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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 May 2004
As a great fan of Meg Cabot's wonderful Princess Diaries, I was doubtful whether she could be as funny writing for adults, but she is. This is an hilarious story, told entirely in e-mails. Mel is a gossip columnist on a New York newspaper. When her next-dorr-neighbour, elderly Mrs Freidlander, is knocked on the head and endus up in hospital, Mel is stuck with caring for her two cats and Great Dane. She contacts Mrs Freidlander's nephew Max to come and take over. Max however doesn't want to give up his holiday with supermodel Vivica, so her persuades his reluctant friend John Trent to take his place and pretend to be him (Max doesn't want to be cut out of auntie's will, she is very, very rich). Of course, Mel and John get to know each other and start to fall in love, but John is afraid to tell Mel the truth, especially as he is a reporter on a hated rival newspaper. The e-maile exchanges become more and more complex as Mel's love life is discussed freely by all her friends at the newspaper office.(Dolly, the outrageous fashion editor, is particularly funny). John dithers over whether or not to tell Mel the truth, while at the same time doing some investigating into the mysterious attack on Mrs Friedlander. The book reaches a climax with Mel's spectacularly clever and funny revenge oh John when she discovers the truth. This is a very, very funny book, and it would probably make a good film, though I am appalled at a previous reviewer's suggestion of Meg Ryan and Hugh Grant for the leads. I could not bear to see awful, simpering Meg Ryan playing the delightful Mel (anyhow, she's too old for the part),and Hugh Grant, though not as irritating as Meg Ryan, is not at all suitable to play John.
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on 13 November 2015
Very addictive reading as you would expect with a book told in the format of emails sent to and from the main characters. Mel is very likeable with her sweet and caring nature. The storyline was interesting enough - plenty of mystery and romance to keep the reader entertained. The only bit that didn't work was when Mel was emailing a transcript of a conversation whilst it was happening - no-one would do that considering the tense situation!
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Melissa Fuller has managed to rack up dozens of tardies, but this time, her excuse is a really good one, albeit unique. She has discovered her elderly neighbor lying comatose, the apparent survivor of the city's current serial killer, the transvestite killer. Mel now feels responsible for taking care of the old lady's dog while she lies in the hospital, and walking the giant dog with a pea sized bladder is causing serious complications to her life. With the assistance of well meaning friends, she tracks down the woman's one living relative, Max, a nephew, and contacts him to come help with the dog, and see his dying aunt.
Max is, however, a selfish SOB, who had rather complete his vacation with a Victoria's Secret supermodel than come walk a great dane and visit an old, but rich relative. Thus, he calls in a favor and enlists John Trent to impersonate him so that should his aunt awaken, she won't think him the uncaring cad he really is. Reluctantly, John agrees, and immediately finds himself falling for Mel. The attraction is mutual, but the matter of his deception lies between them. What will happen should Mel find out that "Max" is John?
***** In this hilarious tale told via email messages, Ms. Cabot has created a GRIFFIN AND SABINE for the new generation. We get to see all sides of the story as Mel and John's friends and families communicate their varied opinions of the whole situation. From Mel's newly emailing parents, to her catty coworker who has inherited her exboyfriend, to the supermodel Max is dating, we are charmed by the situation that is so unbelieveable that it could be real. If this were a movie, Meg Ryan and Hugh Grant would be the ideal stars.
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on 4 August 2004
If you are someone like me who is escapist and young at heart this book can not fail to please. I read it in one go and was disappointed when it finished. I can truly say I have not enjoyed a book like that for a long time. If you are a serious reader it may not appeal. But I loved it thouroughly and utterly.
Thank you to Meg Cabot for this wonderfully entertaining story.
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on 20 September 2007
I should start by saying that I am probably not the intended audience for what some would call "chic lit" but I have to tell you as a 39 year old man this book made me laugh out loud more than any other I have ever read! The novel way of telling the story (through a collection of emails) makes it a page turner extraordinaire and sorry to use a cliche but I honestly couldn't put it down, it was that good! If I had to make one complaint it would be that I would have liked to have seen more of the character of Dolly Vargas, a camp, over the top "Ab Fab" kind of woman whose emails were so funny I cried in places. I will definitely be reading the 2 other novels in this series now and would recommend them to anyone, male, female and any age. Absolutely superb!
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on 9 June 2004
I've read it many times and it still makes me smile
I love the way it's written (emails, voicemail messages etc.)
and be real here; doesnt anybody like (secretly) to read other people's mails? it's a very funny story, the characters are very realistic and well, it's just a great book!
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on 18 November 2003
I picked this book up in Orlando Airport prior to an 8-hour flight back to the U.K. and devoured it in one sitting. I have become a real fan of Meggin Cabot and cannot wait to read more of her work.I only wish that she would continue Mel Fuller's story in subsequent books - I am confident that there is market for this. This has to be the best book that I have read in ages. It is so true of the age we live in and for those of us who live 4,000 miles from home and keep up with everyone via e-mail, an absolute joy to read.
One of my favourite aspects was Dolly, the eavesdropping, oversexed co-worker who manages to poke her nose into everyone's business by way of the handicapped cubicle in the ladies room. I can visualise all of the characters and have found myself comparing my own colleagues to these fantastic characters.
Please Meggin, more of this story and in this style. Please say that this is not just a one-off!!!!
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on 20 December 2002
Melissa Fuller is a fashion reporter whose neighbour, Mrs Friedlander, was attacked and remains in coma. Max, the old lady's relative, gets email from Mel who asks him to take care of his aunt's pets but it's not his nature to be that good. That's when Jack, a crime reporter of Mel's rival paper, has to pretend to be Max in order to repay his old friend. Jack moves in and falls in love with Mel. Problem is Mel does not know who he is--a guy from a wealthy family--and then, he discovers that his (fake) aunt was attacked by a copycat. Their relationship is fantastic so Jack plans to propose and confess when his lie is exposed. Jack will have to try winning Mel back while Mel is getting closer to the one who attacked her lady neighbour.
Cabot writes this story amusingly in the form of emails among friends, relatives and bosses, carefully weaving a 21st-century fairy tale full of humour, friendship and a little bit of suspense. You know it will have a happy ending but you still cannot put it down. Cabot steps up from 'cool-teen' to 'not-too-adult' style which can entertain both teens and adults. It's a fancy with reality check, a love story with crime scence. No long (and sometimes boring) details about places, things, events. You visualize the story from email communication---like reading diaries in the old time. I recommend this book for those who want happy thoughts and relaxation. Don't worry that it will bore you once you know the plot already---This is Cabot's writing! She knows how to hook you on.
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on 14 June 2010
Firstly, I'd better mention that this book was previously published under the title The Guy Next Door, and the author has published it under two versions of her name: Meggin Cabot and Meg Cabot.

