- Great Danes
- 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?
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The entire novel is written through emails back forth to Mel Fuller, a journalist at the New York Journal. She gets many emails from her best friend and coworker Nadine, the food critic, her boss George, the office busy-body Dolly, and more than one threatening letter from the HR department. One day as Mel is leaving her apartment for work, her next door neighbor, an elderly lady with many dogs and cats, doesn’t answer the door and Mel finds the door to be unlocked and the lady to be knocked out on the floor. She misses work to escort her neighbor to the hospital and then goes home to take care of the animals and walk the neighbor’s massive Great Dane. In the meantime, Mel receives many emails from work asking where she is and why she didn’t bother to show up. This is just the start of a who-done-it, I’m-not-who-you-think-I-am hilarious escapade that lasts the entire novel.
To set it up, it turns out the next door lady has a lot of money, but her attacker did not actually steal anything from her. So who did it and what did they want?
The elderly lady’s only next of kin is a nephew who is a famous celebrity photographer who is off on a trip with a supermodel and does not want to be bothered with the old lady’s pets. His celebrity status has also dwindled while he’s been away on vacation. The supermodel is spending all his money and he can’t seem to find anymore work.
So when Mel insistently emails him about his aunt’s condition and her pets, he enlists the help of an old buddy who owes him a favor and has him masquerade as him so that Mel will get off his back about the animals. So the buddy shows up, as the nephew, to take the animals off Mel’s hands, but little did he know when he signed up for this gig that he’d fall for the next door neighbor. The masquerade ensues…
I thought this was a fun, light, witty who-done-it and who-are-you-really romance all written through emails. My only set back was that the emails do not have any dates on them so the reader doesn’t know exactly how much time has passed…was it an hour or a day or a week? Overall, I loved the characters. They are all a little kooky and I think every office has or should have a Dolly. I look forward to the next in the series! And remember, the next time you open your email, there may be a hilarious novel just waiting in your inbox.