Thursday, January 12, 2006

Size 12 Is Not Fat, Or Meg Cabot Has A Chip In My Brain

Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot.

The Plot: Heather Wells used to be a pop-idol to tweens. But her Mom stole all her money and left the country; her record label dropped her; she lost her boyfriend; and she's gone up a size or two. Heather's current life includes being happy being a size 12 (size 12 is not fat!) and working as an assistant dorm director for a New York college, hoping to be able to go back to school and be a doctor. She's also started writing her own songs so maybe that's what she'll do.... She also has a crush on her ex boyfriend's brother (she's already named the children: Jack, Emily, Charlotte.) Then one of the girls dies in the dorm, the result of an elevator surfing accident. Heather is convinced that something happened and soon takes up another new career: girl detective.

The Good: What freaks me out about Meg Cabot is not so much that she must be eavesdropping on my conversations, because the dialogue in the books is much like that I have with friends and family -- but the fact that she has a chip implanted in my brain and knows how I think. That's just scary. My imaginary sons are always Jack. Sometimes Connor. (Oh, and I'm not a size 12. Holding onto a size 6, thank you.)

The pop culture references come fast and furious, with a heavy emphasis on TV and movies. I keep turning the page, wondering what Heather will think or say or do next. For example, when she finds out one suspect has a trust fund: "This [] is news to me. Oh my God, maybe [he's] like Bruce Wayne! Seriously. Only evil. Like maybe he's had this whole cavern dug out from beneath Fischer Hall, and he takes innocent girls down there, has his way with them, then drugs them and takes them back upstairs and drops them down the elevator shaft....."

The lyrics from Heather's singing career are painfully on target; I can hear a teen girl singing them on a bad MTV video.

Every time I see you,
I get a Sugar Rush,
you're like candy,
you give me a Sugar Rush,
don't tell me to stay on my diet,
you have simply got to try it,
Sugar Rush.

This is also a nicely done mystery with both a realistic yet surprising resolution.

While teens may like S12INF, it's not a teen book. Unfortunately, the people at my local big bookstore don't know that and put the book display in the children's area. This is perfect for those who like Shopaholic and Bridget Jones. Hello, how are the people supposed to buy this book if it's not in the right section?

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