Anyone can write a book.
That doesn’t mean anyone can write a good book.
For this post, Mandy and I sifted through the internet (aka did a quick Google search) for books written by celebrities. Our initial concept for this post was to have you vote on which one of maybe four or five celebrity-written books we should read and then review. Sadly, I still haven’t gained library access in AUS so actually reading these books is on standby at the moment.
Nevertheless! Fun can still be had seeing what exactly the rich and famous have introduced into the book world. Shall we venture forth?
Information found from https://ew.com/books/celebrity-novels-guide/
Modelland by Tyra Banks
No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hair, large forehead, and gawky body, Tookie De La Crème isn’t expecting an invitation. Modelland—the exclusive, mysterious place on top of the mountain—never dares to make an appearance in her dreams.
But someone has plans for Tookie. Before she can blink her mismatched eyes, Tookie finds herself in the very place every girl in the world obsesses about. And three unlikely girls have joined her.
Only seven extraordinary young women become Intoxibellas each year. Famous. Worshipped. Magical. What happens to those who don’t make it? Well, no one really speaks of that. Some things are better left unsaid.
Thrown into a world where she doesn’t seem to belong, Tookie glimpses a future that could be hers—if she survives the beastly Catwalk Corridor and terrifying Thigh-High Boot Camp. Or could it? Dark rumors like silken threads swirl around the question of why Tookie and her new friends were selected . . . and the shadows around Modelland hide sinister secrets.
Are you ready? Modelland is waiting for you. . . .
SHA: This entire journey of “let’s critique celebrity books” started when I came across Modelland at my public library. The summary alone is a massive question mark. I read the first chapter and um, even if 100 people begged me to read this book, I don’t think I could.
MANDY: Omg, Sha and I had such a lengthy conversation on this one. I had seen it a while back, but I had erased it from my memory. When Sha brought it back up, I thanked the book gods for the magic power of Goodreads and read all the absolutely terrible reviews. There were so many incredible triggering, super odd odd odd things in this novel. I used to be a America’s Next Top Model/Tyra fan, but I think I’m good with just catching a rerun of that instead of diving into this horror theme park world.
MANDY: Let’s just say the very first three pages involve the main character body shaming herself TO THE EXTREME and then literally laying in the middle of the school hall to see if anyone notices she exists. Which no one does because she is so ugly and forget-able. Like WOW, okay.
Elixir by Hilary Duff
Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.
When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.
SHA: I actually own Elixir. I picked it up yes, because I wanted to see what Hilary Duff, THE Hilary Duff had written. Um, it wasn’t great? I was confused for a huge portion of the book (and this was back when I still swooned whenever a man was dark and mysterious, so this is saying something). There was something about a “treasure hunt,” like they had to follow clues, and a weird scene where they discovered a withered old woman hiding in a tiny door in a mall. IDK. I didn’t buy the sequel.
MANDY: I just have memories of Sha going, omg, this book. We had full discussions over this back a few summers ago in the wee hours of summer vacations, and I thought I perhaps partially hallucinated them because I mean. Hilary Duff and dark, tall, and handsome man that was much like an Edward Cullen. Sha’s descriptions were enough for me to realize this wasn’t what dreams were made of.
L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
Los Angeles is all about the sweet life: hot clubs, cute guys, designer…everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts can’t wait to start living it up. She may be in L.A. for an internship, but Jane plans to play as hard as she works, and has enlisted her BFF Scarlett to join in the fun.
When Jane and Scarlett are approached by a producer who wants them to be on his new series, a “reality version of Sex and the City,” they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please!
Soon Jane is TV’s hottest star. Fame brings more than she ever imagined possible for a girl from Santa Barbara-free designer clothes, the choicest tables at the most exclusive clubs, invites to Hollywood premieres-and she’s lapping up the VIP treatment with her eclectic entourage of new pals. But those same friends who are always up for a wild night are also out for a piece of Jane’s spotlight.
SHA: This is my first time hearing about this book. I also don’t know who Lauren Conrad is? L.A. Candy sounds like a pretty basic chick lit novel, almost a ripped-from-drama-TV kind of premise. From the synopsis, I wouldn’t expect amazing, flowery writing. Dunno, can’t say much about this one. I wouldn’t buy it either way, it’s not my style.
