Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Heather Cocks”

Amanda6′s #CBR4 Review 32: Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Amazon: “After a rocky start in Spoiled, Brooke Berlin and her newly discovered half sister, Molly Dix, have settled into something like sisterly love, but the drama is far from over.

Now that Brooke’s caught a taste of fame and her movie star father’s attention, she wants to launch a blog that will position her as the ultimate Hollywood insider. But between schoolwork, party-planning committee meetings, and spa treatments, she hardly has the time to write it herself…

Enter Max McCormack, an aspiring author with a terrible after-school job pushing faux meat on the macrobiotic masses of La-La Land. Max reluctantly agrees to play Brooke’s ghost-blogger for an impressive salary, and the site takes off, but how long can their lie last? In person, Brooke can’t live up to the intellectual wit of openbrooke.com, and Max soon begins to resent hiding her genius behind a bandage dress-wearing blonde. Can the girls work together to stay on top, or will the truth come out and ruin everything they’ve built?”
After having a lukewarm opinion about Spoiled, the book that precedes this one, I am happy to say that I genuinely enjoyed Messy and found myself grinning or laughing out loud at several points as I read. It seems that the Fug Girls, Heather and Jessica, got into a nice groove with this one, possibly from tackling very topical subject matter (celebrity gossip blogging), but more likely — in my opinion — because they got to flex their trademark snark more often through returning character and new protagonist Max. I think I may have also enjoyed the story itself more because it was less of a girls-at-war story (does anyone remember the show Popular?  Spoiled is basically that) and more about growth and discovery of common ground.
Messy is more a spin-off than a sequel of Spoiled, so you don’t need to have read the latter to enjoy the former. If you’re in need, then, of a quick, funny read, this is a good one to check out!

Samantha’s #CBR4 Review #10: Messy, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Fug Girls are back! Messy is the follow-up to last year’s Spoiled, and features the return of the Berlin clan: Molly, Brooke, and Brick, along with their friends (and frenemies) for more Hollywood fun. In the first installment, Molly learns she is the daughter of mega-superstar Brick Berlin, and must not only adjust to a new school and a new family, but also new-found fame as well.  This time around, the action focuses on Molly’s half-sister, Brooke (as it should be, no doubt!) and her attempts to become Hollywood’s newest It Girl, along with Max McCormack, Molly’s new best friend, who nearly stole the show last time around. As with Spoiled, the plot here isn’t going to surprise anyone who’s ever read a book ever, but that’s not really the point; the fresh, funny style of the Fug Girls makes everything worthwhile.

Max wants to become a writer. Specifically, she’s focusing on a program at NYU, but is A. suffering from major writer’s block, and B. lacks the necessary funds. This is why she answers a Craigslist ad to be a ghost writer for a “Hollywood It Girl’s” blog. She’s dismayed when the It Girl in question turns out to be Brooke Berlin (they’ve hated each other since grade school), but the opportunity to write and make a decent wage doing it convinces her to become Brooke’s blogger. Soon she’s following Brooke to Hollywood bashes and casting calls, and the blog is a huge success. Brooke finds herself cast as Nancy Drew, the teenaged role of the year, and everything’s looking up for everyone…until it’s not. Both girls start to realize that they want to be credited for being themselves instead of each other, and find themselves clashing over Brooke’s cute co-star Brady, who’s caught up in their multiple-personality game.

Again, it’s not a new plot, but it’s an effective one, and the characters Cocks and Morgan have created are just so much fun. Max was my favorite character from Spoiled, so it was great to see her have a moment in the sun here. The cultural references and the general snark are in full effect thanks to the focus on Max, since she is something of an outsider in a world full of spray-on tanned starlets.  Brooke gets plenty of character development as well, showing us a little more depth and intelligence, if not humility. If there’s a flaw to be mentioned, it’s that Molly gets short shrift this time around, only showing up to provide moral support to Max, or to mediate between Max and Brooke.

These books are a quick, fun read, and while you’ll have a little bit more of a clue if you read Spoiled first, I like that they’re not precisely a series; I like my reading low-commitment. It’ll be interesting to see how and if the Girls proceed with these characters, since most of them will be graduating from high school soon, and presumably going on to bigger and better things. Perhaps there will again be a focus on Max, who I think is slightly younger than the Berlin sisters. Either way, if Cocks and Morgan produce another installment, I will totally read it. And you should too!

Petalfrog’s #CBR4 Revew #28: Messy by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

First off… how GORGEOUS is this cover? Second off, I admit being totally biased when it comes to Messy, and its precursor Spoiled, which are co-written by the amazing Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks aka The Fug Girls aka the snarky geniuses behind Go Fug Yourself. I’ve been reading GFY for at least seven years, and it’s part of my daily routine at this stage. I adore this website which is an awesomely hilarious take on celebrity fashion.