If this novel had been written by most other writers, I probably wouldn't have been interested in it. I know a lot of people love storylines about false identities and general web-weaving, but I get easily squicked by the embarrassment of such situations. Not here, though. Meg Cabot's writing style is so smooth, light and funny that there's rarely ever a time I really feel embarrassed for John, the crime reporter (from a rival newspaper to the one Mel works for, no less) who has to pretend to be somebody else, while falling in love.

Comprised entirely of emails, and with an interesting cast including far more than just the central characters (I'm rather fond of Stacy, John's pregnant and sex-obsessed sister-in-law) we get to see all different perspectives on the situation. Oh, and Mel's reactions - and revenge - when she finally discovers the deception are hilarious.

It's definitely a feel-good read, and like many of Cabot's novels, I'm left with the feeling that somebody should really snap up the movie rights. It would make a fabulous rom-com.
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on 4 June 2004
this is another excellent book by meg cabot, and fans of her other books (princess diaries, boy meets girl, all american girl) will enjoy this, even though it is classed as an adult book.
it tells the story of mel fuller, who finds her elderly neighbor face down on the floor of her flat. her neighbors only relative (her great nephew) cannot be bothered to come and look after her, so he asks his friend from college, (who owes him from saving his ass on holiday in vegas) to pose as him so he does not have to go.
mel does not expect to fall in love with "max" but when she does, she realises he is not who she thought he was.
this book is very, very good, and i would reccommend it to adults and teenagers alike.
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