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I have read a couple of Meg Cabot's books from 'The Princess Diaries' series, which are aimed at young teenage girls. This is the first book by the author I have read which is aimed at adults. If you know a young girl who enjoys Meg Cabot books and are wondering if this would be suitable I would say no as it has several references to sex. I have seen this book with a few different covers. The cover of the book I have looks similar to some of the books aimed at younger girls so be careful not to pick this one up by accident.
The book revolves around a main character named Elizabeth / Liz / Lizzie. She has just graduated in history of fashion and she is very passionate about all things fashion and loves vintage clothing. For the summer she has planned to travel from her home in America to stay with her boyfriend who lives in London.
She met Andrew briefly when he was staying at her college and they have been talking ever since he went home to England. Lizzie has put off her plans to move to New York with her best friend Shari, as she plans to wait for Andrew to qualify as a teacher to make any future plans.
It's hard to say much more bout the plot without spoiling it, but everything doesn't exactly go as planned. Andrew has been bending the truth about his life a little, his flat is actually a bedroom in his parents house that he shares with his younger brother, his job teaching young children to read is actually a job as a waiter, which he is doing illegally as he is getting some kind of unemployment benefit and gambled away his college fees in a poker game. He told his family that she was fat (but she has lost weight since he last saw her). Worst of all he forgot that Lizzie hates tomatoes! Lizzie has to decide whether, despite his lies and faults, he really loves her and they can make it work or if it's time to call it quits and admit that her friends and family were right and he is not the one for her.
Needing some time to think, Lizzie hops on the train to spend some time with her friends in France. She meets a new dream man on the train, will this be the end of her and Andrew? Or will she fall head over heels for someone else?
At first, I found Lizzie's character quite irritating. A bit of a dreamer and she seems very naïve. Later in the book it is for these reasons that she is actually quite likeable. She has a habit of putting her foot in things, and can't keep a secret and 'babbles' a lot, which I guess is where the title came from.
The book is a romance, it is a bit unbelievable, yet still somewhat predictable. It is still a very enjoyable book. It is a book which is very easy to read, and definitely one I would recommend as a holiday read. It is light, funny and romantic.
At the start of each chapter there is a section of the thesis Lizzie is writing on her History of Fashion course, some of these thesis pages have some interesting facts about the history of fashion, others seem a bit pointless. There are also quotes at the start of each chapter.
The book is on Amazon for £7.19 including delivery, which I think is a bit much for a book you'd read quickly and probably never read again. If you can pick it up used cheaper it's definitely worth a read. I found it quite hard to put down. It is also available as an e-book which is under £4.
The book was published in 2006 and has 272 pages.
I first discovered Meg Cabot through her children's books (notably the Princess Diaries series, the films of which I was EXTREMELY disappointed with, but that's for another review!). Until a couple of years ago, I worked in a bookshop, and I always read the books aimed at teenagers so that I would be better placed to advise parents of their suitability for various age groups - well, that was my excuse anyway...
I was a little concerned that Cabot's writing style might not translate too well to 'adult' fiction, but I'm pleased to say I was wrong - for the most part!
I should point out, before I go on, that if you're looking for a novel with much (or any?) substance to it, you should probably steer clear of this, or indeed any of Cabot's work.
If, however, you're after a light read, with a few laughs and some likeable characters thrown in, this will be perfect. And trust me, they don't come a lot lighter than this...
The book tells the story of Lizzie Nichols, an American student who's fallen in love (or so she thinks) with a British exchange student called Andy. Unfortunately, she didn't have a chance to get to know Andy for long before he was off home to England for the holidays. She decides to pop over and visit him for a whole month, but very quickly realises that she didn't know him AT ALL, and is not all that impressed with what she discovers.
Luckily, Lizzie's best friend Shari and her fiance Chaz are also in Europe for the summer - working and generally hanging out at a sixteenth century French Chateau - and Lizzie ends up joining them, with amusing if not necessarily hilarious consequences.
I did enjoy this book, although it took me hardly any time at all to read and, as I've already hinted at, it's pretty two-dimsional.
