Size 14 is Not Fat Either, by Meg Cabot

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either is the best series installment Meg Cabot has produced in years. It’s sunny-tempered (well, as sunny-tempered as a story featuring a beheaded cheerleader can be) and witty, and it does a great job of displaying Cabot’s gift for engaging characterization.

This is the second book in the Size 12 mystery series, and it’s a considerable improvement over its predecessor. Cabot’s heroine, Heather Wells, achieved minor fame and fortune as a teenage pop star... until she decided to start writing her own songs, lost her record contract, and her mother/manager cleaned out their mutual bank account and left the country. Now Heather’s 29, single (her ex-boy-band-member fiancé dumped her for a bigger-name star), and working as an assistant dorm director in a New York college in exchange for a meager paycheck and free tuition. Worst of all, she’s continually subjected to exchanges like this one, where a cafe employee asks her if anyone has ever told her that she “looks a lot like Heather Wells”:

“…I settle for saying, “Really?”

“Sure. Well, if you were thinner,” Barista Boy says, with a smile. “Here’s your change. Have a good one!”

The mystery in Size 14 is weak, but it gives Heather a chance to once again play intrepid girl detective. It also allows Cabot to surround her heroine with a makeshift crew of bizarre crime-solving assistants, ranging from Heather’s friendly local drug dealer, Reggie, to Gavin McGoren, a 21-year-old film student with a smart mouth and an enormous crush on his clueless assistant dorm director.

Cabot’s minor characters are so much fun that they stand in danger of usurping some of her bigger players. The object of Heather’s affections, mysterious P.I. Cooper Cartwright, isn’t around enough to make much of an impression, and the book ends without a romantic resolution. Ordinarily, that would be fine—this is a trilogy, after all—but it also means that readers may grow more invested in Gavin as a possible romantic alternative.

Like all of Cabot’s books, Size 14 is Not Fat Either is told in first person, which means that Heather’s narration ends up being virtually interchangeable with that of any other Cabot heroine: direct (except regarding romantic matters), cheerful, and funny. Happily, this is an extremely likeable list of character traits, so if you’ve read and enjoyed one Meg Cabot book, it’s likely that you’ll find this one just as much fun.
Posted by: Julia, Last edit by: Julianka


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