Heather Wells was hoping for a banner year at New York College, where she works with undergrads and sees to their needs in a busy — now infamous — residence hall. A former pop star now sporting a sparkly engagement ring courtesy of her PI fiance, Cooper, Heather’s hope for a quiet semester vanishes when an RA turns up dead and the son of a prominent international politician stirs up controversy in her building. With many students as possible suspects and the stakes getting ever-higher before her big day, Heather just hopes to get out of this one . . . alive.
Meg Cabot’s The Bride Wore Size 12, the fifth book in her Heather Wells mysteries series, is a fun story that may not have had me reading compulsively, but did serve as an entertaining distraction during a busy month. I read the first book — Size 12 is Not Fat — back in 2009, but never felt compelled to pick up the books that came after. I chose to reunite with Heather as a bride-to-be myself, and . . . well, it turns out I didn’t miss much.
But I don’t mean that in a super mean way. Just that Heather is still the Heather I remember: assertive but kindhearted, interesting but not ridiculously compelling as a narrator. She’s engaged to a private investigator, works with an assortment of unusual coworkers. I remember the first book being fun but not life-altering, though the details did come back to me all these years later. (Always a good sign.)
The “mystery” aspect — centering on the death of Jasmine, a popular coed — was . . . well, it was. I was curious about what happened to her, but we didn’t know enough (or anything, really) about Jasmine to make her death matter to us. Rashid, the son of a prominent Middle Eastern leader, comes with baggage — and it’s his partying and involvement on campus that bring the circumstances surrounding Jasmine’s death more attention. I was interested in Rashid and his story with Ameera, a fellow student, but I wished they’d gotten more screen time.
There was just . . . so much happening here. We have Cooper and Heather’s upcoming wedding; the mystery surrounding the student death; the popularity of a student news blog breaking stories Heather would rather not be breaking; the reappearance of Heather’s long-lost, no-good mom and former manager; Cooper’s interactions that ultimately turn unpleasant; and . . . well, now I have whiplash.
But I can’t say this book wasn’t a fun read. Despite some of its heavy subject matter, Cabot writes with humor and a light touch — all qualities I’ve always loved about her. If you’re new to the series, you could certainly start with The Bride Wore Size 12 and work your way back . . . but I’d recommend starting at the beginning. If you’ve spent time with Heather in the past but aren’t sure you want to scamper back into her world, your return will probably be an enjoyable one.
3.5 out of 5!