The Boy Next Door Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door is told through e-mails sent between the main characters. Mel Fuller is a gossip columnist struggling with the threat of being fired by Human Resources because of her constant tardiness. One day she finds her next door neighbor, Mrs. Friedlander, lying face down on her living-room carpet. Her neighbor's nephew, Max Friedlander is a famous photographer who does not want to leave his shoot
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to come home and take care of his aunt, so he sends his friend, John Trent to pose as him and get Mel to stop bugging him to come home. Mel immediately has a crush on John. He moves into Mrs. Friedlander's apartment to take care of her animals, and they begin to date, however John can't tell her who he really is or he will break his promise to his friend. This book is an enjoyable romantic comedy, with two charming leads, and a wonderful supporting cast of gossiping office co-workers, who just can't seem to get thier noses out of Mel's business.
The review of this Book prepared by Alexandra Kuykendall

Melissa "Call Me Mel" Fuller is the page 10 gossip columnist for the New York Journal and really wants to be able to write some serious editorials. However, her editor won't let her because Mel is one of those people who actually cares about who Winona Ryder is dating. But Mel thinks that she has a chance at selling a story to her editor when her elderly next-door neighbor, Mrs. Friedlander, is attacked, putting her in a coma in the hospital and making Mel late for work - for the 37th time that year! Her editor doesn't buy it, which is too bad, because Mel could really use someone cutting her some slack. After all, who else is going to walk Paco, Mrs. Friedlander's Great Dane, and feed her two cats?

Everyone at work tells Mel to stop being such a wimp and to dump the problem on Max Friedlander, her neighbor's playboy nephew. So Mel drops the problem in Max's lap, who promptly turns to his old college friend, John Trent, who owes him a huge favor since he stopped him from marrying that stripper in Vegas. John isn't too excited about posing as Max, even if it is only for a few days, until he meets Mel. John is instantly attracted to her and can tell that she likes him, too. There is just one problem - she thinks he is Max!

This book is just so fun to read! I read it easily in one sitting and the whole thing just flew by. The story is told in the form of emails as Mel writes her soon-to-be-married best friend, her best friend's chef of a fiance, the real Max, John the fake Max, the mean spirited human resource department at work, John's brother and sister-in-law, John's fabulously wealthy grandmother, Mrs. Friedlander's dog and cats, as well as a host of other zany characters who all seem to be way too interested in Mel's love life or lack thereof. Anyway, you will love all of the characters as they are all real people going through those crazy things that life throws at you. Mel is especially wonderful and it is so fun to see her personality shine through her emails rather than the author describing everything that is happening. If you have enjoyed any of Cabot's other tales than you know how wonderful she is! Do yourself a favor and buy this book!

The review of this Book prepared by Debbie

Mel Fuller, the 27-year-old gossip columnist of the NY Journal, discovers her elderly neighbor lying face down in the apartment next to hers. Being the conscientious Midwestern girl that she is, Mel takes on the responsibility of caring for the old woman's pets while she (the latter) lies in a coma. Mel contacts her neighbor's nephew, Max Friedlander, who instead of coming to take care of his aunt's pets sends his friend John Trent. John, 35, pretending to be Max (who is actually a crime reporter for the NY Journal's rival paper the NY Chronicle), moves in next door to care for his "auntie's" dog and cats.
So begins Mel's and John's romance. Throughout the length of this book, we meet nosy coworkers and family, as well as a transvestite serial killer. There are near-misses when John's identity comes close to the surface.
This novel is alternately sweet, funny, and outrageous. The story is told entirely through email messages sent among a network that includes the two protagonists, their coworkers, their family, and occassional random people who add to the humor. The happily-ever-after comes with the revelation of John's identity, the capture of Mrs. Friedlander's attacker, and a profession coup for Mel.
The review of this Book prepared by A Reader

Chapter Analysis of The Boy Next Door

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Hidden Identity/Secret Motive    -   Yes Is really...    -   rich/upper class    -   police/investigator If one lover chases another...    -   he chases after her

Main Male Character

Profession/status:    -   journalist Age/status:    -   20's-30's

Main Female Character

   -   20's-30's Profession/status:    -   journalist


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death What % of story is romance related?    -   70% How explicit is the sex?    -   vague references only Focus of story    -   Her

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Meggin Cabot Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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