One slight niggle, for me, was that fact that all the American characters are portrayed as loyal and funny, with hearts of gold; the French characters are wacky; the English are pathetic and weaselly; and the lone Canadian is a really nasty piece of work!
Another thing - and this could be good or bad, depending on your point of view - I have noticed that Meg Cabot tends to pretty much recycle her lead character, giving her different names and slightly different biographies, but generally the same personality and 'voice'. Then again, if you like books about loyal, slightly scatty, not-quite-as-clever-as-they-think-they-are but quirky and loveable nevertheless American girls/young women - and I do! - you really won't care.
Queen of Babble is the first in the Queen of Babble trilogy starring Lizzie Nichols. When we meet her she's just about to fly to London to be with her long-distance boyfriend Andrew. Trouble is, he hasn't been totally honest with Lizzie and she ends up with nowhere to go. Her friend Shari offers her the chance to stay at Chateau Mirac where Shari and her boyfriend Chaz are working for the summer. Whilst on her way to France she meets Jean-Luc (Luke - another one!)... could Lizzie be falling for him?
I have never read a Meg Cabot book before but know she's the author of The Princess Diaries (which I've seen the film of starring Anne Hathaway)! However I saw Queen of Babble and loved the sound of it and decided to give it a read. I wasn't disappointed.
I loved Lizzie - she speaks before she thinks, like me, and she was just hilarious. I loved how when she arrived in London she was worried a homeless person was staring at her so went to the Meet Your Party booth and had the attendant call out for Andrew. Trouble was, he was the person staring at her. Funny moments like that were really well done and were laugh-out-loud.
The book was mainly about Lizzie and was written in the first-person to help that so we only got to know Lizzie's friends through her - which is no bad thing. I liked Shari, Lizzie's best friend, and liked how she and Chaz were with each other, they seemed so comfortable in each others company. Luke (or Jean-Luc) was also a really great character and I loved how his and Lizzie's friendship started on the train and then Lizzie's shock when she learnt who he actually was. Again, another comedy moment!
Another stand-out character for me was Lizzie's Grandma - she was only in the first few pages but I LOVED her! She spoke her mind - worse than Lizzie! - and was hilariously funny.
I didn't like Andrew, obviously, and couldn't stand Dominique but that's how they were meant to be portrayed - we were meant to dislike them!
The writing was great and there were only a few errors I noticed. That, and the fact Shari is referred to as Sheryl on the blurb on the back was all that was wrong with it. And to be honest, I generally ignore small errors or just correct the sentence myself and re-read it!
The book was realy enjoyable, highly amusing and Meg Cabot has another fan in me. I'll be looking for the two sequels now to follow Lizzie on more of her adventures!
Also posted at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com
This book, in my opinion was made for me. People at school say I babble a lot, but I'm pretty sure I don't. Still they say I do, so this must have been the perfect book for me right? Well the answer to that question is an obvious YES! I love people who babble it saves me from talking, I call myself the best listener, I hardly ever talk and when I do apparently I babble... Well I read this book with out saying a word.
Now before I go on about the plot I'll tell you why I chose this book. I happen to be 15 and I believe that is the time when you sort of get rid of reading younger books and start reading young adults/adult books. Although, you may have noticed, I like to feel young again by reading really short books and light-reads. And I feel I need the most concentration ever to read an adult book, but not this one, it was really simple to get to and it was soooooooo good I read it in 3 days. I'm not a quick reader and usually a book this big would take me a week or so... But it didn't which proves it to be a book you're looking for.
Now this book is about a girl called Lizzie Nichols. She has had a 3 month relationship with her long distance boyfriend who lives in London. Lizzie, however, lives in the states. Anyway Meg Cabot catches you within seconds of the story. With this opening:
"I can't believe this. I can't believe I don't remember what he looks like! How can I not remember what he looks like? I mean, his tongue has been in my mouth. How could I forget what someone whose tongue has been in my mouth looks like? It's not like there've been that many guys who's had their tongues in my mouth. Only, like, three."
