With renewed interest in the Princess of Pop’s life story following the release of The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears, plenty of folks may be looking to take a deeper dive into themes like public empathy for celebrities, misogyny in the entertainment industry, and the toxic culture of paparazzi. Young adult books haven’t shied away from this topic. After all, it makes sense — so many celebrities who have experienced stories like Britney Spears’s were young adults themselves when their fame and the troubles associated with fame began. These fictional celebrities and their stories give readers a taste of what it might be like to feel like the whole world is watching their every move. So if you stan Britney Spears and want more (fictional) perspective on how it all came to this, check out one or more of these young adult novels.
Shine by Jessica Jung
There is nothing in the world Rachel wants more than to be a K-pop star. After she’s recruited to be DB Entertainment’s latest and greatest music icon, the rules are clear: keep a squeaky clean image, no dating, and make your career the number one thing in your life. But soon, Rachel is faced with the reality of the K-pop world. Everything about her has to be perfect and when she finally slips up, the media will be there to catch it. And then there’s the exceptional and perfect Jason Lee, for whom Rachel can’t help but develop feelings. Now, her dreams are conflicting — can she be the perfect pop star and still get the guy? This novel is particularly one to look out for, having been written by an actual K-pop star.
Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer
From Glee star Chris Colfer comes a story about Cash Carter, a famous teen actor who knows it can be lonely at the top. When some fans suggest he join them on a cross-country road trip, he surprises them all by accepting. Now, the paparazzi are following the travelers while Cash tries to hold onto a secret not even his biggest fans know. It’s not long before his truth comes to life and his new friendships are put to the test.
Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
Leanna Smart has hardly known anything but life in the limelight. From a young age she’s been commodified to be the latest and greatest piece of entertainment. So when she walks into Pablo’s deli, his aloof treatment of her is refreshing. No matter how much they may like each other, dating will come at a steep cost for them both. As they try out their new relationship out of the public eye, Leanna’s lifestyle, Pablo’s own hangups, and the media threaten it all. Once the world finds out, all bets are off.
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Ultra-famous K-pop star Lucky knows she has it good. So many girls would kill to have her life, and she actually gets to live it. But it’s not all sunshine and roses. After all, she can’t even go out for a simple, late-night burger, no matter how much she wants one. Then there’s Jack, just trying to get by and making a little extra cash as a tabloid photographer. When the two run into each other in Lucky’s swanky hotel, Jack plays as if he has no idea who Lucky is, and the two go on an adventure across Hong Kong so Lucky can have a taste of freedom before she jets off to America to become famous worldwide. But sooner or later, Lucky’s luck will run out.