Title: Size 12 and Ready to Rock
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 fiancé. 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.
I’ve enjoyed all of the books in the Heather Wells series so far, but I didn’t love any of them to the point where I flipped through the entire book quickly to get to the end; normally that was saved for the end, when the mystery was starting to get super exciting and ready to wrap up. With this fourth book in the series, though, I think I’ve easily found my favorite.
Things got off to their normal melodramatic start, with Heather assuming that a hit from a paintball gun is actually killing her before she realizes what’s going on. I figured that things would be the same as the past books, that there would be plenty of the same jokes being used while I was only interested in the mystery. The mystery started quickly, though, with some mysteriousness being planted in the very first couple chapters, and it didn’t seem like I would be forced through the same old tired jokes as I sometimes was in the past.
There was a lot of interesting stuff going on beside the mystery. Early on, Heather learns some about her health that has her stressed out; it’s a pretty small plot point, but it has a really good ending that I think a lot of people will appreciate, including me. There’s also some half-frustrating (in a good way), half-entertaining drama surrounding the teenage girls shipped into Heather’s dorm for the summer music camp going on. The mystery is still obviously the main plotline, but there’s some other interesting stuff going on behind all that which’ll probably keep you just as interested.
There are some new, interesting characters, like Heather’s new boss who I hope to see a lot more of in the next book, but my favorite character growth is reserved for a character who’s been around for the whole series: Tania Trace, the new wife of Heather’s former fiance who stole said fiance when Heather was still with him. Until now, she’s been a small, secondary character who never actually showed up in the story. She didn’t have a lot of character depth, especially since she seemed like the stereotypical pop star who wears too little clothing and sings whatever her producers push at her. In this book, though, we finally meet her, and we learn a lot about her, since the mystery involves her. She gets a lot more depth and is painted in a much more positive light, which I really appreciated. I’d like to learn more about her, but I’d still be okay if this was all we got of her.
This mystery seemed much more serious than the past ones, although I’m not sure if that’s actually the case. This mystery involves elements of domestic abuse, which always seems to make things seem more serious than run of the mill murder, although there’s certainly murder going on in this mystery. I was interested in it from the very beginning. It didn’t seem like such a mystery – after all, we find out who the culprit is about halfway or so through the book – but it could be a kind of thriller story after that as everyone scrambles to apprehend the culprit.
The “Adult” Aspect
I found it kind of funny how similar this book can be to young adult, right down to saying things like “unspeakable act” for a sex act (I’m assuming, anyway – obviously the book didn’t tell me) and censoring some swear words through other means. Plenty of young adult books are willing to use swear words, so it was just a little weird that this adult book didn’t even use them. There was some swearing, but it was “softer” words, like the ones you can still hear on broadcast TV or on the radio. This might annoy some people, but I just found it kind of funny.
I thought that the romance would be in the forefront of this book after what happened at the end of the last book, but it wasn’t – in the best way possible. Many people complain about the fact that couples don’t really start relationships until the end of the book, which means readers miss out on seeing them deal with various, everyday problems that really make up a relationship. In this book, however, we do see Heather in a relationship that is no longer brand-new, and that’s interesting to see. I also appreciated the fact that the romance never eclipsed the mystery that was keeping me really interested in the book.
I was almost worried that things wouldn’t get wrapped up properly the closer I got to the end, but I should have known that was a silly worry. Things really didn’t seem that rushed – maybe that’s just my opinion, but either way, I was quite satisfied with how everything got wrapped up. The mystery, Heather’s personal issue, their relationship – everything was well at the end, and I was happy with it.
This book is definitely my favorite in the series so far. I read it in roughly one day rather than a week-ish, which is how long all the other books took me each time, and the mystery/story in this one interested me the most. I hope that the next and last book in the series takes this book’s place, but I’d be fine if this book remains my favorite.