Well, what can I say? 'Haters gonna hate' and I don't expect many people to enjoy this book the way I did. Tyra Banks wrote it and a lot of people want to hate it specifically for that reason. For the sake of full disclosure, I will happily admit that I have been an America's Next Top Model fan since day one (and I even watch the international versions!) And I've also been dying to read another book where a kid gets swept up into a magical boarding school and has dramas and adventures (like Harry Potter in Hogwarts) so this book came at a perfect time for me.
So, firstly, the bad stuff: 1- The cover. It's one of those covers I'd be too embarrassed to show off in public. Even the font they used for the title is amateurish looking. I'm amazed someone who has worked in the fashion industry for 8 billion years like Tyra managed to make something THAT BAD. 2- The prose, especially at the beginning of the book. I don't know what it is about newbie childrens fantasy authors but a lot of them think the best way to introduce us to their whimsical wonderful weird new world is to WRITE JUST LIKE LEMONY SNICKETThe Complete Wreck (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-13) Most of the time, this effort goes horribly horribly wrong and unfortunately, it made the beginning of Modelland VIRTUALLY UNREADABLE. Most of the time, whenever a celebrity-author comes out with a book I always think 'Yeah, yeah! You and an army of ghostwriters!' But I can totally believe that Tyra wrote all of this book by herself with no help from anyone based on how bad this portion was! Finally somewhere around page 30 or 40 she managed to knock it off and tone it down and write like a normal person and i was able to get into the story! 3- Spelling & grammar. Here is what I have to say about this: I realize I'm reading an advanced reader copy, but the publisher should have known that there are a lot of people out there DYING TO FIND ANY EXCUSE TO RIP THIS BOOK TO SHREDS! There was no excuse for spelling Myraccle/Myrracle's name two different ways in THE VERY FIRST PAGE! There were a bunch of errors all throughout the book that i really hope will not make it to the final printing. I just felt the need to put this out there because I feel like the publishers let Tyra down by releasing a copy like this. Why give people more ammo to shoot the book down??
Now on to the good stuff! 1- I thought the book was really creative! For example, the country where Tookie lives is like a small city and is divided into 4 districts and each district has it's own weather! There is the freezing cold one, the super hot one, the rainy one etc etc. There is another country that's a gigantic store and everyone just has houses in the aisles! A lot of the imaginary countries are based on real countries and I think it fun trying to figure out what is what. 2- I really liked arriving at Modelland and going through modeling school with Tookie. She met load of new friends and frienemies and teachers. Everyone had their own quirks and personalities. Even the 'mean girl' character Zarpressa had reasons for being mean deep down inside. I also loved the classes! Some of them reminded me of Americas Next Top Model stuff, like the class on how to runway walk and the class on how to make faces. 3- There were also other classes with hidden lessons for young readers. A class about eating healthy and eating for your body/appetite type. A lesson about never sharing make up because it might spread germs, etc etc. 4- I just really enjoyed it. I realize mine will probably be one of the very few positive reviews and I totally expect a million unhelpful votes but I honestly enjoyed the book. I think it needed a ghostwriter to tighten up a few spots, especially at the beginning and it definitely needs a new cover, but if you read it from the point of view of watching a very colorful and wacky cartoon, I think you might enjoy it too! I honestly wouldn't mind seeing a cartoon movie of this! And Tookie would be one of the very first mainstream black female fantasy book heroines!