Review: Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot

Posted: July 18, 2014 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

This review was originally posted at West of Mars. It is being posted here, at its new permanent home.

It was my mother, of all people, who told me to take Meg Cabot’s Size 12 Is Not Fat out of my TBR mountains and read it. The lead character, Heather Wells, is a former pop star turned amateur sleuth. Doesn’t that qualify for Rock Fiction?

Well, yes and no. Cabot’s former pop star is trying to go incognito, shrinking and demurring when people think they recognize her. There’s music in these pages, mostly in the form of ex-fiance Jordan Cartwright and Tania Trace, but the music doesn’t come alive and breathe the way the best Rock Fiction does. We’ll have to call this one a glancing blow.

The most striking part of Size 12 is how closely it resembles a Chick Lit novel. Heather’s not very worldly, for all that she’s been around the world and lived in an environment that probably deserves its own episode of Shark Week. She’s not very confident, for all that she stood in a spotlight and sang in front of (presumably) thousands (but possibly only hundreds; it’s not clear) of teenyboppers. With a background like this, she’s lacking in a lot of areas I wouldn’t expect her to be lacking in — like self-confidence in front of others. Oh, and for someone who’s 28, she sure acts like she’s 18 a lot of the time…

Overall, this is a cute book about a woman trying to figure out where she fits in the world. She’s working in a residence hall, hoping to make it to the six-month point at which she can enroll in classes, seeking some sort of degree that she hasn’t figured out yet. She’s living with her ex’s brother, who she’s got a massive crush on but can’t bring herself to do anything about. And then a girl goes and falls off an elevator, spinning this story into a cozy mystery.

Truly, Cabot bends genre here. Rock Fiction, chick lit, cozy mystery. She does it well, and the mystery unfolds with a sort of ramshackle grace that fits the genre-bending. The prose is fun. Heather, despite her many flaws, is a welcome character to spend time with. I hope as the series develops, so does Heather. Watching her grow from an ugly duckling into a swan will be quite the treat — if Cabot can keep Heather from following in the usual Chick Lit style to make it happen. I don’t want to see Heather lose weight and become a size eight again. I want to see her stay a 12, to be comfortable within herself, and even to embrace her music and find her power as a songwriter. I suspect it’s there, lurking, and once she and Cabot find it, this will, indeed, be Rock Fiction.

  1. I love Meg Cabot and I enjoyed the first book in this series. I imagined her to be Xtina Aguilera when she was indulging in Olive Garden’s endless pasta plates with hilary duff/britney spear’s personality.

    P.S. new Follower

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