Meg Cabot is my guilty pleasure. Like many other girls, I started reading her Princess Diaries series when I was in high school and found myself hooked. While I didn't end up liking the entire series (there were some daft bits in the middle), I did find myself falling for Meg Cabot's writing style. It's so effortless and conspiratorial, like chatting with a best friend. Thus, I took it upon myself to read everything she's ever written.
Nowadays, I think I have read all of her canon. There may be a few new young adult books I haven't been able to find but for the most part, I've read it all. And loved it. She writes for both young adult and adult audiences. While most people have probably grown up on her young adult books, I personally enjoy her adult series more. Because she doesn't have to cater to an age group, she's able to say whatever she likes and create fun and interesting characters. And thus she created my favorite book series, the Heather Wells Series.
Heather Wells is an assistant director to a residence hall at New York College. She is in charge of taking care of the messes and drama that come with everyday life in a college dorm. She enjoys walking her dog, eating treats and relaxing with some bad television. She's completely normal and lovable.
The only difference between Heather and a regular person, however, is that when she was fifteen, she was the biggest selling popstar in the world. She and her hit, Sugar Rush, toured the world, opening for the then incredibly popular boy band, Easy Street. In a happy relationship with the lead singer of Easy Street, Jordan Cartwright, Heather thought her world was perfect. Until some years went by, she put on a few pounds and decided to write her own music. With the record company not wanting to produce her new songs and walking in on her boyfriend with another woman (up and coming popstar Tania Trace), Heather thought her world was over.
Losing her once obvious career, Heather is offered a place by Cooper, Jordan's older brother. The blacksheep of the family, Cooper is a private detective that lives in an idyllic brownstone flat in NYC, close to where Heather ends up taking up that assistant director job. In return for a free place to live, Heather agrees to do Cooper's paperwork. And to be honest, she's always had a bit of a crush on Cooper so everything's kind of working out alright.
Well, except for all the deaths that occur in her dorm. Did I mention it's a mystery series?
I cannot tell you how much I love Heather Wells. She is one of my favorite heroines of all time. She is just completely relatable. She covets the same food, thinks the same one off thoughts as she judges the people around her and just genuinely wants the best life will give her. Heather does have that mystery novel problem of just always stumbling upon a new death every so often but it never feels contrived somehow. Of course Heather Wells will save the day. She may not be adequately prepared for what's about to happen but she definitely will never back down.
Another thing Cabot is very good about is creating sympathetic and well rounded side characters. Besides Jordan, Heather's ex, Cooper, Heather's flatmate and hopefully more, and her coworkers at the dorm, Cabot actually creates an entire network of characters, from the detective that Cooper's always working with to the entirety of the staff at New York College. Each character is equally memorable and as some characters move on to new positions, new characters come in to fill their jobs. Each one, however, is completely unique, from Sarah, Heather's assistant that is two tightly wound, to the President of the college's wife who always has a bit too much to drink to Simon Hague, Heather's rival and director of the fancy dorm, Wasser Hall.
The series was originally a trilogy and I thought it would stay one but I was delighted to find a fourth book that came out this July (which I read in two sittings and completely adored) and a fifth book on its way next year. The world definitely needs more Heather Wells in it. If you're in the mood for some comedy, a bit of action, a lot of mystery and just a great cast of characters, these books are most definitely for you.