Every Boy's Got One
by Meg Cabot, contemporary (2005)
Avon, $12.95, ISBN 0-06-008546-0

In her afterword in this book, Ms Cabot explains that she is trying to make her books more suitable for young readers because these young readers are buying them along with The Princess Diaries books. I admire her concern for children whose parents have absolved all responsibility when it comes to watching over their children's reading material as well as her devotion to keeping away the explicit NC-17 sex and adult issues that are present in her previous contemporary romances (er... are there any of those in her previous books?) from tarnishing the minds of sweet and innocent girls everywhere. My only gentle criticism about this FCC-friendly act is that she should have put that explanation in the book as a foreword so that I will know to drop this book aside and go for the book filled with explicit sex and adult issues.

Because heaven knows, if I want to read another The Princess Diaries type of Romantic Ditzy But Wisecracky Gal Swept Away To Romance In A Foreign Land While Dancing To A Hilary Duff Soundtrack story, I'd go buy that Hilary Duff CD and go hunt for a Spanish hunk myself. Raoul Bova, I'm looking atcha, baby! I wish there is something here that spans beyond the superficial "I hate you! I hate you! I love you!" conflicts passed off as romantic intrigues but alas, I have to think of the children. Is it me or these children should be doing their homework and leave the sexy books to the grown-ups?

Thirty-year old Jane Harris is the creator of the popular comic strip character Wondercat who is based on her own cat the Dude. Apparently Cartoon Network is optioning for a cartoon series based on Wondercat. At light of the Spongebob Squarepants' success, maybe they will create a fat dog partner for Wondercat for lots of delicious homoerotic tension similar to that which a certain walking talking sponge is famous for having with a starfish. You'll have to make your own joke about Spongebob's many holes and Patrick the Starfish's five amazing phallic-shaped appendages because I too have to think of the children.

Jane is happy because she is invited to her bestest friend ever Holly Caputo - the head honcho of the FCC frowns and wonders whether Caputo is a Spanish bad word - is getting married in La Merche, a quaint little pastoral town in Italy and Jane is going to be there. Isn't that exciting, little girls? Let's all hold hands and go "EEEEEEE!" together.

Alas, also at the pre-wedding preparation is the bad, mean, but so hot Cal Langdon. He's been dumped by some hussy before so understandably he's now seeing those skanky, thin models. Have you ever wondered what Cal does to them behind the bedroom door, little girls? You won't find the answer here because this book, like the previous Avon Trade books by the author, is told entirely through electronic correspondences (emails, IM transcripts, et cetera) and lists (PDA entries, scribblings, journal entries, et cetera) of Jane, Cal, Holly, Holly's future husband Mark, and some accessory characters, none of whom are horny, perverted, or lascivious (think of the kiddies now). Maybe the answer lies in that Susan Johnson book Mommy hides under the bed...

Back to this book, Jane is the romantic who believes in love (hold hands, little girls, EEEEEE!) while Cal doesn't believe in love (but he's so hot, sigh, and why doesn't the football captain love meeeeeee?). But Cal is innocent and it is all those models' fault, just like how the football captain Jeremy Beckfield doesn't like fifteen year old bookish me because THOSE SKANKY CHEERLEADERS TURNED HIM AGAINST ME and I WANT TO DIE until Miss Cabot comes up with THIS FABULOUS BOOK and I, like, now know that Jeremy Beckfield will love me one day and we will get married in Italy so THANK YOU MISS CABOT! (Picture six hundred happy smiling emoticons here.)

When Jane's menu suggestion has Holly and Mark stricken with food poisoning (how cute, EEEEEEE), Jane and Cal must pose as Holly and Mark to get the paperwork approved so that Holly and Mark can have their dream wedding at La Merche when they recover. Can the wedding be saved? And what happens when Jane and Cal pretend to be in love? Little girls, I'm sure you can never guess what will happen next so you have to read this book whenever you feel like wanting to starve yourselves or slash your wrists because everyone is saying that Moira Funbaggoons the cheerleader has given Jeremy Beckfield head (not that you believe it because Jeremy is never that disgusting, of course), because this book can be really funny and bring a smile to your face.

But for grown-ups, well, that depends. Every Boy's Got One (yes, got what exactly, hmm?) will make a great fluffy read when one isn't looking for anything more than that. The emotions here are very simplified and even sanitized compared to those already simplified elements in the author's previous Avon Trade books, with characters that never go beyond superficial stereotypes. Every Boy's Got One is a borderline G/PG-rated romantic comedy where the author takes extra care to keep things very simple and uncomplicated. Because of this, I find the book pleasant but completely forgettable at the end of the book because it leaves no impression on me at all. To me, Ms Cabot tries a little too much at keeping things sanitized and safe for the kiddies to the point that this book reads like a courtship between two silly children at eighth grade. It's nice that Ms Cabot is thinking of the children but what about me? Is anyone thinking about me?

Rating: 74

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