Queen of Babble Gets Hitched

Meg Cabot
2008, Chick Lit
William Morrow, $22.95, 277 pages, Amazon ASIN 006085202X
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Subtle

I've been a Meg Cabot fan for years and was very excited to be reviewing Queen of Babble Gets Hitched, the third in her trilogy featuring vintage clothing maven Lizzie Nichols. It's a good book, but it doesn't fit in with the previous two and left me wondering if I'd missed something colossal. (A word of warning: This review includes information revealed in Queen of Babble in the Big City, the previous book in the series.)

The book opens about five minutes after the second book ended. Lizzie's boyfriend, Luke, returned to propose after they broke up (because he told her he couldn't see her in his future). She accepts, then sends him away while she gets rid of Chaz, Luke's best friend and Lizzie's best friend's ex, who is still in her bed after nearly having sex with him the night before. Lizzie thought that it was just a drunken one-time fling, but Chaz sees it differently - he realizes that he's been in love with her for a long time.

She, however, is adamantly engaged to Luke, even though their relationship takes a different turn. He is busy studying all the time for his post-bac classes, and Lizzie is working at a wedding gown restoration shop while the owner is recovering from a heart attack. She has gained fame for her work and finds herself designing a wedding gown for a Chihuahua-toting Paris Hilton-esque "skanky crack whore" socialite. Luke then disappears all together, dropping his summer classes to work at an investment firm in Paris.

Meanwhile, her friends begin to wonder why she's engaged to Luke, who is, after all, in France. They all say that it's obvious she's in love with Chaz, something she denies. However, when Lizzie needs someone, it is Chaz at her side, not Luke, leaving her to begin to realize that her friends may be right after all.

My problem with this book isn't so much with this book, but its prequel - Queen of Babble in the Big City. I should probably preface this by saying that I know there is a lot of dissension already on whether Luke's downfall as a romantic hero was foreshadowed or not. Personally, I did not see it coming. Even as it became obvious that Chaz would replace Luke in this book, I could help but wonder, "when did this happen?" The characterizations in this book came out of nowhere. I actually went back to re-read QOB in the Big City after I read this one because I had to have missed something that caused Luke to become such a jerk and Chaz to be secretly in love with Lizzie, even as he was in love with her best friend. Hindsight is 20/20, and I did see some clues that I had written off in my initial reading. But I still wasn't satisfied.

However, I repeat, this is a somewhat controversial opinion, and thus have not allowed it to affect the final grade too much. I've discussed it with people who both agree with me and others who strongly disagree. And, all of that said and put aside, this book was very enjoyable. It features Meg Cabot's trademark humor and dialogue and the modern, larger-than-life characters readers love about her books. And I did really like Chaz. His role in the stories has never been that big, and I had fun getting to know him. Even though I don't necessarily believe that he was in love with her in the second book, his feelings were very convincing in this one. Lizzie, as usual, was a funny and vivid narrator. I feel like she has grown and matured over the course of the series, and ended up in a place where she is more sure of herself, her goals, the relationships with those she cares about.

All other issues I had were fairly minor. I thought Chaz's lack of guilt toward the end, regarding his relationship with Lizzie, was out of place, as was Lizzie's reaction to the truth about Luke. I just expected a bit more emotion out of both of them on that regard. And, though this is a very small point, three separate things preface each chapter: a history of weddings, a tip on how to survive your own wedding, and a quote. All three worked individually, but combined, it was just too much for me. It really interrupted the flow of reading.

Overall, I thought this was a fun, romantic story, and when I look at it as an individual book, it was great. However, I just couldn't separate it from two books that, in my opinion, told a slightly different story about the characters.

-- Jane Granville

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