Here’s why BookTok is already hating on Milly Bobby Brown’s fiction novel Nineteen Steps

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Sep 28, 2023 at 05:46 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

It was like the four horsemen of online cancellation had marched in. First, comment sections were disabled, then posts were completely deleted after the words “shameful” and “disgusting” were thrown around. If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, basically Millie Bobby Brown has been trending all over social media because of her recent book launch. And, before we get into it, let’s just say that every BookTop creator under the sun is not pleased with the Stranger Things actor.

Netizens have formed a scathing opinion of Brown’s debut novel Nineteen Steps before they even read a single page. Why, you ask? Because it was written by ghostwriter Kathleen McGurl. Still confused why this would warrant so much outrage. Let us break it down for you.

What is Nineteen Steps about?

@lottiesaahko

Read the full article on Kathleen McGurl’s blog. 💻 What do you think about this? #ghostwriter #nineteensteps #MillieBobbyBrown #nineteenstepsmilliebobbybrown #kathleenmcgurl #booktokuk

♬ original sound - Lottie - author and booktoker

Nineteen Steps is a historical romance novel about the 1943 Bethnal Green tube disaster. After an air-raid warning, many locals raced for cover to the tube station and were subsequently crushed and killed after they became entrapped on the staircase entrance. The tragedy claimed 173 lives, including 62 children, and is considered the largest loss of civilian life in the UK during the Second World War. Brown has stated that her grandmother inspired the story. The book was released on 12 September 2023. 

Why did Millie Bobby Brown use a ghostwriter?

It’s not unusual for celebrities to hire ghostwriters. Especially, if they are working on a memoir. Some of the most well-known examples are Becoming by Michelle Obama, Paris: The Memoir by Paris Hilton, as well as the infamous Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

@theshamelessbookclub

#booktokdrama #booktok #bookcontroversy #booknews #unpopularbookopinions #milliebobbybrown #nineteensteps #ghostwriter

♬ original sound - The Shameless Book Club

After all, public figures usually don’t have the time, discipline, or writing skills to write a book. Ghostwriters are also frequently used for fiction. Does anyone remember Rebels: City of Indra by Kendall and Kylie Jenner?

Why is BookTok so mad about Nineteen Steps?

Well, a major concern for netizens is the lack of credit ghostwriters often get. While this is a very valid concern, Brown has been quite open about the fact that she has not written this story. In an Instagram caption, which was paired with a picture of both Brown and McGurl, the actor stated: “A huge thank you to my collaborator @kathleenmcgurl. I couldn’t have done this without you! #nineteensteps.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Millie Bobby Brown (@milliebobbybrown)

Furthermore, it did not take long for some pro-Millie BookTokers to smell the misogyny in this heated debate. “Can we please not do the thing where we pin this very complicated social issue on a very young woman, who by all accounts is following all the rules set up by other people? Millie Bobby Brown is properly crediting her ghostwriter,” BookToker Kirby said about the debate.

@kirby.alice

i know look awful, i just wanted to say this now. i believe in us. #booktok #ghostwriting #milliebobbybrown #greenscreen

♬ original sound - kirby

The online outrage over Millie Bobby Brown’s debut novel, Nineteen Steps, highlights a common practice of celebrities using ghostwriters, and quickly seeing a vicious backlash. And while some of the questions about the amount of credit they are entitled to remain, it is evident that Brown is neither the cause of the issue nor the keeper of the answer.

Keep On Reading

By Alma Fabiani

Inside the two real-life experiments ‘Stranger Things’ is actually based on

By Mason Berlinka

Woman leaves husband after thinking she was dating Stranger Things actor

By Abby Amoakuh

The murder of a 22-year-old nursing student in Athens Georgia could decide the US presidential elections

By Abby Amoakuh

Why you should keep an eye on The Summer I Turned Pretty star Lola Tung and her Broadway debut

By Charlie Sawyer

Donald Trump warns of chaos and bedlam if his name is kept off the US presidential election ballot

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Meet Edward and Natalie Ortega, the parents of Wednesday actress Jenna Ortega

By Abby Amoakuh

Shocking list of F1 legends who have been linked to Jeffrey Epstein in latest court documents

By Abby Amoakuh

Nicola Peltz Beckham’s movie Lola is labelled as poverty porn from the mind of a billionaire’s daughter

By Abby Amoakuh

What is girl therapy? The TikTok trend disguising middle-class consumerism as self-care to Gen Z

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Who is Bianca Censori and why is her controversial family worried about Kanye West?

By Abby Amoakuh

Tories delete ad attacking Sadiq Khan after using New York footage instead of London’s

By Charlie Sawyer

Meta faces backlash from Instagram users over new political content limitation feature

By Charlie Sawyer

How to get a refund on your student loan from SLC

By Charlie Sawyer

Megan Fox accused of xenophobia after comparing bad photo of herself to Ukrainian blowup doll

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Olivia Colman reveals she’d earn a lot more money in Hollywood if she were a man

By Charlie Sawyer

What is delulu?

By Abby Amoakuh

Comedian Arj Barker responds after throwing breastfeeding mother and baby out of his show

By Charlie Sawyer

What is a glizzy? Breaking down the mysterious term taking over TikTok

By Abby Amoakuh

Lesbian couple told by GP to sleep with a man if they want to have a baby

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

O.J. Simpson’s father revealed to be a prominent gay drag queen called Mama Simpson