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. . . .
You may recall that when we here at Rampant Reads learned at BEA of this book’s existence, we knew that one of us would HAVE to read the damn thing. I mean, did you read that jacket copy? It’s insane! (By the way, I never just copy and paste the jacket copy because, quite frankly, I find that lazy. But I do not have it in me to describe this cracktastic plot more succinctly then what’s already there.) So when I needed one more item on my Amazon order to get free shipping, I decided to take one for the team and read Modelland (Delacorte 2011). I suspected that this book wouldn’t be good in the traditional, but I thought it had the potential to be a fun, guilty pleasure read.
I was wrong.
Oh, not about the not being good part. It’s a mess of awkward writing, cartoonish characters, and cringe-inducing dialogue. The pace of the plot just goes and goes without ever pausing to let a moment breathe or relieve tension. It feels like reading one really long run-on sentence. Plus, it feels like Tyra is trying to satirize the modeling industry and society’s obsession with physical perfection, and glorifying it at the same time. It’s very odd.
I can see how someone could ignore all that and just enjoy the wackadoodle storytelling. I am not that person. It just hits too many of my writing pet peeves. I prefer my fantasy stories to have some basis in reality, and this just doesn’t. It’s also brimming with made-up, bullshit slang terms that take me out of the story and drive me crazy. I also find Tookie, the main character, incredibly annoying. And if I don’t care about her, then I’m not going to care about whatever treacherous model nonsense she gets up to. Your mileage will, of course, vary.
Now, before the Tyra obsessives (do they exist?) accuse me of some kind of anti-Tyra vendetta, let me assure you that I have no strong feelings about Ms. Banks either way. I’ve never watched her talk show or America’s Next Top Model (maybe if I had, I’d know what the hell smize means. Somebody please enlighten me in the comments.), but I sincerely enjoyed her movie debut in the cinematic classic Coyote Ugly (by the way, listen to the DVD commentary when Tyra worries that her walk might be too modelish. It’s awesome.) In fact, most of my impressions of Tyra come from the Fug Girls where she generally comes across as a fun, albeit maniacal and jumpsuit-obsessed, person. And while I admire her efforts to build up her empire, I don’t think writing is really her strength.
I generally prefer to read books all in one sitting, mainly because if I get really into a book I want to keep reading without interruptions, but I just couldn’t with Modelland. This book is 600 pages! About a crazy model world! I got through 150 pages before I couldn’t take it anymore. But I won’t let Modelland beat me. As motivation, I will be posting updates and recaps of my progress through the book. And yes, it’s probably not fair to bag on it before I finish the book, but whatever. If it miraculously becomes a genius book then you will all have my permission to point and laugh at me. But as God is my witness, I will finish this book even if it kills me.