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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cabot Takes the Mystery World By Storm
Twenty-eight-year-old Heather Wells rocked out when she was a teen, as a pop star that toured local malls with the boy band Easy Street. But once she stopped being a teenager, started packing on the pounds, and decided she wanted to write her own songs, Heather lost it all. Her recording contract was promptly taken away, her mother took off with her manager and all of her...
Published on January 5, 2006 by Erika Sorocco

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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not her best effort
I really enjoy Meg Cabot's books, but this was not her best effort. The mystery was passable. Not terrific, but not a bad first effort. I found her characters missed the mark, though. Heather Wells, the star, has a crush on her friend and landlord, Cooper. Whenever she sees him or he talks to her, we go inside her head where she imagines that he's always on the verge of...
Published on January 21, 2007 by Chynna Blue


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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cabot Takes the Mystery World By Storm, January 5, 2006
By 
Erika Sorocco (Southern California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
Twenty-eight-year-old Heather Wells rocked out when she was a teen, as a pop star that toured local malls with the boy band Easy Street. But once she stopped being a teenager, started packing on the pounds, and decided she wanted to write her own songs, Heather lost it all. Her recording contract was promptly taken away, her mother took off with her manager and all of her money to Argentina, and her boyfriend, Easy Street member, Jordan Cartwright, dumped her for the newest hot pop star, Tania Trace. But Heather is finally getting her life back on track. She's the Assistant Residence Hall Director at New York College, and she's even shacking up with one of the hottest guys on earth - okay, just as friends - Cooper Cartwright, Jordan's estranged, private eye brother. But when the body of a female co-ed from Heather's residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft, and everyone claims it's just an accident, Heather knows better, because she knows girls, and girls don't elevator surf. Then another body appears, and Heather knows that two accidents in two weeks is utterly impossible. So she begins investigating. The only problem, by the time she finds out who the killer is, it may be too late...for her.

Meg Cabot is one of the most colorful writers on the market right now. She can take any genre, and turn it into something marvelous. SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT is no exception. Meg takes three very unlikely subjects: pop stars, dorm directors, and detectives, and mixes them into one very intriguing book that is utterly impossible to put down. Heather Wells, like Meg's previous characters, is charming, with a witty sense of humor, and various complaints about her imperfections, that make her an easy character to relate to. A highly enjoyable, laugh-out-loud funny look into the life of an ex-pop star, that must be read while eating a Dove Bar. With just one book, Cabot has taken the mystery world by storm, and proves that there's a lot more Heather Wells where this came from. And I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Erika Sorocco
Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Light, Fun Mystery!, January 4, 2006
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
Heather Wells is a former pop star who must now face an uncertain future after losing her fortune, her recording contract, and her fiance in a short period of time. Heather finds herself employed at a "residence hall" where 2 deaths in two weeks make her suspicious and that leads her to all sorts of adventures in her quest to determine whether or not murder has occurred. Written in first-person, Heather takes us through her sleuthing as well as her lusting for the brother of her ex-fiancee.

Heather is a bright, affable character who is readily relatable. The fact that she is not perfect is a joy; she's real and she means for you to understand that. I enjoyed the chatty style and the way each chapter began with the words to one of Heather's "songs" she sang as a pop star. I could easily envision her quirkiness and really enjoyed the humor as well.

This is definitely a chick-lit mystery and it doesn't pretend to be anything else, which is fine. The main place I had any problem was toward the end; the climax of the action just didn't have a realistic feel to it and it seemed a tad on the silly side. But overall I really enjoyed this one and look forward to more in the series.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not her best effort, January 21, 2007
By 
Chynna Blue (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
I really enjoy Meg Cabot's books, but this was not her best effort. The mystery was passable. Not terrific, but not a bad first effort. I found her characters missed the mark, though. Heather Wells, the star, has a crush on her friend and landlord, Cooper. Whenever she sees him or he talks to her, we go inside her head where she imagines that he's always on the verge of telling her he loves her and thinks she's the most amazing woman alive. That works for her teenage characters in The Pricess Diaries series, but Heather is 28. It just makes her sad and desperate to me. And I kept wondering how someone who lives in that kind of fantasy world would be able to solve a murder, anyway.

Heather works in a dorm, which the school calls a "residence hall." Cabot uses this joke - "we went back to the dorm - I mean residence hall" about 10 times in the first two chapters alone and then it keeps coming back up throughout the book. I kept wondering why her editor didn't tell her it was funny the first two times, tired by the third, and would make people want to tear their hair out every other time they read it.

