Early in my teaching career, Meg Cabot wrote The Princess Diaries series for tweens and teens. The books are about a New York City teenager with frizzy hair and big feet who’s minding her own business when she learns she’s royalty. Upon the discovery, she’s immediately subjected to princess lessons with her elegant and decorum-insistent grandmother. Obviously, my students and I devoured these books. Princess is an ugly-duckling story, but with enough twists and complications to make the reader genuinely care about the character.
Fast forward to this fall when TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of The Boy is Back, the latest installment in Cabot’s The Boy series for adults. I hadn’t read the accompanying books, but one doesn’t have to. I learned from Cabot’s website that the stories are loosely connected, but easily stand alone. And in the thick of the Back-to-School Crush, picking up this breezy and satisfying novel was just the ticket.
Here’s the story: Becky Flowers of Bloomville, Indiana, is a hardworking and likable small-town businesswoman. Her company, Moving Up!, helps seniors sell their family homes and relocate to retirement venues. Reed Stewart is Becky’s enigmatic ex-boyfriend. He left Bloomville in a hurry at age 18 to become a highly successful golf pro on the PGA circuit. Becky and Reed were a hot-and-heavy couple in high school, only to have one night – the night of their senior prom, no less – wreck everything.
And then! 10 years later, Reed’s parents – his dad is a prominent judge in Bloomville – garner some embarrassing press that exposes the disarray of their finances and the decay of their living situation. Reed is called back to town to help bankroll and clean up the mess, and of course, it’s Becky Flowers and Moving Up! to the rescue.
You can imagine what happens next.
And even though you totally can imagine it (and easily predict the ending), it’s still a lively and enjoyable read. Cabot tells the whole thing in a series of emails, journal entries, text messages, newspaper articles and other documents. This device, especially Becky’s “Blessings Journal,” in which she lists three things she’s grateful for before filling the reader in on the necessary backstory, creates humor and keeps the pace zipping. I liked it! I’ll probably pick up another Boy book the next time my real life is dragging me down.
You’ll like it if: You need an airplane read, a palate cleanser between weightier titles, or a bit of escapist fun.
Not so much if: You want a story that surprises you, or if you dislike light reading for whatever reason.
Many thanks to: TLC Book Tours for providing the title for me to review!