Remember in my review of Amazing Grace, how I said
I find it very interesting that neither look at the work or sacrifices or the adult role in achieving the success, until the point where the teen wants or needs to get out. The role of stage parent is an interesting one, yet here there is almost no stage parent, except a reference to a dead father who loved tennisWell, Lola must have been laughing herself silly. Because in MCOAHS, even tho Morgan remains a high school student, the issues of a child working, and the role played by adults in that child's life, are addressed and then some.
The Plot: At the End of True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, Morgan was "outed" yet chose to remain in school. MCOAHS begins with an Oprah taping (because, of course, Morgan has to share on air. It's not real unless it's on Oprah.) Things aren't easier now that Morgan can be herself; friends and boyfriend doubt her because, you know, she lied; her mother wants her to start working again, pushing her to lose ten pounds; her stepfather/manager is trying to get her (and her career, and his agency) all the good publicity he can by making her half of a Bennifer-type couple.
The Good: If I didn't know better, I'd say Lola is the pseudonym of Drew Barrymore. Maybe someone "in" the industry would be able to point out howlers and mistakes galore, but the essence is what is important: Lola respects these teens, the Britneys and Lindsays, MaryKates and Ashleys and Mischas. She respects Hollywood and the entertainment industry; yet is not seduced by it. This isn't a rosy picture of tinsel town. But it is a wake up call to the public not to judge teenagers by ridiculously high standards; to the adults in the profession to be adults, not business managers; and to the teens themselves, saying, you have choices.
OK, off that soap box.
MCOAHS moves beyond the "what if the star hid out in my high school" fantasy to the gritty real world. Douglas once again points out both the shallowness of Hollywood, but also the warmth and depth. Issues that were raised in the first book are addressed more fully in the second, including food and work. I was just laughing at InStyle with Sophie because every "hot body" depicted requires at least 5 one-hour personal trainer sessions a week. When one's body is one's career, like Morgan's, that is possible. Unless, like Morgan now, there are other things one has to do with life, such as homework (or, for us grownups, work, family, cleaning house and the like).
Morgan has an enemy at school that's straight out of a teen movie. Debbie is the one who outed Morgan and made money off of it, Debbie wants Morgan's boyfriend, and Debbie is constantly needling Morgan. Douglas makes this stereotype three dimensional; even while guiltily rooting for Morgan to take Debbie down a peg or two, there's enough here to have sympathy for Debbie.
Ever since you know what, I've been paying more attention to the front of books, looking at copyrights and the like. This book had a note I hadn't seen before: "The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content." Douglas blogs, but so do many other authors; I'll be on the look out to see if this note becomes a publishing norm.