She has a sequel out, which I'll probably read in hopes that Heather isn't so desperate and sad. She's got a third book planned. If there's no improvement in book 2, I won't be reading 3.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars High promises and poor delivery., April 20, 2009
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
Much like my illicit love of Marian Keyes, I have been a fan of Meg Cabot since my sophomore year in college, when I was working in a Bettendorf, Iowa resource room and read two chapters of All-American Girl to the eighth-graders twice a week. There is something addictive about Cabot's humor in All-American Girl and she writes an impressive teenager. My fondness carried over to The Boy Next Door and Boy Meets Girl, which are romantic comedy stories told, rather than through narrative, through e-mails, letters, menus, IM conversations -- basically, in any non-traditional means you can imagine.

When Cabot came out with Size 12 is Not Fat, then, I was instantly excited: a new Meg Cabot? About a girl detective who isn't really a detective? Set in a college dorm? And she's not a skinny girl? Who would've thought! I was excited for the book and then ended up putting it on a shelf for a while before I actually read it. I finally dusted it off this past week.

The plot is fairly simple: Heather Wells used to be a pop star, but her "decade of fame" has ended and landed her in a job as an assistant residence hall director for New York College. She's looking forward to the perks the job has to offer -- like free tuition! -- until tragedy strikes in the form of a girl dying in the dorm. She suspects something fishy. Especially when a second girl dies. But since the cops don't believe her, she has to turn to her landlord-slash-true-love Cooper (older brother of her ex-fiance and boy-bad headliner) and her crazy friends in the dorms to help her solve the case (and get her ex off her back while she wins over his brother!)

But honestly, I think Cabot should've stuck to non-traditional stories and teen novels.

The thing I love about Meg Cabot is her ability to write a believable teenager. I loved Sam in All-American Girl and the teens in Size 12 is Not Fat were absolutely pitch-perfect for eighteen-year-old girls away from home. But Cabot trying to write an adult just makes me want to speed through the book. More pages were filled with Heather's relentless whining, moping, and worrying about how fat/unattractive/unwanted/unpopular/embarrassed she was than it was on the actual plot. There are people dead but she is terrified that Cooper will reject her? That Jordan and she want to get back together? That she will not have her three children and the dog and the house and -- I'm sorry, but I can't take her seriously at all. She was insipid, whiny, and completely useless as a main character. I almost felt that she was more concerned about getting Cooper to like her as a motive for crime-solving than she was actually, you know, solving the crime.

It doesn't help that Cabot's obviously new at writing mysteries. The book suffers horribly from "no way you could solve that from your chair" syndrome, which is one of my biggest beefs about the amateur sleuth (or any sleuth) genre. If my high school students can solve "The Case of the Speckled Band" before Holmes's big reveal, I should be able to pick out the baddie in this, but the groundwork wasn't laid at all. The surprise was an interesting twist, but really not plausible based on the information we had. I find this really frustrating as a literary move in any book, but especially in one that was as weakly written as this (because it feels like just another flaw instead of the one low point in an otherwise marvelous story).

That said, I found the last 150 pages better than the first 180 and I liked a lot of the minor characters, which made it not entirely unenjoyable. I actually finished it off today because it was finally picking up, as opposed to the mere one chapter a night I have been managing for the last week.

However, my last comment is the doozy of them all, and that is the author's note sort of thing at the end of the look, written by Cabot herself. The book alternates between indictment and praise of the American fashion/body image standard, with Heather being alternately proud and horrified by her size and the characters around her being hyper-superficial to make up for her seemingly "down to Earth" character. She doesn't buy vanity-sized jeans but spends an entire night worried that the dress she borrowed from a friend (which was a maternity dress and therefore proves the ridiculousness of the premise because being fat =/= being pregnant; bodies are built completely differently, especially one as apparently form-fitting as the one she borrowed) will split open; she prides herself on eating real food but then is miserable at the skinny girls around her. I found the message conflicting to begin with, but Cabot's note sat firmly on the border between ridiculous and obnoxious. It started off condemning those who say that size 12 is fat but then, at the end, is "backed up" by Cabot's own statement that she has been size 12 and even size 16 before but is now back to a size 6. It felt to me like taking the at least mildly positive message of Heather -- that it might not be easy to accept yourself in a size that's viewed as "fat" but it's not necessarily bad -- by saying, "Yeah, I was fat once. BUT NOW LOOK. I AM BETTER. CURED!"

I have two more Cabot books to read on my shelf but I think I might be done with her after that. Maybe even before.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh-Out-Loud Fun With Intriguing Mystery, January 31, 2006
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
Heather Wells was once a teen singing sensation. But after a string of bad luck events (her mother ran off with Heather's money and her manager, her recording contract was canceled, and she discovered her fiancé, Jordan, with another woman), she has taken a job as assistant dorm manager at a New York City college. At Fischer Hall, she's responsible for a variety of jobs, such as helping when the soda machine malfunctions and taking drunk students to the hospital.

