Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Chick Lit
Publication Date: July 10, 2012 (William Morrow/HarperCollins – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided review copy
Summary: Summer break . . . and the livin’ ain’t easy
Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn’t mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself–who just happens to be newly married to Heather’s ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it’s clear that the star was the intended victim.
Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright–who just happens to be Heather’s “new” fiancE. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can’t help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, “this” reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.
☆: 3/5 – a solid book, but otherwise just not for me.
Review: So, I’m not really a Meg Cabot fan. I read the first few “Princess Diaries” books when I was a teenager and just really wasn’t into it. So when Harper graciously sent me a copy of this book, I decided to give Cabot another chance. I’m definitely not really a chick lit fan at all, either, so this one was a bit hard for me to get into. But I can definitely say, if you’re looking for a fluffy poolside book this summer, you may want to go with the “Heather Wells” series.
I haven’t read the other three books in this series, but Cabot does a great job in situating a new reader like me within Wells’ world, firmly rooting me within everything that’s happened so far in this series with a great opening chapter. While I can’t say I felt entirely comfortable, I can say that as a writer, Cabot definitely knows what she’s doing in the technical area of things. The backstory information wasn’t overwhelming, and it eased me into Wells’ world. In a series, that’s definitely something you want to aim for when bringing new readers into the world you’re creating. So in the worldbuilding area, Cabot surprised me with the amount of depth that I just honestly wasn’t expecting in a book of this genre.
However, the mystery/investigation angle did frustrate me a great deal. Why tell the reader this is a mystery when we’re given really big, obvious hints as to who the killer is? This is the main angle of the book that interested me – not Heather’s current relationship or ex coming back to haunt her, but it turned into that kind story anyway, and I just kind of tuned out. The balance was off, and had it been a more even balance of mystery and romance, I might have liked this one a bit more.
As a character, Heather Wells is great. A little on the self-absorbed side (almost a bit too much, actually), but very sturdily constructed. And it’s nice to see a curvy girl getting the main character spotlight without the book being couched in the “tough stuff” or bullying arena of things (regardless if it’s YA or adult). The rest of the characters felt real enough, but had I read the other novels, they probably would have felt even more real because I would have more to go on with their individual histories. But I didn’t see any extra individual character journey/transformational arcs (and I didn’t expect to), and I kind of wanted to see those in order to grow closer to the characters and actually feel something for them aside from just feeling for Heather. On that point, I was disappointed, but unsurprised.
In short, “Size 12″ was a fun book, but it reinforced to me that chick lit just isn’t for me. This doesn’t mean it was a bad book – quite the opposite, it’s well-written and entertaining. But I just don’t feel very much when I read books within this genre, and well, that just isn’t for me. But I urge everyone to give this series a try anyway as is very fun.
So if you’re looking for a light, fluffy read this summer, try “Size 12 and Ready to Rock”. It’s out now from William Morrow/HarperCollins in North America, so be sure to check it out!