Review #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. They wisely step away from Molly’s point of view, instead focusing on her closest friend in L.A., Max McCormack. Max is an even bigger outcast than Molly is, with her green hair, camo pants, and snarky attitude. She is only enrolled in the exclusive prep school because her mother is principal. Needless to say Max and Brooke despise each other, which certainly makes it interesting when Brooke hires Max to be her ghostblogger. Brooke has decided she wants to break into the movie industry, and is determined to pave the way for herself by generating buzz on her blog. The problem is, she has no time (too busy shopping!) or interest (too busy shopping!) in writing a blog, so she seeks someone out to write for her. Max is desperate to earn money because she wants to go to a summer writing program in NY. She at first is horrified at the thought of writing in Brooke’s voice but quickly realizes that this will pay her way easily, and give her a chance to practice her writing.

I thought Messy was excellently crafted. There were some romantic storylines, but the real dynamic in this novel is between Brooke and Max and how female friendship (or at the very least, respect) can grow in the most unlikely of places. One thing I love about this book, is how much of a NON-stereotype Brooke is. Yes, she’s tall and rich and gorgeous and a bitch half the time, but she’s all smart and ambitious and determined to do it on her own, rather than ride her father’s coat tails. Brooke wants to be her own brand name, partly to impress her father, but also partly because she believes she is a bad ass who deserves it. I also enjoyed seeing Max grow from insecure snarkiness to recognizing her own worth and inherent coolness. The last few scenes between her and Brooke were some of the most satisfying I’ve read in a while.

Overall, I really enjoyed Messy, and I am hoping The Fug Girls continue to write about these characters. I loved their idea to revolve protagonists (in some ways, a throwback to Sweet Valley High), and I hope they continue to do this (perhaps Arugula?). The Fug Girls are also on tour for this book, so check out this page to see if they’ll be coming near to you! I know I’ll be there when they’re in Brookline, MA at the end of July!

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