Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The X-Factor: Confessions Of A Naïvé Fashion Model by Ivan Sivec


Confessions of a naïve fashion model. It takes three mistakes to be swallowed up and spat out by the fashion industry. You trust the wrong people. You think you know everything there is to know about life. You take drugs. Maja started off as a regular seventeen-year-old high-school kid, fighting her inner insecurities while dreaming of becoming an actress like Marilyn Monroe.

At a party her boyfriend Klemen introduces her to a renowned modeling agent. He sees a special X Factor hidden inside her. And a great business opportunity for himself... Fast forward a few weeks later. Maja’s charm and talent land her a modeling contract in the trendy and exciting fashion capital of Milan. She’s completely enchanted and determined to make it in the fashion world. But things don’t turn out the way she planned. Exhausting long photo shoots, stressful fashion shows, strict dieting, and wild parties take their toll.

In a desperate search for help Maja reaches out to her agent and other false friends from the fashion industry who exploit her emotionally and physically, turning ‘Maja the Great’ into a shadow of her former self. Her battle with drug addiction ends tragically. Maja has been finally swallowed up and spit out by the fashion industry with its endless traps. What price will the girl with the X Factor have to pay for her naiveté? The young adult novel The X Factor by the bestselling Slovenian author Ivan Sivec is based on a true story and takes the reader on a frightening journey into the world of drug addiction among teenage fashion models.

About the Author:

Ivan Sivec is a bestselling Slovenian writer, poet, publicist and passionate traveler. To this date he published over 125 books, some also translated into English and German. According to the National Librarian Statistics he is one of the top five read authors in Slovenia. He graduated from Slavic Studies at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana and successfully completed his master’s degree at the Department of Ethnology. Up to his retirement he worked as a journalist and editor for Radio Slovenia, the national radio station, creating many spectacular commentaries on the interesting people, customs and places he got to know through his work. During his prolific career he has been producing different fiction and non-fiction genres: biographies and memoirs, historical, sports and adventure novels, travelogues, humorous stories and many more.

Mr. Sivec’s passion is writing fiction for younger, teen and adolescent readers (such as fairy tale novels, picture and children books, young adult novels). His particular interest goes to psychological novels on issues teens face today, especially deeper topics like teenage suicide, drug addiction, adoption, AIDS... Many of his novels were dramatised and several also reprinted. Some of his youth novels were adapted as film or TV series, for the viewing pleasure of both young and mature audiences. He has received numerous prizes and awards for his work.

Mr. Sivec also wrote about the phenomenon of Slavko Avsenik’s music: the book Brata Avsenik (Brothers Avsenik, published in Slovene and German) is dedicated to the life-story of the famous brothers, which are said to be the beginners of ethnic popular music (Oberkrainer music) in Europe. In a number of ways, the renowned music group is considered to be a world sensation.

The multifaceted Slovenian writer is not only a well-known novelist, but also a poet and songwriter. During his career he produced over 2,500 lyrics for different folk-pop bands. His lyrics have been adapted by famous Slovenian ensembles and musicians.

In 2015 Ivan Sivec is ready to present himself to the English speaking reader with his young adult novel The X Factor: Confessions of a Naïvé Model, portraying the glamorous fashion world behind its less glamorous scenes. The book is based on a true story and takes the reader on a frightening journey into the world of drug addiction amongst teenage fashion models. For more information please visit and

Review by Rochelle:

Even allowing for the fact that English is not Mr. Sivec’s first language, I still was not able to read The X-Factor. The book was full of info dumps (long passages of narrative where nothing happens), head-hops (changes of point-of-view in the middle of a scene), and definitions.

Yes, every few paragraphs, Mr. Sivec stopped the action to define a word. These were not esoteric words that one would need to look up in the Oxford English Dictionary, either. Here’s an example.  “Top? The best in a given moment.” Really? I think I could have figured that out myself. Not to mention the fact that the definition wasn’t even a full sentence—it’s a sentence fragment. There were quite a few of those.

By the time I was nineteen percent of the way through the book, I just couldn’t go on anymore.

It’s a shame. It sounds as though The X-Factor is a cautionary tale that could possibly help aspiring models avoid a few pitfalls—if they can get through it. Rule one: don’t fake your age; let your parents be involved in your career. They probably want what’s best for you.

Author Website:
Heat Rating:  PG-13
Length:  246 Pages
Print:  $14.90
Digital:  $4.99

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

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