A somewhat structured rant on Kendall & Kylie Jenner’s YA novel

This is me giving a half-assed apology ahead of time if I offend anyone who is a fan of the Kardashian/Jenner clan.

I follow a lot of YA authors on twitter. One of those said authors is NYT bestseller Ransom Riggs, the writer behind the Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children trilogy. As per usual, because I couldn’t respect myself as a reader if I didn’t attempt the expand the young adult community, here is what his books look like if you happen upon them while shopping.

This fantasy/contemporary-ish trilogy follows a young male protagonist who, after a family tragedy, travels to a Welsh Island and discovers an orphanage of children with peculiar abilities. It is a beautifully illustrated book; all the strange photographs in the book are part of Riggs own collection and are completely unedited as that they are products of vintage camera malfunctions and the sort. Also, Miss Peregrine has been slotted for a December 2016 cinematic release! It is to be directed by Tim Burton and features actors Eva Green (Penny Dreadful), Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers), Allison Janney (The West Wing), Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), and Dame Judi Dench (Skyfall).

So, this Ransom Riggs guy (who I met and signed my book at a author meet & greet) tweeted out about the release of Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s YA novel Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia. If you have an IN in the YA community, you’ll know why his tweet is so funny. Either way, I will supply the backstory here.

indra

Now, what exactly is the “Kardashian” that Riggs talks on being on the “Shatter Me HB?”.

Ransom Riggs is married to fellow YA author Tahereh Mafi. She is the writer behind the NYT bestselling Shatter Me trilogy (optioned by ABC to become a television series), and her dystopian storyline features a Rogue like protagonist named Juliette who has been locked in an insane asylum for her incredible ability; anyone who touches her dies. The reason Riggs talks about Kendall and Kylie’s novel being revenge is because the model on the cover of the initial printing of Shatter Me is curiously quite Kardashian/Jenner looking…

shatterme

Now you get the joke.

All kidding aside, I do have some issues with the Kendall and Kylie novel. My initial issue is that the the creativity surrounding the story is limited and the plot is predictable. The book features the protagonists Lex and Livia and obviously this meant to fictionally mirror the lives of the Jenner sisters. While I researched the book I found on two popular book publicizing platforms, Goodreads and Amazon, the synopsis of the story was the same;

Kendall and Kylie Jenner, stars on the hit reality show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, present their debut novel—a thrilling dystopian story about two super-powered girls who embark on a journey together.
Two cities… Two girls… A shared destiny…
In a world of the far future, the great city of Indra has two faces: a beautiful paradise floating high in the sky, and a nightmare world of poverty carved into tunnels beneath the surface of the earth.
Kendall and Kylie Jenner, the youngest sisters in the Kardashian dynasty, have written a gripping tale of air, fire, and a bond of blood (Goodreads).

The potential reader (and buyer) is given little information about the protagonists within the story and what type of “journey” is embarked upon. Instead, the book is primarily pitched through the Jenner sisters reality television participation, a role that arguably is circumstantial. Further, the Jenner girls did not actually write the novel. The novel was actually written by ghost writer Maya Sloan, she who was provided a 2 page outline by the Jenners for creative inspiration.

I feel that by putting the Jenner name on Rebels: City of Indra, the girls have discredited the incredible work that goes into writing a novel. I feel that they have piggy backed upon the talents of others and taken claim to something that they only played a small part in. Part of the press for the book involved a Q&A with fans, one of which asked the girls about their writing process and if they wrote each chapter separately or together, to which Kylie answered “all together” (US Weekly). If you are looking for more information on Maya Sloan (who actually is a successful author), Kendall and Kylie Jenner, or the novel Rebels: City of Indra, all you have to do it type it into google. I promise you’ll be awarded with a myraid of perspectives and opinions, but please keep in mind that theses are my own thoughts on the matter and you are welcome to not share them.

I believe that Rebels: City of IndraThe Story of Lex and Livia, is a product of pure narcissism. While I don’t discredit the two for encouraging some of their young fans to perhaps become interested in reading (which is never ever a bad thing) I do discredit them in the sense that the Jenner girls can now add the title “author” to their retinue of successes when they did not truly author or write the book in the slightest. My only consolation in all of this is that the book did poorly, rating 1.9/5 according to Barnes & Nobel. (Barnes&Nobel 2016).

So! What do you think? How do you feel about celebrities getting book deals compared to the authors who write to live? Do you think pieces of fiction written by celebrities are easier to criticize as opposed to autobiographies and memoirs written by celebrities? Would you read Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia? Let me know in the comments below!

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6 thoughts on “A somewhat structured rant on Kendall & Kylie Jenner’s YA novel

    1. Hey Al! And I do look at it the same way. While I feel that Zoella has slightly more creative agency than the Jenner sisters, she still is a person who is taking whole claim to something she had only a small part in. Were she to write something more like Tanya Burr did, a sort of memoir/cookbook/fashion book than I believe that would have been better suited.

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  1. My big problem with this is the fact that the girls only gave the ghost writer a two page outline. Novel writing is a lot of work! While I am personally getting a little tired of the overwhelming amount of dystopian fiction in YA lit (it’s starting to feel like the vampire/werewolf craze all over again), writing a novel of any kind is incredibly taxing on an author’s resources. It takes time and a considerable amount of creative energy. It seems odd to me that they would get so much credit for a process they barely participated in.
    Also, it does seem like they are using their fame and the rising popularity of dystopian fiction to make money. To be completely honest, I’m personally much less likely to buy this book with their names on it based on what I know of them. I’m not a Kardashian fan and I find their prevalence in pop culture incredibly annoying but that’s just me.

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  2. I thought there was something fishy when the words “author” and “Kardashian” were mentioned in the same sentence. It doesn’t surprise me that they would try to claw their way into this market as well. And quite honestly, the entire concept of a ghost writer just seems like an insincere method of publication and creativity. I understand there are instances where the use of such a writer is necessary given an author’s condition, or perhaps both persons are in a stronger and closer relationship than this example, but overall, the idea never really struck me as a positive thing. And this example does not help me in with changing that perception.

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  3. Newsworthiness.

    This is a business that sells books. If a celebrity “writing” a book might possibly sell a lot of books, then sign ’em up. If the public buys the book then mission accomplished. Whether or not another life-long aspiring author is starving waiting for their first breakthrough is their own problem, not the publishers’ nor the celebrities’. Maya Sloan certainly didn’t lose sleep over it and she is part of the writing community.

    Very cold, but very true.

    That book’s release and its authors satisfies the criteria for something being newsworthy. If Mrs Kardashian/Jenner/Whatever released an album of show tunes, it would make the news.

    The general public’s infatuation with that family is what told the publisher to publish that book. They seem to have permission to do anything. The mom was on Ellen the other day. For what?

    The fact that the book did poorly will certainly affect a decision to publish another. it’s no different than a celebrity going on Dancing with the Stars while aspiring dancers keep waiting on tables in Little Italy.

    Personally, I am also glad the book struggled. I am not a fan of celebrities being called upon in other circles. But the public seems to like it’s celebrity jumping streams.

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  4. As Frank mentioned, its unfortunately the way of the world and the public, and the infatuation many of us have with celebrity status and fame.

    From my point of view, I’ve always been a bit perplexed by ghostwriters…it feels odd to slap someone’s name on a book as the author and then only mention the ghostwriter(s) in passing in some small copyright-style page of the book that no one looks at. Odd, and a little sad. Not to knock the original ideas of the “claimed” author as irrelevant, present book-company excluded of course, but the actual words on the page deserve a little more credit than they are given I think. Front page credit. Put em both there, not just the bigger name!

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