We break down the great (and the terrible) works of fiction by A-list actors and other celebs
The ultimate guide to celebrity novelists
What do Sean Penn, Lauren Graham, and Naomi Campbell have in common? Aside from decades-long fame, they’re among the many celebrities to have turned to fiction and published a full-length novel. Here, we break down their and other celebs’ literary detours, from the surprisingly excellent to the predictably … not-so-great.
Tyra Banks, Modelland
Intense novel about the life of a supermodel by a supermodel, part 1. Modelland is Banks’ fantastical, young-reader-oriented vision of what can happen to women in an image-centric, immensely competitive industry. Modelland features, among other things, a Catwalk Corridor and the terrifying Thigh-High Boot Camp.
Naomi Campbell, Swan
Intense novel about the life of a supermodel by a supermodel, part 2. Swan traces the aftermath of the world’s best-known supermodel deciding to retire, and the mad dash to take her place among five very different but equally ambitious women.
The Golden Globe-winning actor, of X-Files and Californication fame, is a certified novelist, with several well-received titles under his belt. His most recent, Miss Subways, has generated great reviews, intermixing a New York love letter with a sendup of ancient myths.
Hillary Duff, Elixir
Duff is currently in the midst of a career renaissance, playing a whip-smart editor at a prestigious NYC publishing house on TVLand’s Younger, but before all that, the actress-singer wrote an entire YA series about a talented photojournalist entangled in mystery after her father goes missing. No word on what Kelsey Peters thinks of the books.
Lauren Conrad, L.A. Candy
More than would likely care to admit devoured the Hills star’s juicy YA trilogy, a portrait of a young woman who bears considerable resemblance to Conrad as her life is transformed once she joins a hit reality TV show. The L.A. Candy series spent a good chunk of time on best-seller lists and developed a considerable fan base.
Isla Fisher, Seduced by Fame
A young woman desperate to escape her difficult family life learns about fame’s costs the hard way when she’s cast on a TV show. Isla Fisher’s novel is, at least for now, available for a buck in paperback, so get it while it’s hot!
Lauren Graham, Someday, Someday, Maybe
A young actress tries to get ahead in New York City in Lauren Graham’s debut novel, a story set in the mid-’90s and full of the wit, charm, and rapid-fire banter the Gilmore Girls actress is known for. Graham has published multiple autobiographical books since Someday’s 2013 release.
Chris Harrison, The Perfect Letter
Chris Harrison, host of all things Bachelor for what seems like forever now, decided to craft his own love story with this Texas-set book about a woman who rediscovers the letters she once wrote to the love of her life. (Roses not included in purchase.)
It should be no surprise that Hawke has several well-regarded novels to his name, including Hottest State and Ash Wednesday: He’s a two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter whose work favors the kind of well-drawn characters and quieter plots that translate well to fiction.
Michael Imperioli, The Perfume Burned His Eyes
The Emmy-winning Sopranos alum recently published his debut novel, The Perfume Burned His Eyes, named after a line from Lou Reed’s “Romeo Had Juliette” and focused on a Queens-born teen who becomes close friends with … Lou Reed! The novel was generally well received, as a coming-of-age tale dashed with relatable angst and humor.
Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Rebels: City of Indra
Oh yes, at the height of YA dystopia fever, the Jenner sisters published their own entrant in the booming field, Rebels. Unfortunately, reception wasn’t great, to put it mildly, to the extent that even the book’s ghostwriter spoke out on all the backlash she faced.
Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian, Dollhouse
Here’s yet another celebrity “novel” that at least appears to be heavily autobiographical. The Kardashian sisters may not be known for their literary bona fides, but they attempt to dig into what happens when fame finds you, as one sister in a tight-knit family becomes a major celebrity and drags those closest to her into the paparazzi mud.
Hugh Laurie, The Gun Seller
What, you didn’t think Dr. House himself could pull off a great spy novel? The Emmy-winning actor proved, more than two decades ago, his writing ability with this silly spoof of a caper, filled with international terrorists and high-speed chases.
Steve Martin, An Object of Beauty
This one shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone familiar with Martin, an accomplished screenwriter, essayist, and playwright. Beauty is one of two full-length novels he’s written, and his most acclaimed. It’s focused on a young woman prepared to take New York’s art world by storm.
Sean Penn, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff
Penn’s bizarre new novel, expanded from an audiobook he recorded and released under a pseudynonm a few years ago, intends to be a Hunter S. Thompson-esque escapade through Trump’s America, complete with inflammatory commentary on gun violence and the #MeToo movement. But the book has been uniformly panned (including by yours truly) for, among other things, showcasing some icky gender politics. Credit where credit’s due, though: The book’s publisher has actually embraced the negative response.
Sidney Poitier, Montaro Caine
Corporate intrigue, science fiction, and streaks of Caribbean flair characterize Poitier’s accomplished literary debut. Publishing trade Kirkus called the Oscar winner’s book a “Little Prince for grownups,” which is honestly pretty accurate.
Sharon Osbourne, Revenge
Another story of sisters tested by fame, Revenge is Osbourne’s first and only published work of fiction.
Nicole Richie, The Truth About Diamonds
Richie takes readers inside (where else?) Hollywood’s innermost circles, following the “sensational” (her word, not ours) story of Chloe Parker, who ascends to nationally recognized supermodel and carefully navigates the world of the Hollywood elite. (Also, that cover!)
Britney and Lynne Spears, A Mother's Gift
You probably already know if you’re the audience for a pulpy novel about the mother of a musical prodigy headed from rags to riches, written by Britney Spears and her mother, Lynne. But in case you’re not: Know that there’s also dark secrets and small-town intrigue galore.
Bella Thorne, Autumn Falls
Autumn Falls and the sequels it spawned fit firmly where you’d expect a Bella Thorne YA novel to fall: in the land of high school queen bees, steamy romantic heroes, and wistful journaling. Thorne integrated elements of her own life into the novel — as to what, exactly, we’ll leave readers to find out.
Pete Wentz, Gray
The Fall Out Boy founder went introspective with this dark read, revealing the harsher side of rock & roll through a protagonist wrestling with depression, substance abuse, and an unbreakable love of music.