Size 12 is not fat. I believe this to be true, as does Heather Wells—former teen pop idol—in Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot. The Meg Cabot who wrote The Princess Diaries? Yes, that Meg Cabot. It may seem as if Cabot is making a giant leap here, venturing from a YA series about modern princesses and the like to an adult series about a former pop star turned crime solving residence hall assistant. Okay, maybe it’s not that giant a leap, but Size 12 is successful in bridging the gap between YA and, well, A.
After her mother runs off with her money and her manager, and her fellow famous pop heartthrob fiancé cheats on her, Heather Wells is forced to make her own way in the world. Fortunately Jordan, her now ex-fiancé, has a “black sheep” brother willing to take her on as a roommate in his (inherited) Manhattan brownstone—that is, in exchange for doing his “books.” Cooper, true to “black sheep” form, is a licensed private investigator and an organizational disaster.
Though no one can believe it, Heather is truly happy with her new life. She loves Cooper… rather, her living situation with Cooper. Obviously she can’t be in love with her ex-fiancé’s brother. And she loves her job at the residence hall—even when a girl is found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft—a mystery she is determined to solve with or without anyone else’s help. She will not have students dying on her watch!
Size 12 is a fun ride with a fun heroine, while also teaching us a valuable lesson—that you can start over. And that there are more important things in life than what size you wear or how famous you are — things like the ability to think for yourself and stand on your own two feet — lessons important for all women, YA and A alike, to learn, and to take to heart.
A literary adaptation of an Academy Award winning short film that also launched a nationwide project to help LGBTQ teens? Yes, Trevor is back and ready to conquer the world. This time he has returned to us in Trevor, a novella by James Lecesne, who authored the original story for the 1994 Oscar winning Live Action Short.
In this updated version of the original story, a kind of Trevor 2.0, Trevor presents us with the age-old question: what color glitter is best for a Lady Gaga Halloween costume? While in pursuit of the answer, something shifts for Trevor. His oldest friends begin ignoring him in the hallways, the school’s gay-straight alliance has started harassing him to join their ranks, and his only-semi-religious parents have called upon the local pastor to engage Trevor in a tête-à-tête outside the Dairy Queen.
Despite the fact that he has become infatuated with Pinky, a jock boy with a troubled home life, Trevor has not identified himself as gay, straight, bisexual… so why is everyone doing it for him? Why do they think they have that right? What would Lady Gaga do?
Lecesne leads us through the hallways of high school with Trevor, inviting us along on his journey from self-awareness to self-acceptance, as he navigates the many complications that arise with adept insight, quirky humor and an insatiable passion. Praised by literary heavyweights like David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy) and Michael Cunningham (The Hours), Trevor is indeed a remarkable book that glitters as much as Lady Gaga herself.
It seemed a bit too clichéd to write a review for TFiOS—otherwise known as The Fault in Our Stars—as the film adaptation will be released in less than a month. So instead, I will review Looking for Alaska, another masterpiece from the brilliant mind of John Green. It was his debut novel, but it delivers as many brutal truths as those that followed in its wake. In this particular tale, Miles, our protagonist, leaves his Floridian home behind to attend a boarding school in Alabama… in search of “a Great Perhaps.” Miles, you see, collects “last words.” (Foreshadowing, perhaps?) Note Exhibit A: “Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.” Introducing a concept such as a Great Perhaps so early in the book is part of Green’s genius. It hooked me. I bet it has hooked you. I bet you are already reserving your copy so that you can find out more about this Great Perhaps. What I tell people when they ask about John Green is this: He is the master of the one-liner. Even if that one-liner takes a paragraph to develop… even if that one-liner is, in fact, actually a paragraph in length. Note Exhibit B: “I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.” Miles is, of course, talking about Alaska here, but Green’s words are simultaneously so personal yet so universal that you feel you are that hurricane… or that you are the drizzle in love with the hurricane. Or that, all weather aside, you know exactly what this guy is talking about because you have experienced it in your own life. Looking for Alaska is fearless in the way it addresses the sensitive issues young adults struggle with on a daily basis. There is no sugarcoating here, or crunchy candy shell. There is only The Truth… or the version(s) of The Truth as seen through the eyes and minds of Green’s thoughtful and honest characters. I’ll admit it; the feeling I had when I finished this book stayed with me for days. And this particular quote from Looking for Alaska will stay with me for a lifetime: “When I look at my room, I see a girl who loves books.”