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!