MANDY: I remember seeing this book EVERYWHERE. All the teen magazines back in the day (omfg, I feel like I am now an old lady about to go THEM YOUNG KIDS) promoted this book so hard. I feel like this cover is seared into my brain. I was young enough that I felt intimidated about reading about a 19 year old, despite my old love of Hollywood set novels. Despite my love of Conrad’s fashion line, I think I’m going to skip this since this doesn’t sound like a jam anymore – much too much drama and the LA lifestyle.
Rebels: City of Indra by Kendall and Kylie Jenner
Lex lives down below, close to rock bottom. She grew up in the orphanage, alone, and now is training to be a Special Op so she can finally destroy the rebels with her own hands. She needs no one.
Livia lives miles above everything on a floating island in the city of Indra. She is training too, but for a life that she doesn’t want. She wants to be free, to finally leave her floating island, and to run with her beloved horse until she can’t run any longer.
And then there’s Kane—Lex’s only friend, whom she would walk through fire for. And when she finds that Kane is in danger, she doesn’t hesitate to leave her post and blast her way to the top of Indra to save him. She just needs to get one stubborn, unexpectedly clever airgirl to tell her where he is first.
SHA: OMG I burst out laughing at “run with her beloved horse.”
MANDY: I had no clue that the Jenner ladies had written a book until I was scrolling through the signed books on a Black Friday Barnes and Noble sale. Everything about this seems so…stereotypical YA but far more basic? While I will admit I actually do keep up with the Kardashians (le gasp), I’m not going to keep up here.
Autumn Falls by Bella Thorne
With her fiery red hair, new-girl outsider status, and tendency to be a total klutz, Autumn Falls definitely isn’t flying below the radar at Aventura High. Luckily, she makes some genuine friends who take her under their wing. But she also manages to get on the wrong side of the school’s queen bee, and then finds out the guy she’s started to like, funny and sweet Sean, hangs with the mean crowd. Now her rep and her potential love life are at stake.
When Autumn vents her feelings in a journal that belonged to her late father, suddenly her wildest wishes start coming true. Is it coincidence? Or can writing in the journal solve all her problems? And if the journal doesn’t work that way, is there a bigger purpose for it—and for her?
SHA: This is not the Bella Thorne I know. This book was so clearly, and so heavily, ghostwritten. I’m thinking this was done in the era was she was being over-managed (not now, when she’s speaking out and kind of just doing her thing). Still, the premise sounds really cute for middle grade.
MANDY: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bella in anything? I don’t know her well enough to be excited about her book. The book sounds like it might be something that younger me might have given a chance since there could be some premise for cuteness and fun. However Sha’s comments above makes me thinking it’s a no go.
SHA: I’m mildly surprised you haven’t heard anything about Bella Thorne recently. She’s another “Disney child gone wild” (I use air quotes because as soon as any Disney star dyes their hair or wears a short skirt they get labelled as wild, I’m not a huge fan of that saying). She’s made headlines a few times for controversial decisions.
Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised.
Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take…
Written by NBA superstar Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes reveals the untold story of Sherlock’s older brother. This harrowing adventure changed his life, and set the stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government.
SHA: Mycroft Holmes isn’t YA but I had to include it because it sounds so cool. This is a celebrity-written book I’m actually really interested to check out. I love the twist on “hey, what about Sherlock’s brother?”
MANDY: I’m totally with Sha. This actually sounds so legit. There are some exciting, interesting things that sound like a perfect Sherlockian mystery. I had no clue Kareem branched out into books, but so much props on creating a wholly interesting premise.
Bewitched by Isla Fisher
Valentina, a talented young dancer, is destined to be the next Fonteyn. Manipulated by her mother’s ambitions, she has allowed Madame Galliano to dictate her life. Defying her mother, Valentina begins to search for her father in Russia, and becomes bewitched by Alexei, a Kirov dancer.
SHA: Isla Fisher actually wrote this and another teen romance back in the mid-1990s with her mom, which is actually so cute and I love it. Despite my adoration of the mom-daughter author pairing, I can’t say I’m sold on the book premise.
MANDY: It seems like it might have had some promise, but it’s definitely not anything that I am going for. I’m currently stuck down memory lane in my own dance horror stories, so I’m all for skipping dance stories…even ones written by celebrities!
A quick shout-out to the ghost-writers who made these books possible!! Your names may not be on the covers but you definitely put in the hours.