Then it goes on about the boys who had had their tongues in her mouth. But I was caught in minutes by the paragraph above. Anyway, Lizzie is spending all her graduation money on flying to London to see her boyfriend, Andy. But considering she doesn't know what he looks like all she knows is that the guy has sent her a picture of his ass, which makes it soooooooo much better to tell the difference from a guy she's supposed to be in love with and an ugly stalker, but poor Lizzie does just that. Thinks her boyfriend is some crazy stalker as he's wearing some 60s clothing.
Andy had told Lizzie soooooooo much what he wants to do in life but when she realises that non of it really happened and that she's living with him and his whole family (Which includes Mom, Dad, Andy and his 2 brothers) and she has to sleep in the kitchen, she's not happy.
Everything goes completely wrong for her, Andy made her do something disgusting, and then tried to tell her to lie to the job centre people so he can get some money. She doesn't help him out and gets him into trouble and also runs away, and then he wants to borrow money off her instead for supposedly "graduation money". But little does she know Andy gambled not only all his own money away but also money he did not have and he's begging Lizzie to give him the money.
Luckily she escapes and finds her friends in France and has this big crush on this guy who works at the house and he's got a girlfriend already. But how will everything plan out for Lizzie? Will she get that guy she's crushing on? Will her love for vintage clothes come back to haunt her? Or will it delight her? Will she get into a cat fight with her crush's girlfriend? Will Andy come back for the money? And will the wedding go ahead?
Find out by buying the book, currently priced at 25p at Amazon. And sit back because you'll enter a world full of babble, confusion and also a bumpy ride.
Now as far as I know there are 2 sequels to this book, and trust me I'll buy and review them.
I don't know why but Meg Cabot has become one of my favourite authors of all time. There are people who like J.K. Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkein or even R.L. Stine and C.S. Lewis, but those people have never ever tried a Meg Cabot book, personally I think the adult books are soooooooo much better but maybe others might have different opinions.
Now if you think there isn't anything bad about this book I may now prove you wrong, In this book it's full of babble, which means Lizzie could be going on and on and on about something for a few paragraphs to a whole chapter. Now that's great if you're like me and love people who talk a lot but not so good for the people who just can't stand those sort of people. The paragraph at the top just proves what the book is like with the constant babble. It may draw people into this story but may also make some people's eye lids tired and heavy and make that person sleepy and give up on the book. But if you do give it a go then you have to finish the book.
Now going back to the price... Now in book stores like Waterstones or WH Smiths they'd sell it for the original price of £6.99 which is quite good, but personally Amazon is selling it for about £0.25 which makes it so much better. I may have got mine from Amazon for 0.01p but trust me you shouldn't wait until it gets that low as you may be waiting forever due to the fact that it's a really good book and people everywhere will be mesmerised by it.
Now I'm hoping that you have enjoyed this review and if you have then please nominate me for a crown, if you think I don't deserve such a thing then please tell me specifically what I should do to make it improved, if you didn't enjoy the review please also tell me what I can do to improve, I'm awaiting your comments.
I was looking for a light read and the Queen of Babble seemed to be just that. The word 'boyfriend' was used in the synopsis on amazon implying that the main character had to be youngish, young female + boyfriend = chick lit, that was fine with me, I've read some specimens of this genre before out of anthropological and sociological interest in a part of society I don't belong to. What I couldn't check beforehand was the way this chick's problems are told, it's the style that makes a book readable or not, isn't it?
On the first page there's a short paragraph written in a matter-of-fact way introducing the History of Fashion, Senior Thesis by Elizabeth Nichols. Aha. The first chapter starts with a quote from Shakespeare on Indiscretion, not bad, seems that the story won't be too shallow.
But then! I like got a TOTAL shock by what Lizzy tells us about her CUTE boyfriend and I TOTALLY realised at once that I was TRILLIONS of years OLDER than the protagonist, okay, I knew that I would be beforehand, but she's ONLY 22, couldn't she be at least, say, 35, and NOT use American college girl speak?! It was clear that I would so not be able to feel with her that I knew: I. Had. Made. A. Mistake. Oh God, that was AWFUL! Okay, okay, things like that happen, onto Amazon marketplace with the book is what you may think now, but you know, I like hesitate more than you'd do in such a situation as I HAVE NOT got such a great choice of English books as you have. And I like remembered that I so wanted to read something LIGHT, lighter, I thought, was HARDLY possible, so I read on.