Heather lives close to the college, in the top floor apartment of a building owned by her ex-fiancé's hunky detective brother, Cooper. Jordan is still after Heather to get back together, which is never going to happen. Probably. In fact, Heather nurses a secret passion for nice guy Cooper, who unfortunately doesn't appear to consider Heather to be girlfriend material in any way.

Elizabeth Kellogg, a freshman who dies in Fischer Hall, is found at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Heather is troubled. Sure, students have been known to indulge in the deadly game of elevator surfing --- but only the (usually drunk) males. And only in packs. If the dead girl wasn't alone when she was supposedly elevator surfing, where were her friends? Elizabeth was a preppie; as a group, preppies aren't likely to elevator surf. The more Heather thinks about Elizabeth's death, the less it adds up. In fact, Heather can't help but wonder (although she tries not to) if Elizabeth was pushed. Is Fischer Hall an unsafe place, with a murderer running rampant? Or, just as disturbing, did someone see the girl fall and not report it?

Then, incredibly, another dead female freshman is found at the bottom of the elevator shaft. When Heather discovers that the desk elevator key is missing, she contacts Cooper and insists he help her solve the mystery. Cooper though believes that Heather is pursuing the mystery angle because she misses the adrenaline rush of her singing career. That ticks Heather off because it's so untrue. Or is it?

The already fast-paced plot quickens when Heather discovers that the two dead girls had things in common: they were both virgins and had interfering mothers, according to the dorm records. It's not too long before she stumbles across a certain individual, but she seems to be the only one who suspects this person. Next thing she knows, her life is in danger. Or is it?

Anyone who has read Meg Cabot's teen books knows that the author dishes out one delightful read after another --- and she doesn't disappoint with SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT. As always, her characters are real and truly hilarious, the plot is lively, and the romance plays well. Heather is an endearing sleuth with believable motivations. This book is pure entertainment, laugh-out-loud fun with an intriguing mystery woven through --- perfect for a long winter's read in front of a roaring fire.

My only complaint: WHY must we wait until January 2007 for the next Heather Wells book? I can't wait that long!

--- Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful!, December 30, 2005
By 
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
Although a little slow in the beginning, 'Size 12 Is Not Fat' picks up and turns out to be not only suspenseful with its mystery and crime-solving but laugh-out-loud funny when it comes to the heroine Heather Wells' quirky attitude and pining love for her roommate and partner-in-crime Cooper Cartwright.

I couldn't put this mystery down once I got trucking with it- Heather proved to be funny and relatable although a former teen pop sensation. The book is a little longer than the usual novels of Meg Cabot's, but it was jam packed with adventure and humor. I was able to envision the dramatic moments- whether it be dangling from a cord in an elevator shaft or dueling sixteen stories above a busy New York City street- and through Heather's quick thinking, I not only felt as if I were experiencing these frightening moments but the humorous ones as well!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great start to a promising series!, November 6, 2006
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
Once upon a time, twenty-eight year old Heather Wells was a celebrated rock star. Then she grew up, put on a little weight and had the audacity to want to write her own songs, so, her record label dropped her like a hot potato. Adding to that, her mother ran into the Argentina sunset with all of her money AND her manager. Oh! And if that didn't add insult to injury, her ex-fiancé - Easy Street boy band member Jordan Cartwright - cheated and then proposed to the NEW hot teen pop star Tania Trace.

However, things are looking up at last! Heather is finally starting over, and getting her life back to normal while working as an assistant RHD (residence hall director) for New York College. At the same time, she dreams of her devastatingly handsome landlord-slash-detective-slash-friend Cooper Cartwright - Jordan's estranged brother - to see her as more than just a best bud.

But that fantasy has to be put on hold for just a moment, since the body of a young freshman girl is found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft of one of the dorms - I mean residence halls. Unlike the rest of the students and staff members, Heather thinks this isn't just an accident. Especially when more bodies turn up, so she decides to do some probing of her own. Unfortunately, as soon as she stumbles upon exactly who the killer is, she gets stuck in the uncompromising position of trying to save her own life.

SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT was such a fun cozy mystery. I liken it right up there with Kyra Davis' SEX, MURDER AND A DOUBLE LATTE. It was a hilarious, fun and exciting read that I am sure will make for a superb series! Heather is a loveable heroine that all readers will be rooting for. The other characters also add much amusement and pizzazz. I also can't wait to see where Heather and Cooper's relationship go from here!

Cabot's second installment, SIZE 14 IS NOT FAT EITHER, can't come soon enough!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sing on!, March 1, 2006
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
It's very hard for me to review this book without reviewing Meg Cabot as a writer. That's for the simple reason that most of her books have more commonalities than dissimilarities. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.

