Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Humor, LGBT
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 24th 2011
Synopsis: The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.
What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?
Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.
Here’s an interesting scenario: A plane filled with beauty queens crashes on a desert island. The beauty queens are left with a very small supply of food, little water, no way to contact help, and, most importantly, practically no beauty products. What do you think would happen?
Well, Libba Bray thought that random, ridiculous, and crazy stuff would happen, apparently.* And that thought is what made Beauty Queens, a hilarious and fun book that is filled to the brim with satire. Bray’s beauty queen survivalist story is addictive and really did bring me more than a few laughs.
A warning for readers: Beauty Queens has one of the most random, ridiculous, and crazy plots I have ever read. No matter how crazy and ridiculous you think things already are, it will only get more crazy and ridiculous. I mean it, guys. The explosive hair remover is the least crazy thing to happen in this book. Beauty Queens is an extreme ride and suspension of belief is obviously going to be required.
The beauty queens… Wow, the beauty queens! They are what made this book. The girls were weird and sometimes acted just plain bonkers. They were over the top and many of them were stereotypical (by design), but boy, were they fun! Those beauty queens had me constantly smiling the whole time I was reading the book.
I also loved that Bray really took the time to peel back the layers of many of the girls’ characters. It made it so you could find them to be believable and realistic (well,as realistic as a group of characters like these girls can get). Lots of the girls’ stories were very thought-provoking and I had no problem with investing in them. My favorite girls were Petra, Adina, and Tiara.
The other characters were just as over the top as our main girls and I think Bray did a great job with them. What can I say? I love crazy 🙂
Bray’s personality really shined through in the way she wrote Beauty Queens. I have never actually met the lady, but from what I have gathered, she always struck me as a fun-loving, hilarious person. And with all the cute and fun footnotes generously sprinkled everywhere and the commercial breaks, I definitely felt that a fun-loving and hilarious person wrote the book.
A couple of flaws I found while reading this book is that, while Bray presented great commentary and ideas on many different important issues, I think that Bray could have woven the ideas and commentary more tightly into the story and did more “showing” than presenting. I’m also pretty sure there was a name mix-up in one instance…
But as a whole, Beauty Queens is a book that I adored. I loved the humor and satire. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and characters. And the explosive hair remover was pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself.
*Okay, Bray might have not exactly fully believed that crazy and ridiculous stuff would happen. But she probably hoped that crazy and ridiculous stuff would happen.