Blog Tour Review: The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour Review: The Boy Is Back by Meg CabotThe Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot
Series: Boy #4
Published by William Morrow on October 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: TLC Book Tours
AmazonThe Book Depository
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four-half-stars

In this brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a scandal brings a young man back home to the small town, crazy family, and first love he left behind.

Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small town troubles—including a broken heart—behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit. Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return . . . with a vengeance.

Becky Flowers has worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him when he returns—until his family hires her to save his parents.

Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another—or the memories of that one fateful night. And soon everything they thought they knew about themselves (and each other) has been turned upside down, and they—and the entire town of Bloomville—might never be the same, all because The Boy Is Back.

As a general rule, I’m suspicious of authors who return to series many years later. I’m a big fan of authors having a series planned out when they start book one, because that’s how you get a truly amazing series. With Meg Cabot, though, it’s been nothing but a joy having her revisit so many of her early series: Royal Wedding in the Princess Diaries series and Remembrance in the Mediator series, in addition to The Boy Is Back. For one thing, her books have never been planned out and plot-centered, with the aim being fun more than seamlessness. For another, she brings everything she’s learned in her years of writing since to these returns to familiar territory. For that reason, The Boy Is Back is by far my favorite of the Boy series.

Over the course of less than a week, I reread all of the Boy books before reading The Boy Is Back for the first time. I’d not read the originals since I was in high school and they were new. I loved most everything Meg Cabot wrote at the time, but coming back to them was an experience. They’re definitely fun and unputdownable, but they’re also one hundred percent products of their time, with the end result being that you get some unfortunate things like slut-shaming and bad LGBT rep. One thing you can say definitively about Meg Cabot, though, is that she learns along with the larger community, and there’s nothing like that in The Boy Is Back. Every Meg Cabot novel is like a time capsule for pop culture when it came out.

Having read all four back to back, I can also tell you with great assurance that Cabot steps away from the general Boy formula a bit. In the first three, the heroines were all quirky and obsessed with pop culture. The best friend from each book was either happily married or happily about-to-be-married, while trying to help shepherd her bestie into the same state. The villains are thoroughly villainous.

In The Boy Is Back, heroine Becky Flowers is much more no-nonsense than her predecessors. She holds a deep abiding love for organization. What fascinates her is not the latest information on Britney Spears, but thoughts of binders and spreadsheets. Becky loves Jane Austen and her two best friends, her sister Nicole (who’s rambunctious) and Leeanne (who is half-Japanese and supportive as all get out). At the start of the novel, Becky’s in a relationship with Graham, a lumbersexual according to Nicole and owner of a wine and cheese shop.

Enter Becky’s ex-boyfriend from high school, the only guy Becky has ever loved, who left town ten years before and never spoke to her again. Neither is over the other, and Reed’s planning to do whatever he can to get her back. Including using Jane Austen quotes to win her over, just like he did in high school. SWOON, RIGHT? Reed’s adorably goofy and they have amazing banter like omg. I also love how Reed has this idea of sweeping in and “saving” Becky, but she’s got her shit together and does not need one bit of saving; she helps Reed instead. Where the Boy heroines have typically been Bridget Jones style hot messes with guys who help ground them, Becky’s the grounding force of this relationship.

The Boy Is Back has the advantage over the previous Boy books in that text messaging is now super easy and popular. Where the other novels used primarily emails and journal entries, almost all of The Boy Is Back takes place within text messages and chat apps. This feels much more realistic and believable than the emails sometimes did, because people are much more likely to send partial thoughts via text and to communicate from across the room.

The frame story of Reed coming home to help with a family crisis (precipitated by his parents being arrested for trying to pay for a dinner out with a four dollar postage stamp) is hilarious and surprisingly heartfelt. Typically the secondary characters in these books haven’t been that well developed, but I have a deep fondness for Marshall and Carly, as well as Nicole and her boyfriend Henry. Reed’s caddy makes fun appearances as well. The Stewart parents are coming apart in a way that’s frustratingly real (I couldn’t help thinking of my own grandparents and the way they did and still do (on one side) fight giving their children Power of Attorney) and oddly touching. I didn’t expect to feel for them at all when the story began.

The resolution of The Boy Is Back is the most complex of the series, as well. In the prior novels, the first two had actual villains, and they were not remotely likable and espoused horrible viewpoints. There’s a villain here too, but the villian somewhat gets away with their actions. It’s a bit more real world than the prior books. View Spoiler » For those who are curious, there are only two crossover characters, who make only a couple appearances: Dolly Vargas and Tim Grabowski.

Whether youv’e loved Meg Cabot’s Boy books all along or haven’t read any, I urge lovers of contemporary romance to read The Boy Is Back. This one’s Meg Cabot at her absolute best.

Favorite Quote:

Becky Flowers
Look, thanks for the chat. I know what I need to do.

Leeanne Matsumori
You do? What? Tell me!

Becky Flowers
What any sensible Austen heroine would do.

Leeanne Matsumori
Go to the milliner’s for a new hat?

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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4 responses to “Blog Tour Review: The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot”

  1. Joanne Levy says:

    You had me at, “spreadsheets”. Swoon.
    Joanne Levy recently posted…How to Show Love to an AuthorMy Profile

  2. I haven’t read any of Meg Cabot’s books but they all seem like such fun! I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  3. Brian Martin says:

    Guess what? Love to read fiction stories,well it let me to use my imagination to the extent. Haha!

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