Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Meg Cabot is awesome

So, I have long wished that Meg Cabot and I were BFF. Earlier this summer, she wrote a blog post about why she writes the types of books she writes:

When I began writing, one of the reasons I chose the genre of romantic fiction was because romances were what saved me from being so incredibly depressed (even suicidal) about my life as a teen (that, and eventually our mother getting us all into Al-Anon, of course).

I just can’t imagine writing (or reading) a book that wasn’t romantic fiction, or at least was funny. Romantic fiction was the only thing that helped me escape when my life was the worst it ever was (and the worst I hope it ever will be).

And I vowed then that if I ever became a professional writer, I’d write books that I hoped would give readers like me a fun escape from whatever awful thing they were going through.

Yes, there are “lessons” in my books (you have to hunt for them because I hate books with heavy-handed “messages.” I try to make my “lessons” subtle, but believe me, they’re there).

But mostly, my books are written to make people feel better about their lives while not reminding them of their own horrible problems.

In the past few weeks, I've had some really rough days at work. Some were just the normal rough day of people being mean and grouchy and you know, one of those days. Some days were way rougher and included people being so mean I ended up having to give witness statements to the police.

On bad days, I have discovered that a Meg Cabot novel will pretty much instantly make me feel better. On bad days, I run over to the teen and adult side and check a bunch out, because I know they will work. And they do. That and the fact Dan makes a wicked cocktail.

The Boy Next Door Meg Cabot

Told entirely in email, this is the story of Mel, a small time girl who's landed in New York. She's a gossip columnist trying to break into real news. Meanwhile, someone attacked her elderly next door neighbor and left her in a coma. Mel's taking care of her neighbor's pets until her only living relative shows up. Max Friedlander is a selfish playboy photographer who could care less about his great-aunt's cats and dogs so he calls in a favor... John Trent was just going to walk an old lady's dog to get Max off his back, little did he expect to fall in love with the girl next door. Mel likes him, too, but what will happen when she finds out that Max is really John and not Max at all?

Meg Cabot always puts me in a good mood. This is a fast, fun, totally hilarious chick lit read. Everyone gets in on the action--John's 8-year-old nieces, random people at Mel's office, and even a supermodel. Within 5 pages, I was feeling better from my horrible day. My only complaint is that the email header didn't have a time stamp. Other email books (such as e) make good use of the time stamp for added hilarity, and I think Cabot could have done the same. Ah well, it's a minor issue.

Boy Meets Girl Meg Cabot

This is a stand alone sequel to Boy Next Door. Kate is works in HR at the New York Journal, under the Tyrannical Office Despot, Amy (who kept sending Mel all the tardy notices in Boy Next Door.) Kate's been forced to fire the ever popular dessert lady Ida, who then sues the company for breach of contract. Amy and the paper's slimy lawyer are in love, and if Kate's not careful, the same could happen with his brother, the other lawyer representing the paper. How could she like a lawyer who's against Ida and her to-die-for cookies?!

This one is told in more than just email. We get IM transcripts, receipts, journal entries, voice mails, and notes passed back and forth during meetings. We even get Ida's recipes (which I haven't tried out yet.)

I'm a big fan of books in "stuff" even if there isn't a time stamp on the email. While this isn't a sequel per se, we do find out bits and pieces about how Mel is doing. We also see more of Stacy because she's the lawyers' sister.

Every Boy's Got One Meg Cabot

Once again, a related book that tells us "what happened next" from the previous book, but isn't an actual sequel.

Jane's best friend Holly is eloping to Italy to marry her boyfriend Mark and Jane's coming to be a witness. Unfortunately, Mark's best friend Cal is also coming and Cal's a classic Type A modelizing jerk who doesn't believe in marriage and will do all he can to stop the wedding from actually happening. Unless Jane can stop him.

Like Boy Meets Girl this has a lot more than just IM. More journal than anything, because even though all four main characters are connected to the New York Journal and the other characters we know and love, they'll all in Italy and removed from the situation.

Even better was the back material which tells us that the elopement to Italy and the hilarity that ensued was highly based on Cabot's own elopement to Italy, with a full run down of what was real and what wasn't.

All-American Girl Meg Cabot

Sam is a goth girl in DC who is wallowing in loserville (which is made worse by the fact her sister is super-popular). To make matters worse, she's completely in love with her sister's boyfriend. One day, while cutting the stupid art class her parents are making her take as a punishment for getting a C in German, Sam ends up saving the life of the President and is now a national hero. Sam doesn't feel like a hero. She just acted, she didn't think, so it wasn't even scary at the time. There was no bravery, just instinct. What she really needs bravery for is dealing with the complications that come from her friendship with the President's son. He's pretty obviously into her, but she's in love with her sister's boyfriend, right?

I love how many of Meg Cabot's heroines are total dorks, but awesome at the same time. Well yes, you can be awesome and still write Battlestar Gallactica fanfic, even if your hair is a nightmare and the popular girls hate you. At least, you can in Meg Cabot's world. Her books might be light and fun and fluffy but she still does have some really strong female characters (ok, not Princess Mia, but the others!) and sneaks awesome girl power messages in under the wire.

In this book, I most loved Sam's other sister (not the one with the boyfriend) who is 11 and definitely lacks social skills, so she has been reading romance novels in an attempt to learn some. Hysterical!

Minor complaint? As someone who drives across DC twice a day, I do not see nearly as many motorcades as Sam does. Especially Presidential ones. I only saw the Presidential motorcade once. The most extreme motorcade I ever saw involved the Queen of England and First Lady Laura Bush. Then there was the really weird one I saw a few months ago that involved a lot of coach buses filled with senior citizens. They had more police protection and black sedans than the Queen! But then again, they shut down the entire highway for the Queen. They didn't do that for the coach buses.

Most annoying are the small motorcades of people going to the Capitol during morning rush hour. They don't stop traffic, but you can't cut in the middle of a motorcade and they drive soooooooooooooooo slowly. I always want to know who's inside so I know to NEVER VOTE FOR THEM AGAIN. If you're important enough to get a motorcade, then you wield enough power to be all "you know what? Why don't we not meet until 10, so then the regular people trying to get to work won't be caught in this." Jerks.

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