Written by: Meg Cabot
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
February 2005, $9.99
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Chick Lit
Cartoonist Jane Harris is delighted by the prospect of her first ever trip to Europe. But its hate at first sight for Jane and Cal Langdon, and neither is too happy at the prospect of sharing a villa with one another for a week – not even in the beautiful and picturesque Le Marche countryside. But when Holy and Mark’s wedding plans hit a major snag that only Cal and Jane can repair, the two find themselves having to put aside their mutual dislike for one another in order to get their best friends on the road to wedded bliss – and end up on a road themselves…one neither of them expected.
As a whole I’m not really a huge fan of the genre called chick lit. That being said I also don’t really go to romantic comedies in the theater either. Which is funny because I really am a die hard romantic. But rom coms are the same almost everywhere: boy meets girl, quirks arise but so does love, lovely bliss but then one of them does something stupid or a complication arises, and finally happily ever after. The names change as do the little subplots, but as I said they are generally a bit the same. There are a few who choose to change it up a a bit or bring something new to the table (I like those ones), but it is rare. The chick lit genre seems to be bodice ripper lite. The heaving bosoms, paperback romance Fabios, and thin plot lies seem to be replaced with wit, modern sensibilities, and a lot of fluff. This is not necessarily a bad thing though. Yes I am the kind of girl that prefers blazing guns, thrills and even gore over smoochie smoochies, but I would also be lying if I said I didn't dip into the cotton candy genre every now and again. As long as you know what you are getting into, you cannot complain when it turns out to be exactly that.
Sometimes you need a cotton candy fix as I said. Its light, airy, you don’t have to think too hard, its sweet, entertaining and yet forgettable soon after you are done. The same can be said about certain big movie blockbusters that I totally pay for. They are all guilty pleasures but that doesn't make them bad. They are just not Oscar winners or Books of the Year. Now I have read Meg Cabot before, but the YA series she has done (The Mediator series and Missing series). Felling in a bit of a genre rut and wanting to read outside the boxes, I decided to give this a go. How bad could it be right?
Jane Harris, cartoonist of Wondercat, is excited to be going to Europe with her best friend Holly and her soon to be elopement partner in crime Mark. Italy is incredibly romantic and Jane is more than excited. Unfortunately you need a best man/2nd witness as well as this means that Mark’s best friend Cal Langdon will be going as well. It is loathing at first sight for Cal and Jane. While Jane is more than happy to see Holly and Mark get married, Cal thinks it is insane and openly states his lack of trust in love and marriage as a whole. Plus despite being a supermodel dating, award wining journalist he apparently has never heard of her comic strip which is about to optioned for Cartoon Network. Unfolding through a series of journal entries, texts, emails, etc, the story is full of one adventure after another on the road to wedded bliss and loathing turned to attraction.
Things I loved: It was a quick fun read and as my expectations weren't high and lofty, it did meet those. I haven't really read any of Meg Cabot’s adult work and this filled the cotton candy fix that I was craving. One of the things I liked was the modern epistolary romance. While yes it is a bit difficult to believe that the characters are handwriting, texting, emailing everything even while conversations are going on, it was kind of cute and clever. Its one of those quirks that you forgive I suppose.
I loved some of the secondary characters like Jane’s teenage fan or the emails from parents of both Holly and Mark. I also loved the travelogue quality which is to be expected since Meg had her own version of the story when she got married some years ago. And while yes it was fluffy and full of fairly one dimensional characters it was exactly what I expected it to be. Of course this doesn't mean that I cant be a little disappointed, which brings me to....
Things I didn't love so much: While I knew that our leads loathing would turn to love, that transition didn't work for me. It was a bit too quick and I found it hard to suspend my disbelief (yes I did it for all of the texting, writing, etc) because of how forced it seemed. Also Jane annoyed the crap out of me. No girl can be that vapid. Sure I love discussing my geeky loves more than I do politics, it however does not mean that I am completely clueless to the world beyond my own personal space. Sure we can discuss Revenge or Fringe or why the Hunger Games movie is probably going to ruin my favorite trilogy of books, but I can also go beyond that. Jane was a shoe obsessed woman that is so stereotypical, then again so was Cal (the tortured, wounded in love jet-setter who needs a good normal woman to sweep him off his feet). But seriously we are supposed to believe that Jane is a successful cartoonist? Instead she was an airhead who spent all of her time obsessed with romance, fashion and makes the worst assumptions about people. Really? That is the modern woman? She is one jumble of feminine stereotypes which is frustrating because I found myself loathing her. But what was I expecting, a sweeping love story that was all about a romance and character development than it was anything else. No. I knew what I was getting into and yet I cannot help but wish there was more to it.
Buy or Borrow: Borrow.
Part of: A series. The Boy Series
Book One: The Boy Next Door
Book Two: Boy Meets Girl
Book Three: Every Boy’s Got One
Also Recommended: I enjoyed Austenland by Shannon Hale. Other authors to recommend are Sophie Kinsella, and Helen Fielding. For Meg Cabot I would recommend her Mediator series which I still like.
2.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks
The Soundtrack for this Post: Oceans by Puscifer, A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, Lost and Found by Katie Herzig and Gimme Sympathy by Metric.