As host of America’s Next Top Model, you’ve given many well-deserved dressings down (literally) to the overeager, overdone girls on the runway. “Remove that belt,” you might say; “Take off those shoulder-duster earrings;” “That teased-out hair? Slick it back into a low ponytail. Now you look like a model.”
And now you look like a YA author, Ms. Banks, with your debut fantasy Modelland (Random House, September). Tookie De La Crème is an outcast, misfit “Forgetta-girl”: “whose face not even the meanest person you know would describe as yuck but who you’d never in a million—no, a trillion years describe as alluring either.” Tookie gains unlikely admission to ultra-exclusive—and slightly sinister—Modelland. ANTM style, the book features fabulous fashion, to-die-for makeovers, and a sassy Tyra-esque narrative voice (not to mention fierce melodrama, extreme superficiality, backstabbing, and self-obsession).
But, Tyra, hon, your book—“first novel in a trilogy where dreams come true and life can change in the blink of a smoky eye. ”—is 563 pages long (plus six pages of acknowledgments). Like street fashion in the ‘80s, there’s just too much going on—part Cinderella, part Harry Potter, some Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a little Hunger Games, some Judy Blume angst. It’s overkill.
Our advice? For book two, think “cocktail dress”: short and tight. Remove some accessories and let’s see what’s actually there.
The Horn Book Guide