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Size 12 Is Not Fat: A Heather Wells Mystery (Heather Wells Mysteries) Paperback – December 27, 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 217 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Heather Wells Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bag the tiara and get out the gun: Heather Wells, former teen idol, turns detective in the cute debut of a new mystery series from bestseller Cabot (The Princess Project and other titles in her Princess Diaries series). After the 20-something Heather's rocker boyfriend dumps her, and her mother and manager flee with her earnings, she becomes an assistant director of an undergraduate residence hall at Manhattan's New York College (read: NYU) in hopes of free tuition. When students start to die mysteriously while "elevator surfing" in the building, weight-conscious, romance-obsessed Heather goes on a crazed hunt to uncover the truth—with an unwavering sense of style. As Magda, Heather's dorm cashier friend, says: "Even if the rest of your life is going down the toilet... at least your toes can still look pretty." Cabot delivers Heather's amateur sleuthing adventures in a rapid-fire narrative that may leave some readers begging for time-outs to control sudden laughing fits.
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From Booklist

At 28, former teen-pop-star Heather Wells feels as though she has lost everything: her family and fortune (her mom fled the country with Heather's earnings), her recording contract, her slender waistline, and her fiance, Jordan, a philandering, boy-band singer. Then Jordan's brother, Cooper, a dreamy private investigator and family black sheep, offers Heather room and board in exchange for clerical work, and she finds an additional job as a residence-hall director at a nearby Greenwich Village university. After several female students turn up dead at the dorm, Heather takes on her own stealthy investigation and finds herself the target of the killer. In the first title in her Heather Wells series, Cabot combines a fairly straightforward mystery with a single-girl-in-the-city plot in which Heather triumphs over cheating guys, bad luck, and a fattist society. Most of the characters are two-dimensional, but Heather's strong, amusing voice, the plot twists, and the possibility of romance will draw mystery and chick-lit readers alike. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Heather Wells Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060525118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060525118
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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