Apr 1, 2010

Annotation #5: Mystery

Posted by Kirsten at 4/01/2010 10:41:00 PM

12

Size 12 is Not Fat

by Meg Cabot

Heather Wells was a teenage pop star (think Debbie Gibson crossed with an early Brittany Spears). She had everything, family, fortune a recording contract and a hot, boy band member fiancĂ© named Jordan. Then it all changes practically overnight. She loses everything. Her fiancĂ© cheats on her.  Her mother (and only relative) runs off to Argentina with both Heather’s manager and her money and to top it all off; she’s dropped from her record contract because she wants to record her own music.

Now she’s the Assistant Resident Hall Director in a top college in New York and she’s waiting for the last three months of her six month probationary period to be over so she can take advantage of the free tuition that comes with her job and begin working on her BA. She may not be a size 8 anymore, but as she’ll tell you “Size 12 is NOT fat. It’s average” and she’s cool with it.

Her perfectly happy existence is thrown out the window when a freshman is found at the bottom of the elevator shaft. No one, not the cops, her colleagues, the college president or Heather’s private investigator landlord (who also happens to be the brother of her ex, Jordan) will listen when she tells them her suspicions that it was no accident because she knows teenage girls and they just don’t do things like elevator surf. It’s more of an activity participated in by drunk college guys. When more students begin to turn up dead, it’s up to Heather to play detective and prove that its no accident and that indeed its the size of your brain rather than the size of your butt that makes the difference.

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This is definitely one of those books I would consider to be a beach read. However the characters sucked me in. Even the peripheral characters were compelling. There’s Magda, the dorm cafeteria cashier, “wears enough makeup to make Christina Aguilera look as if she’s going au naturel” and calls all of the residents her" “little movie stars” because a scene from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was once filmed at the dorm. Then you have her landlord  (Cooper) who is the black sheep of his family because, rather than going into the recording industry like the rest of his family, he chose to go to college and eventually become a become a private detective. Even the background information, such as how  Cooper came to own the pink stucco brownstone he and Heather live in is entertaining. I won’t tell you how but I will say that it really made me laugh.

As a larger than size 8 woman, I found the fact that Cabot repeatedly emphasizes the title of her book throughout her writing a refreshing change from the propaganda that abounds surrounding what is found to be beautiful in America. I was also thankful that she did not overdue her references to the title. While it was made clear in conjunction with he storyline, it was not the main focus of the book.

All of the characters that Cabot created were interesting. No matter how major or minor the character , even if you didn’t hear much from them, they add to the value of the book. From Heather, who believes that if she adds together her daily walks to the deli and coffee shop that she gets her recommended daily amount of exercise, to Pete, the security guard who has worked at the college for 20 years and only does the job for the benefits and so his four kids can get a free college education, all of the characters give an added depth and realness to the story.

Whether you wear a size 0 or a size 24, whether you’re super thin or big boned, you’ll enjoy this book about a young woman trying to figure out who she is while trying to solve a multiple murder case. 

While your at it, go ahead and take a look at the next two books in the Heather Wells Mystery series!

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