Instead of a YA Contemporary book today, I'm reviewing the latest book in Meg Cabot's Heather Wells Mysteries series, The Bride Wore Size 12.
This is a book that's ridiculously fun, and carries on the awesome of previous Heather Wells books.
Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: September 24th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published September 10th 2013)
Format read: E-ARC via Edelweiss
She was one of the most popular and well-known MG/YA/NA writers when I was growing up, and I have fond memories of spending hours reading her Princess Diariesseries, Queen of Babble series, etc.
So when I heard that she was writing a final book to the Heather Wells series, I was overjoyed. And when I was approved to read the book on Edelweiss – thanks again, William Morrow – that just made my week.
Synopsis (via Goodreads)
With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up.
Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.
Things that worked:
Over the course of five books, we’ve seen Heather Wells grow from a slightly uncertain young woman navigating a post-boyfriend and post-fame world, into a confident college administrator who’s a dorm manager-slash-mother hen for all of her wayward dormitory charges.
Cabot continues the trend in The Bride Wore Size 12, by showing more examples of Heather’s confidence on the job, her strong belief in her relationship with Cooper and her unwavering conviction that she’s on the right path in her life.
Though there isn’t as much wackiness in this book as in the previous books, the growth is still there. Cabot does an excellent job of using events and circumstances to show us just how much Heather has changed.
E.g. When faced with someone from her past, Heather doesn’t panic. She gets upset, but she’s also able to deal with the situation rationally.
And most importantly of all: she’s willing to communicate and believe in herself more. Heather makes active attempts to engage in Cooper before she’s about to do something in the name of her investigations, and she’s also not constantly obsessed with her weight or her appearance anymore.
She’s proud of who she is, and I believe that readers will be proud of her.
Cabot’s written so many books by now; she’s basically gotten her writing, plotting and world-building down to a science.
The book zips along at a fast pace, plotting for the occasional (minor) bombshell that continues to enrich the world of Fischer Hall.
Even though the book doesn’t spend as much time as developing the world as in previous books, I think readers will still appreciate the small details that Cabot throws in, including an unexpected minor new character.
* The realism of the mystery/crime
Without giving any spoilers away, I thought that Meg constructed a murder mystery this time that was extremely plausible, and actually very thoughtful in its execution.
Unlike the kooky, slightly off-the-wall murder plots of previous Heather Wells books, I could actually easily see the situation of this book playing out, given the right set of circumstances and bad timing.
Even though Meg doesn’t necessarily hit readers over the head with the morals of the eventual resolution to that murder mystery, I do applaud her for presenting the scenario in a way that will make readers think about why this could happen and how they (or someone they know) could possibly stop a situation like this.
Meg’s books always end on a happy note, with the couple du jour finally getting together, along with an engagement or marriage finally occurring. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the ending to The Bride Wore Size 12 is just as predictable as previous Cabot novels.
However, with that being said, the happiness of Heather’s ending is possibly more satisfying than that of any previous Cabot heroine. Over the course of five books and even in her pre-series life, Heather has experienced a number of obstacles and challenges that would have made even the most resilient person struggle.
The fact that she finally, finally gets her happily-ever-after with the ever-loyal Cooper, is something that has been a long time coming, and readers will undoubtedly be delighted to read it.
Things that didn't work:
If this was any author, I would likely have thoughts to point out, but... it's Meg!
Cabot has put such love and care into her eclectic cast of characters; I can easily visualize them just continuing to happily live their day-to-day lives in New York and at Fischer Hall, which is enough to keep this reader happy.
However, if Meg is motivated or interested enough to continue with this series - *hint hint* I think that she’s created a world that’s more than rich enough to continue on, with stories and mysteries that will keep readers entertained for a ways to come.
I highly recommend this book for fans of the usual suspects – e.g. Sophie Kinsella; Emily Giffin – but I also recommend this book and the Heather Wells series for fans looking for YA/NA contemporary fiction with a twist.
Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of The Bride Wore Size 12 from William Morrow via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!