Spotlight: Meg Cabot: Heather Wells series

Author: Meg Cabot
Titles: Size 12 Is Not Fat; Size 14 Is Not Fat, Either; Big Boned
New releases: Books 4 and 5 are upcoming; no news yet on release dates
About the series: Heather Wells used to be a teen pop sensation…until her label dropped her for gaining a few extra pounds. Now Heather’s walked out on her famous ex, moved in with his brother (but will things stay platonic with Cooper forever?), and found a job in a freshman dorm at New York College…who knew it was nicknamed Death Dorm? (from megcabot.com)

Book covers:

    Meg Cabot - Big Boned

I spent a lot of time reading these books. Actually, that isn’t true. I devoured book one in less than a day, and went back to the library to pick up books two and three. Book two I finished just as quickly as the first. Book three took a little more time. I’m afraid playing rummy with my boyfriend was more important than finishing the book. But I finally did, and, as promised, here’s my quick spotlight on the series:

Book one opens with the death of a girl in an elevator shaft. Heather Wells, the Assistant Housing Director who is being shafted (no pun intended) by New York College, at least in terms of pay, is fully convinced that this was not the result of “elevator surfing”, jumping from the top of one elevator to the next in the shaft. Heather is even more convinced by girl number two’s death; neither of these girls were the type to elevator surf. They were “good girls”, not wild party animals. Of course, Heather has other things to worry about, as well. Such as her ex-fiancee, Jordan, a popstar who is dating the girl he cheated on Heather with. And of course, there’s Cooper, Jordan’s black-sheep brother and Heather’s roommate. Cooper is Heather’s object of affection, and really, watching him deny her again and again is frustrating.

Book two opens with the death of a cheerleader; her head is in a pot of boiling water in the kitchen, but no one can find the rest of her. Heather investigates some wrong turns, and is distracted again and again by Jordan’s impecable sense of timing. This time, it’s because Jordan has now become engaged to the girl he’s dating, and he feels he has to apologize to Heather. Heather is still mooning over Cooper, who is still oblivious to Heather’s attraction. Oh, and there’s a murderer on the loose, and Heather just might become his next victim (except we already know she doesn’t; there wouldn’t be a book three if so).

Book three opens with the death of the Housing Director of Heather’s building. In his office. Heather has a boyfriend now, a health-nut vegetarian named Tad who gets Heather to “jog” in the park (okay, so Heather walks, and Tad laps her several times), and gets her to eat veggie food (which Heather decidedly doesn’t like, and she craves meat). Heather goes out of her way to investigate this murder, despite being told specifically by the detective to stay out of it (even Cooper tells her to stay out of it). It’s in the process of discovering the murderer that Cooper realizes he’s about to lose Heather, and Heather realizes that Tad just isn’t the one for her. Fortunately for Heather, Cooper admits it, and we have a happy ending.

To be honest, as much as I loved this series, I had a few problems with it. Heather frustrated me as a narrator. She’s obviously non-reliable, but that’s not the problem. Heather seems to be kind of passive; she has so much going on in her life that half the things she wants to do (like investigating murder and fantasizing about Cooper) have to be put on hold. She frustrated me, too, because she always seemed to feel guilty about something; her dad moves in with her and Cooper in book two, but by the time he moves out in book three she begins to like having him around. However, in book two, Heather just can’t seem to express her discomfort. Not even to Cooper, who should be numero uno on her list, at least with that issue.

Jordan frustrated me even more. He just can’t seem to grasp that Heather is over him (the sex on the front hall of Cooper’s brownstone probably doesn’t help matters any). Instead, he repeatedly apologizes for not telling Heather about his relationship with Tania, then about their engagement. Heather is un-invited to their wedding, curtesy of Tania, and finally Tania is pregnant, and Heather wonders just what kind of father Jordan will be (and Jordan wonders this, too, leading Heather to assure him that he will be a good father, despite her misgivings).

And, of course, there’s Cooper, a private investigator who has Heather doing his accounting in exchange for free room and board in his brownstone. Heather is convinced that Cooper just doesn’t like her (in a romantic fashion), although he distinctly shows even in book one that he cares about her as more than a friend; he just won’t admit it. Oh, Cooper, you frustrate me more than Heather does.

Throw in a lot of ecentric friends, and Heather has more than enough in her life to keep her busy.

All in all, Heather’s a really charming person. I love her conviction when she knows she’s right, despite what everyone else says. I cannot wait for books four and five. I read somewhere that book four is due out in 2011, and five is out in 2012, but I’m taking it with a grain of salt because I haven’t seen those dates on her official website.

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