Tag Archives: Meg Cabot

No Offense (Little Bridge Island, 2) by Meg Cabot

Standard
No Offense (Little Bridge Island, 2) by Meg Cabot

Cabot, Meg. No Offense (Little Bridge Island, 2). William Morrow, 2020. ISBN 978-0063007123 352 pp. $27.99

**

The children’s librarian at the new island library discovers an abandoned baby in the bathroom and gets involved not only with unravelling the mystery, but with the blue-eyed police chief. The banter is quick but there was something off-putting to me about the story.

This is short, sweet and a nice homage to librarianship… but I didn’t find it particularly engaging.

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Standard
Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Cabot, Meg. Insatiable. William Morrow, 2010. ISBN 978-0061735066 464 pp. $22.99

**

I finished Insatiable this past week, and my husband commented, when I picked it up another night, “Are you STILL reading that same book?” It was kind of a crazy week, and I was pretty tired at night, so I’m not sure how that contributed to my difficulty getting through what has been pegged by other reviewers as an easy read.

I liked the irony of the premise: psychic New Yorker and soap opera writer who is a fed up her job and with the popularity of the vampire genre gets fed on by a vamp who she’s unknowingly fallen for. I really enjoyed the treatment of Meena’s psychic ability, that if she shares a vision, she can divert fate, that what she sees is a possible and changeable outcome.

I did think there was a lot of cleverness to Insatiable. I loved Senor Sticky, a great allusion to Kendra’s (and later, Buffy’s) Mr. Pointy. I don’t watch 24, an appreciated that the relevance of Jack Bauer’s name was explained, and I loved the allusions to Dracula. The narrative was pretty straightforward (with several predictable elements).

But overall, I found the writing … amateur. At times, I felt more like I was reading a screenplay, because of the pacing, description and dialogue. Although the dialogue was frequently and delightfully snappy or snarky, the construction of sentences, variety of vocabulary, and plot predictability didn’t have the pizazz of a multiple title novelist.

I wouldn’t call the characterizations stereotypical, but I didn’t findlot much depth or change–perhaps, Meena’s decision at the end is a change, but given her dissatisfaction at the beginning of the novel, it’s not a surprise. I liked the neighbors next door (they surprised and delighted me) and I especially loved Alaric’s first encounter with Mary Lou and her couture.

I randomly opened the book to page 104, and here’s the rundown of dialogue attributions:
Meena said
Jon said
she said
Jon said
Meena admitted
Jon said
Meena said
Jon said
Meena admitted

Now, I know most writing guides will tell you to simply use “said” & “asked,” but use should still be limited, because you can use other tricks, like action, to indicate who is speaking. The overuse of attributions really stood out jarringly for me, instead of fading into the background to let the dialogue shine.

Flipping ahead and skimming through a couple of pages, I am struck by how frequently Cabot uses words in italics. There are two clear purposes: one, to indicate thoughts, like Meena’s musing to herself, or the psychic words/images she receives as portent of death to come.

Cabot also (over)uses italics for emphasis, and this is a no-no, to me. A strong, evocative writer shouldn’t have to TELL the audience where to put the emphasis in the sentence. The sentence structure or choice of words should allow that to occur organically. Cabot tell us to put emphasis on “what” (p 105), counted (p. 106), not (pg 108), knew (pg 109), how (pg 109), what (pg 109), was (pg 109), do (pg 113) ;and then, when a thought in italics has a word to be emphasized, it’s back in a regular font style (him, pg 109).

For me, these are serious writing flaws, and while I have no doubt of potential appeal or audience for this novel, the quality isn’t there enough for me to appreciate it as chick-lit.

Twilight (The Mediator, #6) by Meg Cabot

Standard
Twilight (The Mediator, #6) by Meg Cabot

Cabot, Meg. The Mediator. Harper Teen, 2005. ISBN 978-0060724696 312 pp. $

***

She sees dead people. Talks to them, too. In fact, her boyfriend is one (and he just happens to haunt her bedroom). As a mediator, Suze is a liaison between the world of the living and dead. Her skills are still developing, as are those of her classmate and fellow mediator Paul, who relentlessly pursues Suze in spite of the fact that she is love with Jesse, a 150 year old ghost. When Paul discovers that one talent of mediators is the ability to time travel, he decides to eliminate his competition by going back in time to warn Jesse of his impending violent death, thus preventing his spirit from lingering and meeting Suze. The newly single Suze will then have no choice but to fall in love with Paul, and become his date for the upcoming Winter Ball. Will Suze find a way to stop Paul or to get back to the 1850s before he does?

It’s refreshing to see that Cabot has another voice inside her besides that of Princess Mia Thermopolis. Somehow, this light and entertaining read also addresses issues of moral behavior, teen abstinence, and the nature of life and death. Although I haven’t read other titles in the series, I got the gist of what was going on, and now want to go back and read the other five. The graphic cover art is modern and as appealing as the story within the pages.

Princess Lessons by Meg Cabot

Standard
Princess Lessons by Meg Cabot

Cabot, Meg. Princess Lessons. Harper Teen, 2003 ISBN 978-0060526771 128 pp. $15.98

***

In this sweet little self-help book, aspiring royalty will learn the proper way to curtsey, the appropriate way to introduce one’s consort to the queen, and which fork to start with at gala affairs. Characters from Cabot’s popular series offer their expert advice, with romantic advice from Tina Hakim Baba and beauty tips from Paolo of Chez Paolo. Lana Turner even makes an appearance to plug extracurricular activities.

There is an initial emphasis on makeup, but at least Paola advocates for understated and low maintenance. It seems out of character for Mia to protest chinchilla capes and spout five ways to save the planet but not to mention choosing beauty products not tested on animals. Phone etiquette is not extended to include cell phone use, although email is mentioned in a chapter separate from correspondence. Health, safety and good judgment are mentioned throughout, and chapters like “Proper Tiara Maintenance” add levity.

Overall, good grooming and gracious are stressed, with Mia reminding girls to be kind, assertive, smile, and above all, to thine own self be true. Not a necessary addition to your library collection, but this might make a nice gift for a young teen who is a fan of the series or film.