Monday, November 21, 2011

Joint Book Review: Modelland

Lisa from Read. Breathe. Relax and I were very curious about Tyra Bank’s first YA novel, Modelland, so we decided to do a joint review (our first!) of the novel. Below are some of Lisa’s thoughts on Modelland and please check out Lisa’s blog for my thoughts on the book.
Title: Modelland by Tyra Banks
Release Date: Sept. 13, 2011
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 576 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Library
Goodreads Summary: 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. . . .
Q1. What are your overall thoughts on Modelland?
Lisa: Although I didn't end up finishing Modelland was very confusing to me. It has a weird sense of naming (Forgetta-girls, SMIZEs, Tookie, etc). That really threw me off. Also, the writing is honestly atrocious. It's obvious Tyra Banks didn't use a ghostwriter. It was just weird overall. 

Me: I feel exactly the same way. Modelland is the most bizarre book I have ever read, and yes, it is painfully obvious that Tyra wrote it herself.

Q2. What did you like and not like about Modelland?
Lisa: Hmm, that's actually a tough question. I liked the whole idea of a young adult novel about inner beauty that had fantasy elements, but the execution was just strange. Also, the beginning of the book just dragged on and on, and I'm not why Banks would waste the first 20 crucial pages of the book on describing Tookie's awkward looks every 5 words.

Me: I agree and what’s even stranger than Tyra continuously describing Tookie’s awkward looks is that Tookie is described as looking a lot like Tyra herself….

Q3. Modelland is a “did not finish” for both of us. Why couldn't you finish it? Do you think you will finish it at some point? Why or why not?
Lisa: For me, I think it ultimately came down to time. As a book blogger, I try to keep to a certain schedule (posting reviews every Thursday). Modelland was a time suck that didn't give anything back. Long, emotionally-satisfying books are worth reading. Long, vacant ridiculous books, sadly, are not.

Weirdly enough, I do want to try to finish the book, if only to satisfy my curiosity about how Banks' decides to develop the story.

Me: Ha! I like “time suck,” and yes, Modelland was a huge time suck! Every time I tried to finish the book and had to battle through lengthy and bizarre names and descriptions, I would think about other books that I would enjoy and wanted to read more. I try to finish two books a week and the tedium of Modelland was not letting me get any other reading done. I won’t be going back to finish it.

Q4. Tyra has said that Modelland is loosely based on her own modeling experience. Do you think that helped or hurt the book?
Lisa: I have to admit, I think that her experience did help to a certain extent. There were some really fun descriptions of clothes and the types of girls who want so desperately to be chosen to go to Modelland.

That being said...being a model didn't help Tyra write. I really believe that not everyone is born to be a writer. And when know...WRITE a book, being a writer sort of helps....

Q5. How do you feel about celebrity authors? Did reading Modelland affect your opinion of them in any way?
Lisa: Honestly, I wasn't ever really sure what to think. I heard some really bad things about Hilary Duff's book but a few good things about Lauren Conrad's. I figured I shouldn't judge something I didn't know much about...except now I have! :)

Modelland affected my opinion, but only really toward Tyra Banks. I would hate to judge all celebrity authors by her work, but it does seem they do it just to make money another way- not really for the love of writing. I promise to try and reserve my judgment in the future...however hard that may be.

Me: I have not enjoyed other YA books by celebrity authors so at this point, I am swearing them off altogether.

Q6. Despite poor reviews, Modelland spent a week on the New York Times Best Seller List which I think will only encourage more celebrities to write and more publishers to publish the books. Which celebrity would you like to write a YA novel and why?

Lisa: I love this question!! Let's see- I would love for a really interesting celebrity to write a book, like Conan O'Brien, Charlize Theron, Jude Law or Natalie Portman. Still, like I said earlier, they should actually be able to write. I think Natalie Portman might fit that bill!

Q7. Modelland is the first in a trilogy. Are you planning on reading the other two books?
Lisa: Maybe. Only if I finish Modelland and see a shred of potential for the next book. So far, though, it's not looking too likely...

Q8. What’s next on your “to be read list?”
Lisa: I'm in the middle of reading Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. It. is. amazing!! I am so thankful to be reading an interesting, well-written novel. It's a great way to shuff off my frustration and get back into reading some stunning writing.

Me: I have heard amazing things about Shatter Me and I can’t wait to read it! I’m looking forward your review. Thank you Lisa!

Don't forget to stop by Read. Breathe. Relax. to see Lisa's questions for me on Modelland!


Rebecca said...

Yeah, I know a friend tried to read this recently and had to put it back on the shelf again. Shame it's obvious she wrote it and it doesn't give anything back... It does seem quite interesting, lol.

And oh, Shatter Me! I bet that's a whole lot better from what I've heard. ;) Great joint review.

Rebecca @ Kindle Fever

M.A.D. said...

Thank goodness, I thought it was just me lol. I had the hardest time *getting into* Modelland, eventually gave up. Frankly, it's too surreal for me. I'm kind of astonished it made it to the New York Times best seller's list WTH??

KM said...

Tyra Banks wrote a book?! Okay, weird. And why didn't she just write a contemp about modeling? I feel as if that would have been way more appropriate and probably easier to write, since she could base it more directly on her own experiences.

Truly Bookish said...

M.A.D., it's not just you.

KM, yup, it's weird and it would have made a ton more sense if she had wrote a contemp about modeling.

Shae Carcar said...

:( I'm a little disappointed that it's bad. I like Tyra Banks. I love her fun persona, but I agree. Not everyone is made to be a writer. I still might read it, but eh... idk. Thanks for the heads up!

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I'm a bad person. I just assumed it would be bad. As much as I love and respect Tyra, she's just too over the top and it becomes gimmicky rather than interesting.


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