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