Book Review

Spoiled, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

B+

Title: Spoiled
Author: Heather, Jessica Cocks, Morgan
Publication Info: Poppy 2011
ISBN: 9780316098250
Genre: Young Adult

Spoiled by the Fug GirlsThis book was a departure from romance reading for me. Spoiled is not a romance. It’s a YA novel, with a minor romantic element, and a long-distance relationship element. Without meaning to I stepped out of the genre and thoroughly enjoyed myself. But be ye aware, this is not a romance.

That said, I really enjoyed it. It’s freaking hilarious. It is funny and fluffy and sudsy and silly. Really, you have to like silly humor a bit to enjoy this book.

In fact, it can be summed up in two words: Chanandaler Bong. If you get that reference, and you like pop culture jokes and silly humor, this book will give you an abdominal workout to go with the increasing upper arm power of your Shake Weight. Here’s an excerpt.

No, wait, before I do the excerpt, I have to do the plot summary. Molly Dix is a regular girl in Indiana, reading celebrity magazines and running and going to school and coping with her mom’s illness, until her mother, days away from death due to cancer, reveals that her father is really Brick Berlin, a mega-whopping movie star in Beverly Hills. When her mom dies, Molly is surprised to learn that Brick wants her to come live with him and his teenage daughter Brooke. Brooke, as you can imagine, is not at all in favor of this plan but has little say in it. So Molly moves to Beverly Hills, attends Brooke’s incredibly posh private school, and gets thrown into the very deep end of LA celebrity culture. Cue half-sister battles set against fashion, media & movie references, and LA gossip.

Some of the characters are over the top ridiculous – and yet I can totally buy that way out there in Hollywood, there really are people who are that insane.

So here’s that excerpt. Brick, for the record, is a complete nutjob. A hilarious complete nutjob.

Molly’s feet were on the ground barely fifteen minutes before her life took another Hollywood turn. A uniformed driver whose sign said “Ms. Chanandaler Bong” grabbed her at baggage claim and escorted her to a glossy Escalade with tinted windows – one of which was cracked enough for her to see a man wearing a deeply fake beard in the backseat.

“Sorry for the cloak-and-dagger stuff,” the guy said, learning out the window and peering at her over a pair of reading glasses with the lenses removed. “I didn’t want to paparazzi to ruin this moment. Get in!”

Brick Berlin ripped off his chin fuzz with the gusto of a Mission: Impossible spy and threw open the door. His voice was every bit as deep and rich as it was in the movies – if it could have a flavor, it would be chocolate – and he looked exactly the same, right down to the unrealistic accessories….

As the driver slammed Molly’s door shut, Brick hugged her so hard she felt a few ribs quit on her. He felt as densely muscular as he looked on film, and he smelled like spray tan and expensive cologne…. Molly was torn between being touched and wondering if he was acting, since this was exactly what his character did in Tequila Mockingbird when he rescued his fiance from South American sex slavery. It made the moment that much more surreal.

Brick pulled away and ruffled Molly’s hair.

“You have Laurel’s freckles,” he told her. “Molly, I’m so sorry she’s gone. She was a wonderful woman.”

“It’s okay,” she said, her voice trembling. “I mean, thank you. I mean…”

“This is an emotional time for us all,” Brick said kindly. “Cancer is a vicious thief.”

He paused to let that sink in and then grabbed her face. “I’ve been waiting to meet you all your life, Molly. And now that you’re here, I hate to look into those eyes an see and ounce of pain, sweet child of mine!”

If that excerpt makes you roll your eyes and snort laugh, this book will appeal to you because it is all like that. If you thought that was ridiculous and uninteresting, this book will probably not tickle your funny bone.

There’s a pop-culture heavy sense of humor that cracked me up HARD. Every page was silly and satire with additional silly massaged into it. Over the top characters – including one named Arugula. Tension. Drama Llama. Additional appearances of drama llama, this time with excellent accessories. Shopping. More shopping. Backstabbing characters with nefarious intentions. Genuinely kind people lost in the choreography of all that backstabbing. Bizarre film or television references that are not real but realistic enough to be funny. Like a good April Fool’s joke, the humor in this book is just this side of plausible but also crazy enough that you know it’s a joke – or maybe it isn’t and it’s real and you have to Google to make sure. Their silly humor is the best and sharpest of satire.