The one thing I truly love about Meg's writing is her premise. Her "What if?" style of setting. What if an awkward adolescent was really a princess? What if an anarchistic teen accidentally saved the president? And, in this novel, What if Britney Spears (or someone just like her) lost it all? What if her mom ran off with her money, and she lost her famous fiance, and she got too old to appeal to the tween crowd, and, above all, what if she got kind of chubby? What would she do with her life -- in effect, how would she survive in the real world full of bills, lack of education, and constantly facing the question, "Hey, weren't you once Britney?"

That's the problem facing Heather Wells, the star of this mystery novel. Heather's first focus, at the age of 28, is getting herself an education. With no money, her best bet is to become an assistant RA for New York College, thus earning herself free tuition. Her second big concern in life is Cooper, her superhot landlord. The fact that Cooper is her ex-fiance's brother is only a minor complication. Now out of the limelight, things seem to be settling down for Heather.

But that's before a freshman girl is found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft, supposedly from "elevator surfing" (which you don't find out until about 150 pages in is when someone climbs to the top of the elevator and jumps onto another one as it passes by -- I was confused for the longest time!) Heather is not convinced this is just an accident, she knows girls don't elevator surf! A short time later, another girl dies in the same way, and Heather decides to take matters into her own hands!

This book is funny, occassionally witty, and heartwarming. However, I find it very difficult to believe that a 28-year-old woman, no matter how trapped in her own adolsence, actually talks like a teen. The words that come out of Heather's mouth would sound more appropriate for Mia or Samantha. Occasionally, speaking like that is fine, but all the time just marks her as remarkably immature. At 28, the idea of being "totally in love" with a man, but only able to talk about how hot he is, just proves that an adult woman can't tell the difference between infatuation and actual love. This incongruity is the only reason this book didn't rate a full five stars.

Despite this one problem though, this book kept me solidly interested. It was a very light mystery, and the message to all YA girls -- that being super-thin is not the end-all, be-all of existence, is an excellent idea. Having a heroine who is smart, funny, and still not physically perfect is a new thing, and a good one.

I am definately looking forward to the next book in this series!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute, but not great mystery chick-lit book, February 12, 2006
By 
Anonymous (new york, ny United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) (Paperback)
Though I'm 32, I've become a big fan of Meg Cabot's teen-oriented novels. I loved ALL-AMERICAN GIRL and TEEN IDOL, and adored her MEDIATOR series. That said, I couldn't wait for SIZE 12's release because a) the premise sounded fun and interesting and b) being plus-sized myself, I liked the idea of there being a series which featured a larger-sized heroine.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel the book lived up to my expectations--maybe because they were so high to begin with. The story itself is enjoyable: former teen rocker Heather Wells starts a new life working in a residence hall, and becomes a "girl detective" when two students in her building are murdered. And as usual, the writing is witty (loved seeing the lyrics to Heather's old songs), and the heroine is very likeable--much more so than some of her teen narrators, who can be a bit whiney. However, Heather is really the only character in the story whom I feel has any depth. Boy-band member Jordan, Heather's ex-fiance, is a complete cartoon character, and you can't quite understand what she sees in her latest love interest, Cooper (Jordan's brother/the PI whom Heather lives with and works for), who is kinda boring.

My main problem, though, is with the tone of the writing. Heather is supposed to be 28 years old. Yet with the way she speaks, she sounds exactly like Cabot's teen characters! One can argue that Heather is suffering from some arrested development, given that she peaked in her teen years, but since Jordan describes her as "hard" at one point, this doesn't seem to be what Cabot was going for. Still, Heather has trouble saying "penis" (she calls it "You-know-where" or "interesting area"), and her reactions to events made me forget I was reading about a grown woman who's already gone through a lot in her life. As I'm reading more of Cabot's books, I'm also finding it more difficult to distinguish between narrators. Sam sounds very much like Mia, whom Heather reminded me of ... and they all sound like Cabot does in her blog. While it is certainly understandable that a little of the author's persona would seep into her characters', I wish she'd do something to make them more distinct. Judy Blume, who also tends to write first-person, has a knack for doing this: you can tell which character is speaking, even if she or he isn't identified.

Overall, I enjoyed SIZE 12, and would recommend it as a fun read to plow through on a lazy Sunday. I think Ms. Cabot needs to take it easy, though. According to her blog, she basically has a new book due every few months. It's great that this talented author is so in demand, but I think if she were able to put more time into her novels, they wouldn't feel quite as a cookie-cutter and rushed (as READY OR NOT did), and would be as wonderful as her early masterpieces.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Size 12 Is Not Fat, September 22, 2013
If there had been one more rilly (instead of really) at the beginning of the book I would have quit reading it. The story was okay. I don't feel attached enough to the characters to go read another Heather Wells story which is why I rated it 3 stars. I should care more but the story was kind of like a pop song... it just wasn't deep enough.
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Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries)
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