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.
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…
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 Indra: The 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!