The Boy Next Doo

BOY MEETS GIRL

Meg Cabot, Author . Avon Trade $13.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-008545-2

This latest adult novel by the prolific Cabot (she's responsible for the über-popular Princess Diaries franchise) unfolds, like 2002's The Boy Next Doo r, entirely through e-mails, journals, instant messages, phone mail, deposition transcripts, notes scribbled on menus, to-do lists and other hallmarks of a modern girl's life. Kate Mackenzie, an idealistic HR representative at the New York Journal , has just been forced by her evil boss, Amy Jenkins, to fire Ida Lopez, the wildly popular dessert cart lady at the company cafeteria. Ida bakes delectable goodies, but she won't serve them to priggish Stuart Hertzog, the paper's legal counsel, who happens to be engaged to Amy, known as the T.O.D. (tyrannical office despot) to Kate and her best friend and co-worker Jen. Sweet Ida sues for wrongful termination, and Stuart charges his younger brother, Mitch, with handling this delicate matter. But Mitch actually cares about justice more than his brother's bitchy fiancée (he's only working at the family firm at his sick father's request), and he quickly confounds Kate's expectations with his Rocky and Bullwinkle tie and "tie-him-to-the-bed" good looks. When the T.O.D. tries to lay the blame for her HR blunder on Kate, Mitch goes to the furthest reaches of lawyerly chivalry to save his ladylove. Studded with humorous details poking fun at social climbers and corporate drones, this book is less a novel than a collection of lighthearted barbs, gleeful clichés and panicky (but comic and brief) freakouts. Cabot's 20-something fans will likely devour this fluffy, fun urban fairy tale. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/17/2003
Release date: 01/01/2004
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