This book came recommended by the younger sister of my bestie (let’s call her J) from college. We were having brunch at Circa before bridesmaid dress shopping for J’s upcoming nuptials! Selfishly I am super lucky that J picked Aria Dresses because she lives in NYC, found them online, and 1 of their only 3 stores is in my neighborhood in DC! (Aside: almost wedding season, such is the life in your mid-twenties!)
Before checking it out from the library I did zero research, I picked it up based only on “I think you will like books by Meg Cabot.” I only knew she wrote the book that was turned into The Princess Diaries (I liked the movie, but only because I have huge crushes on Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway).
As I skimmed through her books on the shelf I chose it because the prose was written “normally,” the others I picked up were all written as letters, emails, and IM conversations back and forth between characters, which I did not find very appealing.
Size 12 is Not Fat started off pretty well for me, the first scene giving good insight into Heather’s character and setting up her background story as a fallen pop-star. I liked that she retained a good self-image throughout the story even though (per the title) others perceived her as fat, she never obsessed about her weight or losing it.
However, the main conflict in the book, the murder mystery, was based on a premise that didn’t work for me and subsequently annoyed me until the end. Then Heather’s narrative voice annoyed me even more, and finally the ending annoyed me to MAX when the romantic element (the most important part of any read to me) was NOT resolved! As I turned the last page I discovered the rest of Cabot’s backlist, explaining why Heather did not have a happy ending, this is a SERIES!
Even though Heather’s love interest, her ex-boyfriend’s mysterious, hot, private investigator, leather-bomber-jacket wearing brother Cooper, was my favorite character in the book, I will not be reading the rest of the series, nor would I recommend it.
The mystery is based on someone falling to their death while “elevator surfing,” what is that you ask? I asked the same thing only the books acts as if everyone knows what this is, that it is common knowledge and happens in every building with elevators! I never really understood how people got in the elevator shaft, or why they would want to jump from one elevator car to another, or how they would get out. So from the get-go I was not on board with this plot line.
Heather works in the administration/operations side of a college dorm in New York City where a student dies in the elevator shaft. This brings me to the second point of extreme irritation, the college wants their dorms to be referred to as “Residence Halls” and Heather keeps forgetting. As the point of view (POV) of the story is told in the first person, in her stream of conciseness Heather keeps thinking “Bla bla bla the dorm – I mean residence hall” and it’s written over and over again about 124, 89127349038 times. I wanted to scream at her, why don’t you GET IT already!?
By the 254th page when Heather is about to die, hanging by her bare hands on an elevator cable 12 stories above an empty shaft she thinks to herself “I don’t want to die in this dorm – I mean residence hall.” Ok, seriously? WTF?!!! She is on the brink of death and her last thought is to correct her label for her work place???!??! I literally closed the book, put it down, and rolled my eyes at the ceiling while heaving a huge sigh in Meg Cabot’s direction.
I had invested too much time to completely stop reading however, so I hung on ‘till the end so at least the mystery was solved. I did enjoy the twist of the revelation of the murderer, and how Heather triumphed over them, so that was vaguely satisfying, but I still won’t be reading the next one.
I know Cabot has a huge fan base, so I might try reading something else of hers down the road, but personally this particular book/series didn’t do it for me! D grade.