Title: Size 12 is Not Fat
Former pop star Heather Wells has settled nicely into her new life as assistant dorm director at New York College—a career that does notrequire her to drape her size 12 body in embarrassingly skimpy outfits. She can even cope (sort of) with her rocker ex-boyfriend’s upcoming nuptials, which the press has dubbed The Celebrity Wedding of the Decade. But she’s definitely having a hard time dealing with the situation in the dormitory kitchen—where a cheerleader has lost her head on the first day of the semester. (Actually, her head is accounted for—it’s her torso that’s AWOL.)
Surrounded by hysterical students—with her ex-con father on her doorstep and her ex-love bombarding her with unwanted phone calls—Heather welcomes the opportunity to play detective . . . again. If it gets her mind off her personal problems—and teams her up again with the gorgeous P.I. who owns the brownstone where she lives—it’s all good. But the murder trail is leading the average-sized amateur investigator into a shadowy world. And if she doesn’t watch her step, Heather will soon be singing her swan song!
As the second book in a series, this book had to do its best to overcome the sophomore slump – taking the characters who had been introduced in the first book and helping them grow without turning them into stock characters who were just around to manipulate the story. Luckily, I think this book managed to do that with its second installment, which was just as interesting as the first book in Meg Cabot’s Heather Wells mystery series.
Things are going pretty well for Heather at the beginning after the events of the first book, but things quickly went downhill when a cheerleader’s head – and not her body – is found in the dining hall of her dorm. The mystery starts off slowly as it did in the first book, especially since Heather is determined to not get involved this time (yeah right), but that doesn’t mean that the beginning isn’t interesting enough to keep you reading.
There are other plot points beside the mystery, though – there’s still Heather’s relationship with her ex, who is supposed to get married during this book (I won’t tell you whether the wedding goes off without a hitch, though), as well as a new relationship: her formerly incarcerated father shows up in town (and that’s not a spoiler – it’s mentioned in the summary), so we get to see one of Heather’s dysfunctional relationships with a parent – hopefully we’ll get to finally meet her mother in the third book.
Some of the characters are pretty much the same as they were in the first book, but there is definitely some growth. The cast of characters that Heather works with get small moments to shine that are interesting, and of course all of the people Heather has a personal relationship with are interesting. There’s also a new boss, who is gay and not surprisingly uneasy about all the murder going on in his new dorm – it’s not as nice as having a LGBTQ character in the lead, of course, but at least it’s something and there’s more to his character than his sexuality.
The mystery didn’t have as much of a twist with the culprit this time as the first book did, but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t as interesting. There seemed to be higher stakes this time around because the murder was so violent and there is more violent acts that definitely shocked me and added a sense of urgency to the whole mystery.
The “Adult” Aspect
This continues to feel like a YA Meg Cabot books with more curse words and mentions of sex, but it really wouldn’t be that bad for an actual teenager to read, at least in my opinion. If you think that any mention of sex is too awful for a teenager who has probably seen it and heard plenty of things in school and that somehow they made it through high school without hearing any curse words, then I guess this book might seem “too adult,” but I really don’t think it’s too different from Cabot’s YA books.
The romantic drama continues to be one of the things that I just don’t quite care about as much as everything else. I don’t dislike it, and I think Cooper is an interesting enough character, but I don’t care about it as much as, say, Jesse and Suze from another Cabot series. And there isn’t too much progress with the romance anyway because of course there are plenty of other books in this series to include the romantic drama.
As is the case with many mysteries, the ending always gets my attention the most because I want to know who did it and how and why and all of those details that come at the end. The ending also sets things up for another interesting third installment without having some mean cliffhanger, which is always great.
I liked this book just as much as the first book in the series. It’s not my favorite Cabot series (I think The Mediator will always win that title), but it makes it clear that I’ll love pretty much anything that Cabot writes, YA or adult.