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    Review of THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Meggin Cabot

    Avon Books, 2002

    Melissa (Mel) Fuller really cares about Wynona Rider and other celebrities, as well as her 80-something next door neighbor. When the neighbor gets hit on the head, Mel takes care of the pets, at least until the woman's nephew arrives. When the nephew finally shows up, it's definitely love. All of the stories about Max can't be true because Mel is sure that he's the nicest and most caring guy. After what she's been through with men, she really deserves someone who cares about animals and who won't cheat on her or lie to her. Even if he has maxed out his credit cards.

    John Trent (of the billionaire Trents) is just doing his friend Max a favor. While Max vacations with a super-model, John can ride in, help out with the pets, and let the aunt know that Max really cared, assuming she ever recovers from her coma. When John realizes that he's falling for Mel, it's too late to just tell the truth. He starts looking for the perfect time and place, but that can be tricky with a woman who has been burned by men in the past.

    Author Meggin Cabot (see more reviews of novels by Cabot) delivers narative of THE BOY NEXT DOOR as a series of e-mails sent between Mel, Mel's co-workers, Max, John, and John's family. This device makes for fast reading with lots of white space and no need for introspection or dialogue. Surprisingly, it works. Cabot's light style and clever sense of humor keeps the reader going and laughing. I would have liked to see a little (okay, maybe a lot) more justification for the initial lie--I mean, couldn't John have simply told her, 'uh, listen, my friend Max didn't want to seem like a heel when he couldn't come so he put me up to this. But now that I've met you....' Some better justification for continuing the lie would definitely have helped.

    THE BOY NEXT DOOR is pure chick-lit. Women complain among themselves that all of the men are married, gay, or dating supermodels, while living in New York and working in the literary scene (Mel is a gossip reporter for a New York journal). Fans of the genre will definitely enjoy THE BOY and those new to it will find a lot to like here.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 3/17/03

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