Bibliophile reviews Every Boy’s Got One (romance)

Author: Meg Cabot
Year published: 2005
Genre: Romance
Setting: Italy, 21st century

The Story: Cartoonist Jane and foreign reporter Cal agree to accompany their eloping friends Holly and Mark to Italy to be their bridesmaid and best man. They take a violent dislike to each other at first sight and when Jane discovers that Cal doesn’t believe in marriage and intends to try to talk his friend out of marrying Holly, she likes him even less. But when a bout of food poisoning almost ruins the wedding plans and Jane and Cal have to rush to Rome to get some papers for the bridal couple, they get to know and understand each other better on the way.

Technique and plot: Like all the other Meg Cabot novels I’ve read, this is an epistolatory story. Jane writes in her diary, Cal writes on his PDA, and they both email back and forth with friends and family. The epistolatory form is Cabot’s specialty and she does it well. Managing to convey different personalities through a few lines of e-mail is no easy task, but she accomplishes it so well that once all the characters have been introduced, you hardly have to read the “from” line to know who is speaking. I do have to nag just a little: I though it was stretching things a bit too far when Jane was transcribing her arguments with Cal as they were happening. I know I would find it rather difficult to keep up a sensible conversation, let alone a heated argument, while doing so (plus who writes that fast?), and so would most people.

One thing that I don’t get is the titles of Cabot’s adult novels: Every Boy’s Got One, The Boy Next Door, Boy Meets Girl. Not only are they bland in the extreme, they just scream “teen-lit”, and while older teen girls would certainly enjoy reading them (once they get tired of The Princess Diaries), they are in fact written for an older audience.

As is Cabot’s wont, the story is funny, verging on slapstick at times, but still manages to be totally believable (except perhaps for the Nazi housekeeper). The story is shorter, faster and snappier than The Boy Next Door and Boy Meets Girl, the other two books where she chronicles the love lives of the staff of the New York Journal. While the storyline is hardy original, it doesn’t matter because it’s entertaining and very funny.

Rating: A fast and funny romance for the e-mail generation. 3+ stars.


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