Posted in Read along

Meg Cabot Read-Along Discussion of THE BOY NEXT DOOR

The Meg Cabot Read-Along kicks off today with our discussion of THE BOY NEXT DOOR, the first in Meg’s “Boy” series of novels uniquely told in emails, IMs, and brief journal entries.

New York Journal gossip columnist Mel Fuller has her hands full. Her boyfriend has ‘fessed up to cheating on her, she’s just discovered next-door neighbor Mrs. Friedlander comatose on her living room floor, and now she’s taking care of said neighbor’s Great Dane and two cats. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s on her 49th tardy notice from Human Resources. Luckily, Mrs. Friedlander’s nephew Max, a famous fashion photographer, moves in next door to take over dog-walking duties while his aunt is in the hospital. Her co-workers warn Mel about Max’s reputation but she can’t understand what they are talking about and falls for him. But on the eve of a romantic weekend away, Mel receives a strange email indicating that Max may not be who he says he is. Meanwhile, Mrs. Friedlander’s accident is looking more like the work of the transvestite serial killer…or does it?



Questions for Discussion

1. What do you think about the story being told completely in email form?

Well, it was surprising and difficult to get in at first. Though I got used to it much better after some time. But it was still a bit straining compared to normal writing and chapters from one POV or the other. It is a nice innovative concept though.

2. The New York Journal office workers seem to be very involved in each other’s business. What is your office environment like and can you imagine the kinds of emails that would fly around about your love life?

Yes, they certainly were a friendly bunch of people. I haven’t worked much but I have faced completely different (read unfriendly, hostile and fake) office environments and can not even begin to imagine those kind of emails. I much rather keep my love life private for precisely those reasons.

3. The longer John keeps up the charade of being Max, the harder it is for him to tell Mel the truth. Were you sympathetic to his situation or did you think he made his own bed…? Do you think you would have responded as Mel did or would you have been more forgiving?

I was extremely sympathetic to John’s situation. I don’t think he had a way out. Well, it’s difficult to put myself in Mel’s place and at the face of it, I would say I would have been more forgiving. But on a deeper thought, I may not have been extremely forgiving but atleast I won’t have gone to the extent of putting up that article, for sure.

4. At one point Mel tells her mother she’s moving back home to tiny Lansing, Illinois. Do you think Mel could have been happy being the Arts and Entertainment correspondent at the Duane County Register?

I don’t think so at all. She had lofty goals for herself that would not have come true for her in Illinois at all. Even though she was struggling with making her editor give her more chances at the news column, she did not even have that choice in Duane County.

5. Both John and Mel are getting LOTS of advice from family and co-workers about their situation. Who did you think was the most practical? And who needed to be cold cocked like Mrs. Friedlander? What advice do you think you would get from your family in a situation like this?

I think Nadine was the most practical. And Dolly needed to be cold cocked. In a situation like this, me family would tell me to stay miles away from John. LOL!

6. What did you think about the mystery thread through the story? Did you spot the villain right away?

I liked the mystery thread in the story. To be frank, I was too involved in John-Mel love story to pay it much attention. However, a bit after the middle of the book, I could spot the villain, when I began to think about it.

7. And this one, just for fun: Do you think dolphin-shaped driftwood sculptures will catch on? 🙂

I don’t think so, at all! LOL!



Join us next on Tuesday, June 12th when we’ll discuss the next book in the MEG-nificent Read-Along, QUEEN OF BABBLE, as we count down to the long-awaited publication of the newest Heather Wells novel, SIZE 12 AND READY TO ROCK.

Follow the read-along on Twitter at the hashtag #megreadalong.



Often seen with a nose buried in a book, you might spy me at a library while 500 unread books adorn my shelf. At other times, I'm busy travelling solo, eating out or looking for my new escapades. You will always find me doing too much all at once.

4 thoughts on “Meg Cabot Read-Along Discussion of THE BOY NEXT DOOR

  1. I am headed over to Amazon to grab a copy. A driftwood dolphin statue? I would certainly hate my private life to be all the email buzz if the office. I am interested to see how this all plays out!


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