Messy is the sequel to Spoiled. Just a quick recap: In Spoiled teenaged Molly Dix finds out, on her mother’s deathbed, that her father (who she always believed was dead) is the biggest movie star in the world, Brick Berlin. Brick (dream casting = Harry Hamlin) and Molly’s mom agreed that she should move to L.A. to live with Brick, and her half-sister Brooke. L.A. is everything Molly knows nothing about, and Brooke, herself an orphan, quickly does everything she can to oust Molly and keep her father’s attention. Spoiled definitely felt a bit “toe in the water” and, while I enjoyed it, it felt at times like it was trying too hard to sell the L.A. lifestyle and knowledge about fashion.

Messy, on the other hand, is where The Fug Girls really come in to their own as Young Adult authors. Read the whole review here!

Amanda6′s #CBR4 Review 23: Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Amazon: Sixteen-year-old Molly Dix has just discovered that her biological father is Brick Berlin, world-famous movie star and red-carpet regular. Intrigued (and a little) terrified by her Hollywood lineage, Molly moves to Los Angeles and plunges headfirst into the deep of Beverly Hills celebrity life. Just as Molly thinks her life couldn’t get any stranger, she meets Brooke Berlin, her gorgeous, spoiled half sister, who welcomes Molly to la-la land with a smothering dose “sisterly love”…but in this town, nothing is ever what it seems.

This was a snappy, short read, and good fun. A devotee of GoFugYourself, I had wanted to pick this one up for awhile, and it was pretty much what I expected — chock full of witty one-liners and good-natured jabs at celebrity culture. I think, though, I was hoping for a bit more. GoFugYourself is, of course, ultimately just about making fun of celebrities’ horrible outfits, but the writing itself is intelligent and clever. The Fug Girls’ voice in Spoiled definitely comes through clearly, but the novel never quite rises above its shallow premise the way that GFY does.

As I said earlier, the Girls’ trademarks are there: hilarious commentary on outfits and witty pop-culture references, snarky take-downs of gross Hollywood caricatures, and quotable one-liners make this overall a very quick and entertaining read. Part of the reason it reads so quickly, though, is because we race through the plot without much description of the scenery, which may not seem important in a book like this, but to me it stuck out. I’ve read in interviews that the Girls really wanted this to be an “Only in LA” type story, and that they wanted to use their experiences and lives in LA to influence the setting. Despite this, other than throwaway references to the sunshine and obvious Hollywood stereotyping, LA wasn’t really that much of a character.

Taking a bit more time with setting the scene and improving the character depth a bit more could have really added some meat to the story, and I’m really not talking about trying to transform a beach read into War and Peace. I think you’d see what I mean if you read it. It’s fast and funny, moreso than many other entries in this category of summer reads, but it relies on the same stock characters and weak story as we’ve seen before in many other YA chick-lit. I’ll still probably pick up the sequel, because at the end of the day it made me laugh, and that’s not a bad way to spend a few hours!

Malin’s #CBR4 Review #48: Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Brooke Berlin, daughter of famous action movie actor/director/producer Brick Berlin, is determined to become a star, and she wants her birthday party to be the event that launches her on her way to stardom. So when she discovers that she has a long lost half sister, who’s coming to live with her and Brick in Hollywood, but that Brick feels that the birthday party would be the perfect way to welcome Molly to their home (and introduce her to the world in a carefully orchestrated media event), she is less than pleased.

Not that being Molly Dix is easy. Having grown up in the Midwest with her mother and grandparents, she finds out her father’s true identity on her mother’s deathbed (cancer). Suddenly she has a super celebrity as her dad, and a sister she never knew about. Determined that her grandparents should get a chance at their around the world trip, she leaves her best friend, and small town boyfriend behind, to face the adventure that is Hollywood. Brooke seems super friendly and helpful at first, until Molly learns the hard way that her sister only really cares about herself.

Brick is determined that his daughters become friends, and orders them to share a room, and drive to school together every day. Brooke and entourage try to make Molly’s existence in school as difficult as possible, but not everyone is wanting to side with Brooke. Teddy, the easy-going son of the principal, and his opinionated and rebellious little sister Max both seem to want to help Molly, and then there are Brooke’s enemies, who are only too happy to offer Molly assistance in the escalating sibling feud.

I’ve been a huge fan of Heather and Jessica’s work on Go Fug Yourself for years and years, so when I discovered that they’d written a YA novel, I didn’t really hesitate to get it as soon as it was released in paperback. The book is funny, silly and just the right amount of over the top melodramatic (both the Fug girls are after all huge fans of soap operas). There’s a ton of pop culture references in there, and one of my favourite things was all the various mentions of Brick Berlin’s various movies over the years. As long as you’re not looking for something deep and meaningful, Spoiled is highly entertaining, and I will be checking out the sequel when it’s out in paperback next year.

Crossposted with my blog and Goodreads.

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