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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
6. What did you think about the mystery thread through the story? Did you spot the villain right away?
7. And this one, just for fun: Do you think dolphin-shaped driftwood sculptures will catch on? :)
I'm looking forward to all of your answers - and please link to your own posts about THE BOY NEXT DOOR in your comments!
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.
The MEG-nificent Meg Cabot Read-Along Continues!
Follow the read-along on Twitter at the hashtag #megreadalong.