Elizabeth Nichols, aka Lizzy, has just graduated from college in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, her subject is The History Of Fashion, or has she? During her graduation party she learns from her college advisor that she should have written a thesis but as she hasn't done so, her studies aren't complete and she hasn't got a degree after all. A thesis? Indeed? But how should she have known? Nobody had told her! The college advisor promises to keep quiet about this and tells her she can hand it in later but urges her to start writing at once, to use her time in London for research work.
Yes, Lizzie is going to London to visit her boy-friend Andrew for three months. She got to know him when he pulled her out of the shower when her dorm was on fire and then stayed with her for some hours, that was her only meeting. After his returning to London for the summer, they email each other every day and Lizzy soon knows that she's found the man of her life. She's fallen in love with his accent, Andrew is British, and he wants to become a teacher, he wants to teach kids to read and to write, can you imagine?! Have you ever heard of anything so brave? She already knows the names of their four children.
Yet, instead of fetching her from the airport in his own car and taking her to a friend's apartment as promised where they'd stay in bed all the time and make love, he comes with his father in the family car and she gets a bunk bed in the laundry room his mother has made up for her. It turns out that he hasn't got a summer job in a private school as he told her but works twelve hour shifts in a restaurant - he leaves her with his parents nearly immediately after arriving home - but that isn't all, he also collects dole money, he *cheats on the state*! That is the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Lizzy leaves him the following day and travels to the south of France where her friend Shari and her boy-friend Chaz from Ann Arbor are staying in a castle to help organise weddings - a way to earn some money for the upkeep of the estate. Chaz knows the son of the family and has got the job through him. Lizzie can't get Shari on the phone to announce her arrival and ask for details but somehow gets onto the right train where she meets an absolutely gorgeous fellow-traveller who speaks English and lets her cry on his shoulder. She tells him about her problems with Andrew blabbing out *all* her intimate secrets - she won't see him again, will she?
She arrives at her destination when it's already dark and starts wondering how to get to the castle with her ten words of French, but surprise, surprise, the gorgeous young man gets off as well, he's the son of the castle people and Chaz's friend from their common time at an American uni. Ah! But his girl-friend is waiting for him, a super sexy, cool chick with Manolo Blahnik sandals for 600 $ and boobs that don't move no matter how much she jumps around.
The main part of the novel deals with the happenings at the castle, the preparation of the next wedding - it's a family matter this time, Luke's cousin is marrying - and Lizzie putting her foot in wherever and whenever it's possible. For her it's physically impossible to keep her trap shut, what comes to her mind must be spoken out loud, preferably to the wrong person and in the wrong situation. "WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE THE BIGGEST MOUTH IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE???" I must confess that I find Lizzie's adventures quite amusing, she *is* an oaf, of a simple-mindedness and naivety that hurt, but somehow one can't but like her.
"Do you judge on first appearance?" - Lizzie wouldn't understand the question, of course, she does. She's a fashion buff, one look at people's clothes and their way of dressing and she knows what kind of person is standing in front of her, and she's always right! Her thoughts are described in detail, that means we learn everything there is to learn about fashion - at least I've got the impression.
Why each chapter (after the excerpts of Lizzie's thesis on the History of Fashion) begins with a quotation on gossip/talking by the most illustrious thinkers is a mystery to me, I can only assume that the author wants to give her light novel some weightiness in order to prevent it from flying away. But she definitely took them out of the wrong drawer, she should have used a lower one, why not quote current celebrities (the Beckhams?) instead of Marcel Proust, François Villon, Henry David Thoreau, Friedrich Nietzsche - to name but a few. The Lizzies of the world don't know any of the names, it's mere showing off on the author's part and costs her one star.
So what is my final verdict about the Queen Of Babble? Well, I think the book is TOTALLY okay and can be recommended if
- you're between 20 and 25 years old
- you're female
- you're interested in (and also like reading about) sex
- you hyperventilate when you see a vintage brand dress
- you don't cringe when you see youth speak in print.
RRP 6.99 GBP