Monday, June 27, 2011

Awesome Book Reviews: BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island. 

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

Review: Remember that time I said I wanted to make out with Elana Johnson's Possession?

Yeah. It happened again.

This was my first time reading a Libba Bray book. While I am still appalled at myself for not having read her other books, I'm glad Beauty Queens was my first. Bray has a knack for the funny. Scratch that--for the hilarious. Pageant girls stranded on a deserted island? Come on. You know you're laughing right now.

But Bray's novel isn't just about the hilarious. Yes, there are a few borderline psychotic, high-maintenance contestants who live and breathe sequins and sparkles. Some would kill for a flat iron. Or cry if they broke a nail. They are your standard beauty queen cliches. 

And it's precisely this that worked for me. Because not only does Bray acknowledge the cliches, she stomps on them and tosses them into the ocean. Adina, one of my favorite characters, is Miss New Hampshire. She has ulterior motives for being a contestant on the Miss Teen Dream pageant. I won't reveal said motives, but I will say that they spur debates between the rest of the girls. Mainly, they seek to answer this question: what does it mean to be a girl? Other contestants have their questions, too. Bray weaves them all together throughout the book, making you laugh and think at the same time. 

Beauty Queens shows an America turned corporation, where consumerism is king. At times, there are "commercial breaks" that feature ads for ridiculously named products, TV shows, and celebrities. There are also Fact Sheets that each contestant has filled, revealing funny yet poignant details about them. But sometimes those facts have to be censored--they clash with what a future Miss Teen Dream is all about. Or they might make The Corporation look a little less perfect. And we just can't let that happen, can we? 

I could go on and on, folks. My verdict? Don't listen to me. Go pick up Beauty Queens, which is in stores now, and see for yourself :)


Chelsey said...

Isn't it just such an amazing book? I loved it!

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Yay! I've been looking forward to this book. Glad to hear it's as good as it sounds.

Angela Ackerman said...

This is one I definitely want to read. The concept is brilliant, and I'm thinking that LB will pull it off as only as she can. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Unknown said...

I can't wait to read this book. I've only heard exceptional reviews of it. I bought it ages ago, but somehow keep picking up other books instead. I must fix this!

Charmaine Smith (Click here to learn about - Gold Beach Oregon Fishing Guide)