Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Size 12 and Ready to Rock

Summary: Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy! 

Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather's new fianc√©. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated. -- William Morrow

This summer just seems to be flying by for me. Case in point, it's already time for the final review in Book Club Girl's Meg Cabot Read-Along. This time I read SIZE 12 AND READY TO ROCK the newly released book in the Heather Wells Mystery series. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I'm a little proud of myself for completing this read-along given everything else going on this summer. It wouldn't be right to take total credit, however. Ms. Cabot made it very easy because she writes such fun and light books that are perfect for summer reading.

SIZE 12 AND READY TO ROCK finds Heather Wells caught up in another fine mess. This time it's summer, a time when the residence hall director should be able to relax. However, Heather quickly discovers that that won't be the case this summer because her ex-boyfriend's wife Tania Trace (who also happens to be a HUGE pop star!) is hosting a teen rock camp reality show in the dormitory. Heather less than thrilled to be in close quarters with Tania (and her husband Jordan) all summer, but she finds herself even more upset when the producer of the series is found dead.

When it's apparent that the murderer was really after Tania, the head of her record label (who also happens to be Jordan's father) hires his eldest son Cooper (who also happens to be Heather's secret fiance) as a bodyguard for Tania. (Things aren't near as confusing as they sound -- these characters appear in all of the books!) Cooper is fully equipped to handle both the protection and the sleuthing; however, Heather can't help but get involved. She has successfully solved a few murder mysteries in the past! Along the way, Heather has to manage some very spoiled teens and keep everyone (including herself safe), but she also discovers some very sensitive secrets about Tania.

I thought SIZE 12 AND READY TO ROCK was a hoot! Meg Cabot has done it again and managed to write a very entertaining murder mystery. I don't know if I'd say the mystery angle of this story was impossible to figure out, but it was an interesting whodunit with a few surprising twists. If I'm being entirely honest, I don't think I read the Heather Wells Mystery series for the murder mysteries. They are all about Heather and the surrounding cast of characters to me.

Heather is just a wonderful character and I love laughing with her. She's had some heartache along the way and she's no longer at the peak of her career. She used to be a big-time pop star, but her mother ran off with her money. She lost her record contract and her boyfriend. She's also a little bit chunky and currently works in a residence hall, but she's still determined to make the best of her life and she never lets these challenges get her down. I love her upbeat personality and perseverance and especially her self-deprecating humor!

By SIZE 12 AND READY TO ROCK, Heather is finally discovering that her luck might be changing. She's recently engaged to Cooper, the man of her dreams (who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend's brother and the son of her former record label owner) and she's discovered that she does make a difference with the students she encounters through her job. She also learns that her ex-boyfriend and his wife might not be as bad (or as shallow) as she though. And here's the big thing... she can successfully solve murders!

In addition to Heather, I also love her fiance Cooper. I love Heather's descriptions of him and he does pretty much seem like the ideal guy. Heck, he must be pretty darn nice if he can tolerate some of Heather's quirks! I also enjoyed seeing another side to Tania and actually discovering that she's got a lot more depth than she did in the first novel. And finally, I thought the teen girls who were participating in the reality show and their mothers were portrayed in a very funny way -- not that I really liked them very much though. All of the selfish characteristics of teen girls were magnified when they were all in close quarters competing for television time and a record contract, and the stage moms' behavior brought to mind some of the mothers on Toddlers and Tiaras.

The one sure-fire thing I can say about this series, and especially SIZE 12 AND READY TO ROCK, is that these books are very entertaining. While I love reading literary books that made me think, I also appreciate a light and breezy book every now and then. I've discovered this summer that Meg Cabot just might be my summer go-to source for chick-lit books.

So far, I've read the first and last books in this series, but I definitely intend to read the remaining ones. These books are just so much fun and perfect for summer reading, and I highly recommend them. Here's a little incentive for you... the first book in the series SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT is available as an e-book for only $4.99 and SIZE 12 AND READY TO ROCK is currently $7.99. You can read more about this promotion here.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Make sure you join us tonight at 7 p.m. ET for a live chat with Meg Cabot on Book Club Girl on Air.


bermudaonion said...

This series sounds like so much fun! It also sounds like the books can be read out of order which is always a plus for me!

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I loved this one too-love the whole series in fact! Heather Wells is just such a delight and I adore Cooper.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It does sound fun! I definitely need to get back to Meg Cabot!

Beth F said...

You have convinced me that I need to read this series.