I didn’t find out about this book because of the book itself – I found out about it because of who wrote it. I like Go Fug Yourself. even though I don’t know dickall about fashion and don’t know who half the celebrities are when I visit, I love the writing. Their Jennifer-Lopez-narrated posts make me snort-laugh. There’s a little bit of hype surrounding this book, which usually sends me sliding in the other direction, but in this case, I was very curious how their writing would translate to fiction.

Pretty damn well, it turns out. What I liked most about the story was that it’s entire attitude was “go hard or go home.” You know that goofy quote, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, your body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “Woo hoo! What a ride!”

That is this book. It’s over the top of over the top and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. But if there’s going to be a YA novel set between two sisters, with OC-meets-Gossip-Girl-meets-Sweet-Valley, Cocks and Morgan are going to bring it with noise and funk and some more noise and funk and wtfery on top of that. Every possible goofy reference they could make is in there, to the point where every third page I was laughing out loud (really) or reading it aloud to my husband in the car (really – the Chanandaler Bong scene made him snortlaugh). I think I convinced him to read it, and he’s about as far from a YA/celebrity story reader as I am from reading any story where the hero dies in the end.

Some of the steam goes out of the narrative when the relationship between Brooke and Molly changes, but the silly adventure of the plot doesn’t stop. There are unresolved stories – Brick, for one, and the ongoing but unexplained tension with one of their classmates – but I read in this interview that they are at work on a sequel. That would explain the unresolved threads and basted-but-not-sewn relationships, which is why this book was a solid B+ for me.

It’s not as if you don’t get a complete story in the book – you do. But you also get the setup for more. I wanted a more complete story arc, but then again, that promise of more of the same, with the wit and hilarity and silly fun, means I have more to look forward to, even though I’m not the best of readers when it comes to keeping up with a series (NB: I don’t know how many books are planned for the Spoiled universe).

Basically, this book is like a pilot episode, but not one that you watch after the show has been on for a few years and think, ‘Whoa, who the hell wrote THAT? I never would have watched this show if that was my introduction to it.’ It’s the pilot that makes you say, “Oh, crap. There goes Wednesday nights at 9 because my ass will be on the couch for the next one. And maybe the one after that.”

Well played, ladies. Well played.


Spoiled is available at Amazon | Kindle | BN & nook | Book Depository

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Kiersten says:

    Love the Fug Girls going on 10+ years now. Can’t wait to read this book!

  2. 2
    wonderlandchick says:

    I read the scene with Brick picked Molly up at the airport and kept picturing Nathan Fillion.  Sounds like a fun summer read!

  3. 3
    DreadPirateRachel says:

    @wonderlandchick

    So true!

  4. 4
    Lori says:

    I normally wouldn’t have any interest in reading this (just not my thing), but I love the Fug Girls so much that it’s on my summer reading list. I’m glad to here that it’s good.

    And yes, Chanandaler Bong still makes me laugh.

  5. 5
    LisaJo885 says:

    I got this last week from Amazon and read it in about a night, laughing the entire time and trying not to read too many bits aloud to my roommate as she was scheduled to read it next. The Fug Girls are the only ones who could have written this book so well. Loved it! And as soon as I finished it, I posted to their FB page that I am anxiously awaiting “Messy” (the sequel).

  6. 6
    nekobawt says:

    and now you have me picturing brick looking at a poster of himself and saying “i really AM ruggedly handsome!”

  7. 7
    2paw says:

    MISS Chanandler Bong!!

  8. 8

    …the author’s last name is Cocks? Why do I feel she was born to write in a different genre?????

  9. 9

    I wonder if “silly” is a scented massage oil. Loved the phrase

    extra silly massaged into it

    . Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    @fangswandsfairy

  10. 10

    Wait a minute – you’re pulling my leg. There are books that AREN’T ROMANCES?

    Nanh.  It’s too early. I just haven’t had enough coffee yet. 

    I’m sure I read that wrong…..

  11. 11
    Tiblet says:

    Pebbles, thank goodness I wasn’t the only one!  I have to agree with the Nathan Fillion thing. Loved him in Firefly and in Castle.  Good lol for this morning!

  12. 12
    Shauna says:

    Chanandler Bong! One of my favorite episodes…

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