Just when you thought all it took to make you famous was a sex tape, a clothing line, and a cameo on Funny or Die, a virtual tsunami of literary ambition has washed over our cultural superstars. The days of the one-trick pony or the well placed endorsement are over — these days you’re simply not A-list if you haven’t written a novel. (Mr. Hanks, we'll give you an exception for those forthcoming short stories.)
From Ethan Hawke to Kim Kardashian, the hottest names in Hollywood are no longer content to make us swoon from the safety of the screen; these days, our favorite celebrities are dishing the dirt on the printed page. So, does it matter if they have a ghostwriter doing all the heavy lifting? Do we care if these works of “fiction” bare more than a passing resemblance to the real lives of the celebrity authors? Of course not! What’s juicier than a tale of love, laugher, sin, and the city? Well, a tale that features a not-so-cleverly concealed character based on our favorite celebrity, of course.
So strap on your Jimmy Choos (or those Jessica Simpson platforms from Payless) and start taking notes, because we’ve got 19 works of celebrity fiction ranked from those who gave it the college try to works that are actually absolute must-reads.
19. Star: A Novel by Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson puts the very definition of "a novel" to the test with a work of fiction that just manages to avoid the label autobiography (largely through the use of fake names and utter disregard for logic and plot structure). The prose is flowery, the skirts are short, the romance is tawdry, and the parties are endless, but if you're hungry for yet another tale of a small town girl walking the lonely road to stardom you could do worse... probably.
18. A Mother's Gift by Britney & Lynne Spears
Unfortunately Brit Brit's novel more closely resembles her less-than-blockbuster movie career than her "Hit Me Baby One More Time" days. This sappy, rags to riches tale of a young girl with a great voice and a taste for the limelight boarders on propaganda. But, if you're a fan of the princess of pop there are worse ways to get a behind the scenes glimpse at Britney's story.
17. Rebels: City of Indra by Kendall and Kylie Jenner
Little Jenners, I know how hard you worked, and I admire you jumping on the genre train; after all, doesn't each and every one of us secretly wish we were breaking free of some post-apocalyptic future overlord with a hot werewolf by our side? Of course we do. Unfortunately, as much as I enjoy imagining the two of you as Lex and Livia, with a lackluster 13,000 copies sold as of October 2014 this is clearly one piece of celebrity fiction that does not live up to the hype.
16. Tarantula by Bob Dylan
Dylan himself admits that this experimental novel was nowhere near his best work, eventually claiming that it was in fact his manager who forced him to pen the stream of conscious style prose that reads like a bad Kerouac impression.
15. Dollhouse by Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian
Although I don't think anyone's under the impression that Kimmy K or the other Kardashians actually wrote a word of this tale of a "glamorous, high-profile celebrity family," the novel must draw on at least few of the Kardashian clan's real-world adventures, if only because it's hard to imagine anyone taking the trouble to dream up a story this dull.
14. Elixir by Hilary Duff
C'mon, it's Lizzie McGuire! But little Lizzie's all grown up these days, and, for real, you do not want to miss out on her tale of Clea Raymond, a talented photojournalist whose parents suddenly and mysteriously disappear. It isn't exactly a John Le Carre novel we're talking about here, but... just adjust your expectations, OK?
13. Swan by Naomi Campbell
This juicy tale of models and murder is all the more fierce thanks to the undefinable allure of the one and only miss Naomi Campbell, queen of the supermodels. With her trademark caustic wit and occasionally surprising insight, this puff piece has enough bite to make it well worth a read.
12. Seduced by Fame by Isla Fisher
The siren song of the spotlight, a small-town girl, and a dream—can't you just feel the '90s calling, in the best possible way?
11. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
Oh L.C., how we missed you when you left The Hills . Thank you for giving us another glimpse into your life and times with this work of "fiction." And, although we don't begrudge you making your way to the world of non-fiction, any time you want to give the gossipy girly novel another shot we're ready and waiting.
10. Autumn Falls by Bella Thorne
This story of a new comer at high school struggling to fit in won't win any awards for ingenuity plot-wise, but with some true details from Bella Thorne's own life grounding the narrative, and a feisty girl-power message bringing backbone to the main characters, Ms. Thorne manages to serve up a sweet story that may just set the stage for sequels yet to come.
9. The Truth About Diamonds by Nicole Richie
Anytime Nicole Richie wants to drop some truth bombs, you can rest assured that good times lie ahead. And, if you can get past the lack of imagination required in representing a "rock royalty princess" you will no doubt enjoy yourself while flashing back to the days of The Simple Life.
8. Junior by Macaulay Culkin
Macaulay Culkin has come a long way since the Home Alone days, and now this former child star has embraced his inner hipster with a melange of comics, poetry, journal entries, quizzes and, occasionally, narrative prose that is remarkably self-aware.
7. Palo Alto: Stories by James Franco
Ahh, James Franco, you crazy, sexy, curious creature. Now that you've secured a graduate degree from Columbia University and a second career as an up-and-coming art star, is there anything you can't do (except perhaps list words that rhyme with orange)? With only a slight hint of pretension and a spare, provocative style these stories are almost as addicting as the star himself.
6. Paradise Alley by Sylvester Stallone
We all know he can handle a weapon, and with this novel Stallone proves he's more than just an occasionally bloody face — he's a regular wordsmith. For those IMDB hawks who already knew Stallone earned an Academy Award for as a screenwriter for Rocky seeing his name this far down on the list may not be a surprise, but for the doubters with a pugilistic bent, Paradise Alley will be a most pleasant surprise.
5. The Hottest State by Ethan Hawke
Continuing the immortal tradition of celebrity authors writing "fiction" about young wannabe actors, Ethan Hawke achieves surprising depth with his debut novel.
4. The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
The Gun Seller brings you the brains of Dr. House without the sarcasm, drug addiction, and overwrought narcism — overall, a big win and a compelling thriller with a plot to die for.
3. Fan Tan by Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell
Swashbuckling pirates, mystery on the high seas, and a seductive Madame Lai Choi San — the only thing this novel is missing is a cameo by Brando himself... But seriously folks, this is a wickedly entertaining, rollicking good time that bares more than a passing resemblance to the films of the late great Hollywood legend — if only Brando himself was here to take on the leading role in the film adaptation.
2. No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
With her uncanny knack for elevating the lives of ordinary individuals to the stuff of legend, Miranda July brings something truly special to the world of celebrity fiction. Smart, funny, eccentric, and tender, this collection of short stories is not to be missed.
1. Shop Girl by Steve Martin
With this charming, poignant, and ultimately highly adaptable novel, Steve Martin proves that sometimes celebrities do make truly brilliant novelists.
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