Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot is the fourth in the chick lit cozy mystery series starring Heather Wells, dorm monitor extraordinaire (available July 10, 2012).
Back in the days when the publishing world was going chick lit crazy, I read a couple of very enjoyable light mystery novels by Meg Cabot called Size 12 Is Not Fat and Size 14 Is Not Fat, Either. I hoped for more, but none seemed to be forthcoming and Ms. Cabot seemed to have abandoned Heather Wells, the teen-pop-star-turned-dorm-advisor protagonist.
When I saw Size 12 and Ready to Rock on the LibraryThing early reviewers list, I was excited and went back to look . . . and indeed, I had missed one of the books (Big Boned), so I read it while I was waiting for Ready to Rock to appear in my mailbox.
The Heather Wells series is listed as an “adult” series, to distinguish it from Cabot’s many YA books, but I don’t think there’s anything offensive or harsh enough to disqualify it from YA status. Indeed, although Heather herself is in her early thirties and an administrator in the fictitious New York College’s “Death Dorm,” she reads much younger. I find this completely believable because of the background Cabot gives her as a teen pop star. Her youth was spent on stage, so she’s just starting her life over at the beginning of the series after her mother/manager has stolen all her money, and she has a rather innocent outlook about the world.
Probably my favorite thing about these books is the fact that most every chapter starts with an atrocious pop song “Heather” has written. For example, here’s “Too Many Strollers at Starbucks:”
Oh, I can’t decide
If I want to abide
By the age-old decree
To use my ovaries
“You’d make such a good mama!”
But I don’t know if I wanna
I feel trapped, I feel smothered
Want to run for cover
I don’t even know
If I’m going to stay or go
So for now just get your kid
Out of the line to get my lid.
And yes, Heather is thinking about having a child. Because while the first three books have a strong romantic element, with Heather yearning for her landlord, who is her ex-boyfriend’s brother and a PI, by the time we get to this point, he’s finally come up to snuff and they’re together. But there’s no explicit sex, just plenty of fun teasing, which makes for an entertaining read.
Also entertaining are Heather’s observations on the world and people around her:
Mrs. Cartwright throws her arms around me exactly the way Jessica had, only the mother is, if anything, even bonier. If hugging Jessica was like hugging a skinny cat, hugging Mrs. Cartwright is like hugging the skeleton of a cat.
Or on her own body and lack of fitness:
“He came over, got those boys down from their rooms, took them outside, and when they came back—probably two hours later—I have never seen anyone look as dog tired. He made them run around the Square a hundred times.”
Whoa. I had tried to run around the Square once and I had been pretty sure my uterus was going to fall out.
So, I guess I’d have to class these books as murder with girlie giggles, if you can imagine such a thing. They’re like popcorn and cotton candy and perfect for summer.
Laura K. Curtis lives in Westchester, N.Y., with her husband and two madcap Irish Terriers who’ve taught her how easily love can co-exist with the desire to kill. She blogs at Women of Mystery and maintains an online store at TorchSongs GlassWorks. She can also be found on Twitter and poking her nose into all sorts of trouble in various spots around the web.
Read all posts by Laura K. Curtis on Criminal Element.