We review new books by Meg Cabot, Mimi Smartypants, Elizabeth Noble, and Maria Dahvana Headley

By Leah Greenblatt and Clarissa Cruz
Updated January 06, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST
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Size 12 Is Not Fat

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The latest in Chick Lit

SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT
Meg Cabot (Avon, $12.95)
After her mom and manager run off with her money and her boy-band beau dumps her, former teen pop star Heather Wells takes a job at an NYC college dorm. Source of Angst Wholesome coeds are found dead in an elevator shaft…and Heather suspects foul play! Meltdown Moment Frazzled Heather barely survives an elevator disaster of her own. Lowdown With predictable plot twists and an annoying recurring joke about dorms vs. residence halls, chick-lit vet Cabot stumbles with her first mystery. CClarissa Cruz

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MIMI SMARTYPANTS
Mimi Smartypants (Avon, $12.95)
A real (but pseudonymous) 30-year-old Chicago publishing exec-cum-blogger muses on sandwich-store anarchy, the indignities of public transportation, etc. Source of Angst The absurdity of everyday life — she calls a co-worker’s Precious Moments figurines ”hydrocephalic monsters.” Meltdown Moment Mimi sends an e-mail to upper management titled ”Topic 2: Electric Boogaloo”…no one gets the joke. Lowdown This blog compilation is predictably rambling, yet often hilarious. B+CC

THE FRIENDSHIP TEST
Elizabeth Noble (Harper, $14.95)
Four best friends grow from college innocence to thirtysomething middle-class living in London. Source of Angst Lone American Freddie loses both her father (to cancer) and her husband (to an affair). Meltdown Moment Reserved-to-the-point-of-coldness Reagan lashes out at Freddie in one of Test‘s rawest scenes. Lowdown While her simplistic male characters are either angels or hopeless emotional nitwits, Noble has a gift for tight plotting and rendering female friendships. B+Leah Greenblatt

THE YEAR OF YES
Maria Dahvana Headley (Hyperion, $22.95)
After one too many bad relationships, playwright/NYU undergrad Headley decides to just say yes to any?any?man who asks her out. Source of Angst Said men, whether they’re recovering addicts, taxi drivers, or Apple millionaires. Meltdown Moment An instance of follicular panic leads to one heinous self-made haircut. Lowdown Headley’s memoir is charming, hyperliterate (in a pretentious but not entirely insufferable college-student way) and even laugh-out-loud funny. A-LG

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