Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot

I first read Mag Cabot when she started putting out her Princess Diaries books. I read them along with my then young daughter and we both thoroughly enjoyed the sweet, fairy tale of discovering you are royalty. Cabot then went on to break into the world of adult fiction but I didn't really follow along, consumed as I was with other reading obligations. When I saw this latest of Cabot's chick lit romances, I decided I needed to see if she captures the adult world as well as she did the awkward teenaged ugly duckling world.  Not quite but still mostly enjoyable.

When the most prominent citizens in small Bloomville, Indiana, Judge and Mrs. Stewart, are arrested for dining and ditching at a local restaurant, the story is set in motion. That they didn't truly dine and ditch but tried to pay their bill with a stamp they thought was worth $400 but was actually only worth $4, suggests that there's something more troubling going on than the surface suggests and their three grown children are going to have to intervene. This means that PGA tour pro Reed Stewart is going to have to come back to town. He's been gone for 10 years, after an incident on prom night with his girlfriend Becky Flowers caused a rupture in the family. Becky has stayed in town, inheriting her family's moving business and becoming a specialist in moving seniors. The Stewart children hire Moving Up!, Becky's company, to help their parents transition out of their long time home. And this means that Becky will come face to face with Reed, her first love. As Becky tackles the hoarding in the Stewart's once beautiful, now deteriorating, home, she and Reed banter back and forth, eventually discovering the extent of the Stewarts' surprising and hidden financial problems even as they try to decide if they should allow a rekindling of their feelings for each other.

The novel is told completely through texts, emails, online product feedback, new articles, and Becky's blessings journal. It definitely captures the way we communicate with each other today. But this formatting also highlights the superficial nature of so many of our interactions with each other. The depth of feeling of a more traditional narrative is lacking and even the larger issues brought up here, taking financial advantage of seniors, failing parental expectations, eccentricity versus a sign of something more sinister, are all dealt with on a very surface level.  In fact, what is presaged to be a sad mental deterioration turns out to be nothing at all, which is frustrating for the reader.  The Stewart family is dysfunctional but they are entertaining to read about, especially brother Marshall and his wife Carly.  Sister Trimble is definitely less appealing as a character and less present in the story.  Reed's siblings, Becky's best friend and sister, and Becky's wine shop owning, cheesemonger lumbersexual boyfriend are all a treat. The end is never in doubt and the smallish mystery is no mystery to the reader. The overall predictability is a little disappointing and I'm not entirely sold on a novel told exclusively through social media but, in general, this ends up being a cute, fluffy, and easy read.

For more information about Meg Cabot and the book, check out her author website, read her blog, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Also, check out the book's Good Reads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the HarperCollins for sending me a copy of this book to review.

1 comment:

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts