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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Review)


Genre:Young Adult, Adventure
Publication.Date  May 24th 2011
Pages:390
Published By:  Scholastic Press
WebsiteLibba Bray | Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens - Goodreads
My review copy:Provided by the publisher (thank you!)
Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Amazon      | Book Depository


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.
(goodreads.com)


It’s super creepy. Like a haunted Chuck E. Cheese’s where the games all want to kill you and you never get your pizza.
 “Why do girls always feel like they have to apologize for giving an opinion or taking up space in the world? Have you ever noticed that?” Nicole asked. “You go on websites and some girl leaves a post and if it’s longer than three sentences or she’s expressing her thoughts about some topic, she usually ends with, ‘Sorry for the rant’ or ‘That may be dumb, but that’s what I think.
The most important quality in a friend is to be yourself. Unless you’re not a very nice person. Then you should try to be somebody else.
 “When you looked up to the sky and cried “Why?” sometimes the sky shrugged. Yet other times it answered with the warm assurance of linked hands. “Sorry,” it whispered on the wind. “Sorry for all the pain and loneliness and disappointment. But there is this, too.
 “Maybe girls need an island to find themselves. Maybe they need a place where no one’s watching them so they can be who they really are.
The world expected girls to pluck and primp and put on heels. Meanwhile, boys dressed in rumpled T-shirts and baggy pants and misplaced their combs, and yet you were supposed to fall at their feet? Unacceptable.
 “What's your favorite color?
Tiara's eyes darted left and right in fear and her smile was strained.
"Um. Thank you, Fabio. I personally believe that we have a duty such as...as Americans...to help other people who are not Americans such as the peoples of the China and the Alaska and the freedoms we enjoy in our great nation and such and that is my opinion which I personally believe will make us a stronger nation. Thank you.
Adina squeezed her hands against her head. "What are you even saying? You just made my brain die a little. You know, people, just beautiful isn't enough."

     
     What happens when a plane full of teenage beauty pageant contestants crashes on a deserted island? What if the supposedly deserted island is not deserted at all and there is something very suspicious going on there? Ever since I first read the synopsis of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, I knew I had to get my hands on this novel. It sounded like a perfect summer read that had it all: a broad cast of interesting characters, dynamic action, masterfully crafted satire and plenty of good entertainment. I haven’t read any of Libba’s previous novels, and I started reading Beauty Queens knowing nothing about her writing style. To tell you the truth, this book exceeded all my expectations. I knew it was going to be fun, but I never expected to find depth and three-dimensional complexity in this book. What a pleasant surprise that was!

      This book begins with a plane crush. The Corporation’s Miss Teen Dream plane, with 50 beaming girls on board, is on its way to Paradise Cove, where the Forty First Annual Miss Teen Pageant will be taking place. It’s supposed to be a fun trip to the beach, where the girls will get to film their cute promotional videos, ride the waterslides, and practice their performance numbers. But then something goes wrong. There is an explosion and a lot of smoke, and then next thing they know, they’re falling, tumbling through the air and landing in the mound of warm sand. Only 13 of the girls survive the crash and if you think that’s the end of their problems.. well, you’re wrong! They’re stuck on a deserted (?) island, with very little food and even less survival skills. Is this every beauty queen’s worst nightmare or the beginning of a life-changing adventure? Well, you’ll just going to have to read it and find out!

     I had so much fun reading Beauty Queens! It was exciting and witty, and although I didn’t feel the need to stay up all night to finish it, it held my attention up until the last page. It’s definitely a book for people who can appreciate a good satire. And what a satire that was! I was deeply impressed with the way Libba Bray constructed this novel.  She crafted a deep, thought-provoking story that is absolutely hilarious and entertaining at the same time.  She tackled some heavy (and very relevant) subjects, like sexuality, gender, racism, self-worth, standards of beauty and objectification of women, and she did all that in a very subtle, enjoyable way. Honestly, I don’t know how she made this work. Just the idea of pampered teenage beauty queens stranded in wilderness and being forced to fight for survival was exhilarating to me. Add to that a skillfully incorporated pop culture satire and you’ll get a one-of-a-kind reading experience that not only makes you laugh, but also causes you to stop and think.  

     Every character in this book has a unique and compelling story to tell. As we learn more and more about each beauty queen, we begin to understand the motives behind their decisions to join the pageant. It’s really easy to get emotionally attached to them. I was amazed at how fast Libba’s characters grew on me, I never anticipated that (not a huge fan of air-headed look-at-me-I’m-perfect teenage girls). Thankfully, these girls turned out to be so much more than just pretty faces and beautiful bodies. Each one of them added something essential to the story. In the end I couldn’t decide which character was my favorite, I liked them all so very much! 

     Overall, this was a deliciously fun read. Fresh, unique, full of unexpected twists and wittiness, this book is a perfect summer read. Don’t hesitate to pick it up, you won’t regret!

41 comments:

Bree said...

Couple things:
- I read a blog by Linda who is coming to your area on vacation next month and was looking for some tips. I left your link on her blog. Hope you don't mind. Here is her link. http://linda.curious-notions.net/2011/07/friday-7-quick-takes-vol-52/
- thanks for adding yet another book to my TBR list. LOL
- I am so freaking jealous of the set up of your blog. Its so pretty and organized. Thanks so much for sending me directions on quote boxes. Now if I would just take the time to try it out.

Renu said...

Ooh, sounds like an awesome read! -addds to GoodReads- Love the quotes! :D

Trish (Just a YA Girl) said...

I LOVED Beauty Queens. I loved the satire. I loved the footnotes. I loved the quotes. I loved the girls and the reality TV pirates (LOL) I loved pretty much everything about this book. I keep laughing the whole time I was reading. It was great.

Your review hits all of the great parts of this book and as a reader I appreciate that :)

♥ Trish
Just a YA Girl

April X said...

Great review Evie! I have this sitting on my bedside table but unfortunately haven't read it yet :( It sounds awesome though! The quotes are hilarious xD

Jamie said...

What a great review! I actually got this book last week for my Kindle but I haven't had the chance to read it yet. I think it sounds truly original and steps away from the normal YA stories out these days. Now I can't wait to read it. When I was reading the synopsis, I thought it sounded a bit like the TV show "Lost" but with beauty queens:) After reading your review, I'm not so sure about that anymore. Have a good weekend Evie!!

Kathy said...

Fantastic review. I have heard a few reviews and the opinions seeme to be mixed. I am glad you really enjoyed it and it sounds like a fun, perfect beach read.

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Good, insightful review! I definitely can't wait to read this book. : ) I've read Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy and really loved it so I am hoping I love this book just as much.


Molli
http://www.onceuponaprologue.blogspot.com

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

This sounds very unique. The fact that each character has a compelling story makes it all the more intriguing.

aurora M. said...

Everyone I know that has read this thought it was a good read...The cover was a turn off for me but after the review I may have to give it a read. Thanks for the review

landofbooks said...

Everyone has been reading this and posting great reviews. Maybe I should read this too.

Krystal said...

I thought this book was ok, but everything seemed a little overdone...I know it's more of a satire, but it seemed like the author could either have pushed it further into satire territory or backed off a bit.

Raspberry said...

The summary cracked me up so much I had to check it out, and I was laughing so hard I was crying within the first few chapters. I'm not done, but oh man....

Mistery Shopping said...

loved the quotes ;) it's a must have book!

therainhouse said...

Loved the quotes..

Beauty Queens seems like an insightful read.

To be honest, I haven't read it yet.

aparajita said...

Haven't read it yet but would love to

Jennifer said...

Read this a month or two ago. It was surely different from anything i've read before. So much making fun of everything. Interesting read.

Sky said...

Great! I've been wanting to read this book. I've heard good things about Libba Bray

mfay2 said...

I've only heard good things about this book. I don't know why I don't buy it already. Maybe it's the fact that I'm afraid the girls will be so girly it would make the book "ughh".

erin said...

Thanks for an awesome review! I really, really want to read this book. I might have to bump it up on my wishlist :)

Yvonne said...

Sounds like such a fun read. Defo gonna add this to my TBR list :)

Kaylene said...

Thanks for reviewing this book! Before I read your review, I wasn't sure if I was going to read this book or not. But it sounds super funny, I will definitely have to read this one now!

melissa said...

Thanks for the review i love the concept of this book and cant wait to get my hands on a copy

Kindlemom said...

I have this in my TBR pile, I just may need to bump it up, it sounds really good!

FairyWhispers said...

heard so much about this

Katharyn said...

This has been in my TBR pile for a long time! I love Libba so much, I really should get around to reading this!

juhinareadsitall said...

Ive picked this book more than once, but i don't know, i never get past the first couple of ages, but ill try it out!

Chen Yan Chang said...

I. Loved. This. Book.

Seriously.

It's my favorite book of Libba's. I couldn't stop laughing when I read this book. It's so silly, but it's also serious with the social issues. And I loved how we see the different characters' personalities!

Munnaza said...

Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors ever. It's amazing to me how she can write something like The Gemma Doyle trilogy and then do amusing, hilarious, fun books like Beauty Queens and Going Bovine. She's definitely an author I'll be keeping an eye out for. Great review!

Aydrea said...

I have been wanting to read this one, it sounds awesome! Glad you enjoyed it. Those quotes are great too.

Pao Martinez Parente said...

Thanks for the review!I've been wanting to read it, now I definitely will!

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I just love the quote about girls needing an island to find themselves. It's so beautiful, and I understand why you chose to share it with us. =)

A few weeks ago, I read a review of the new release The List which said that there were too many girls and too few pages--but I think there were only seven of them, and they would have got a better ratio than the fifty teen beauty queens in Libba Bray's novel. And yet you say Bray manages to make them all essential to the story? I'm truly impressed!

Taylor Lynn said...

Agreed! I thought Beauty Queens was a fabulous mix of humor and important subjects. And Tiara always made me laugh. ;) Petra was my favorite character, though!

I've read (and own!) all of Libba Bray's novels, and I love them. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy is nothing like Beauty Queens, but it's an absolutely amazing historical fantasy series, and I'd definitely recommend it! Going Bovine was a bit more similar to the modern wackiness of Beauty Queens, and I loved that one, too. I can't wait for The Diviners, her newest historical fantasy, to come out later this year!

So glad you liked this one, thanks for the great review!

Holly said...

I loved reading the Gemma Doyle trilogy and really enjoy Libba's writing style. I'm looking forward to read this one!

Bookie Bee said...

Everybody seems to love this book. I really should read this. Thanks for the great review!

Melissa Brooks said...

I loved Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy, picked it up randomly based on the cover and just fell in love.

I didn't really feel the same when I saw the cover of this book and the synopsis, but your thoughts have changed my mind and made me want to check this book out.

I am expecting it to be a mix between Miss Congeniality and Lord of the Flies!!!!!!!!

reekamarie said...

I'm very curious about this book. I'm currently reading A Great and Terrible Beauty, and not enjoying it very much-I may just not be cut out for Victorian era novels. Beauty Queens sounds a lot more like something I would enjoy..the synopsis, at first, made me think of the movie Tropic Thunder lol.

Great review! I will definitely be picking this one up!

Ohana said...

This looks really great. I've seen it on many sites and videos from booktubers and I only hope, it will by published in my country too.

~Jennifer~ said...

There's a locally owned bookstore about half an hour from where I live, and they had a select few YA books half off. I picked up a few other books that were on sale just because they were higher up on my list to read at the time.

The next two weeks, I couldn't get that book off my mind, lol. I just knew I had to go back and get it. I read a review about it and went back to get it. The cover really caught my eye, and when I read what it was about, I have moved it up higher on my TBR list. Thanks for the review! The fact that you enjoyed it is cool, and I hope I enjoy it too! :)

Jaime Lester said...

I might have to finally see what this book is all about. I read the first book in the Gemma Doyle series and I enjoyed it, but I couldn't get into the second book. I just finished The Diviners by Libba Bray, and it blew me completely away. I will definitely check out this book. The woman has some mad skills!

Karina A. said...

When I saw the cover, I was thinking Ms Congeniality, then I read the blurb. Totally different! The storyline is fun but I don't know if I'll read this. Thanks for the review!

Novels On The Run said...

I have just got this book now and I interviewed Libba a week or so ago. I just had to read it after interviewing her. It sounds like a lot of shenanigans are going on:D

Mich

Wonderful review/thoughts!

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