Review-Meg Cabot ‘The Boy is Back’

Meg Cabot is one of those authors that holds a special place in my heart. The Princess Diaries may be a cliched read for teenagers in the UK but I’m as cliched as they come. So when I saw this in the library I knew what I was getting in for.

This book is one of those lovely comforting books, the kind you read when you don’t want anything to go wrong and for there to be a happy ending. It doesn’t claim to be any great work of literature – and it isn’t – but it does hit that nice spot that conjures up reading under the covers at 4am to discover if Mia and Michael ever do end up together.

The method of storytelling is the most interesting part of this book, the whole thing is told through articles and transcripts of instant messages or emails or even amazon reviews from the characters. This isn’t a novel approach for Cabot, we’ve seen it in many of her books before, but to manage to tell a story entirely through these media should be applauded.

What I would criticise about this method, however, is that I think it limits how much you got into the minds of the characters, particularly the ‘boy’ in question and his romantic partner. While the insights into her ‘blessings journal’ give a hint, I was never really on board with the whole relationship, despite how often these people emailed their relatives about how they were still in love I wanted them to tell it to themselves.

Perhaps that was the point, in a world where we’re always connected via some electronic medium, is it easier to rely on others to be our sounding boards and to tell us how we feel rather than asking ourselves?

Or perhaps I’m reading too much into this? If you want a love story to take you back to your teen years then I recommend giving this a go. If you’re looking for something to change your view on literature…maybe not?

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