Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Heather Wells Rocks!
Or, at least, she did. That was before she left the pop-idol life behind after she gained a dress size or two — and lost a boyfriend, a recording contract, and her life savings (when Mom took the money and ran off to Argentina). Now that the glamour and glory days of endless mall appearances are in the past, Heather’s perfectly happy with her new size 12 shape (the average for the American woman!) and her new job as an assistant dorm director at one of New York’s top colleges. That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather’s residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft.
The cops and the college president are ready to chalk the death off as an accident, the result of reckless youthful mischief. But Heather knows teenage girls . . . and girls do not elevator surf. Yet no one wants to listen — not the police, her colleagues, or the P.I. who owns the brownstone where she lives — even when more students start turning up dead in equally ordinary and subtly sinister ways. So Heather makes the decision to take on yet another new career: as spunky girl detective!
But her new job comes with few benefits, no cheering crowds, and lots of liabilities, some of them potentially fatal. And nothing ticks off a killer more than a portly ex-pop star who’s sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong . . .
This is the first Meg Cabot book I have read, and it will not be the last. This is the first novel in the Heather Wells series, and I already have the second, Size 14 is Not Fat Either on my shelf ready to be consumed. Heather Wells is an ex-popstar who gave up singing because she wanted to sing her own songs, not stuff written for her that had no meaning. Because of this decision she lost her boyfriend and her mother disappeared off with Heather’s money and her manager. So Heather moves in with Cooper, her ex’s brother and works at the local university as a Residential Assistant. Things are fine until the first death – a hard working student falls down the lift shaft after elevator surfing. But smart girls don’t do that do they? But no one believes her. Even after the second death. So she investigates herself, and finds herself in danger.
I really enjoyed this novel. Heather was an easy character to like. She’d had it rough since leaving the world of music but she had found her feet and got on with life. I loved that even though she had been famous she was now a “normal” woman – by that I mean, pretty but not stunning, size 12, which is the average size of a woman, and hard working. She had struggles, such as he ex-boyfriend turning up and trying to sweet talk her, and she was a woman in love, but it isn’t reciprocated – all this made her realistic and like-able. Alongside all this, she is caring and is prepared to find out what happened to those girls. She fought hard and it was fun reading.
Was the storyline predictable? Fairly, yes. But that didn’t spoil the read. This is a teen novel – chick-lit mixed with a murder mystery. Even Heather finds herself in danger. The guilty party is not a huge shock but I liked how Cabot played out the story. And I had to laugh at the fight scene at the end – bought to an end by a drunk lady – I liked it!
The most important aspect of this book however is the idea of image. Heather Wells might once have been a star, but now she is an ordinary woman and an ordinary size. Size 12 is not fat, it is average. This point is made all through the novel, and I think Cabot is great for going out and making the point. Size does not matter, and being an average size is fine. Putting a story around that is fabulous, and I think Cabot did a great job. This book is engaging, funny and well worth reading.