Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray


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.
Cute. I was a little disappointed in Beauty Queens but only because it has really been built up on Goodreads, I went in expecting more. Personally, I think it was kind of a slow start. I get the humor but didn’t find it as hilarious as some other readers claim however I did think it was witty and well written. It took me a good hundred pages to get into it but then it seemed to flow nicely. It took me way longer to read than it should have but I think it is an overall charming read.

World: The world building was well done. I could really imagine the island and the jungle aspects in which Libba Bray was trying to portray. I liked the writing style of the book especially the made-up product placement commercials and footnotes scattered throughout. I think they might have been a little overdone by the end of the book but funny nonetheless.  Generally good dialog and good writing.

Characters: There are a lot of main characters in this book which might be part of the reason it took me a while to get into it. It really jumps around from girl to girl and it was hard to feel connected to any of the girls in the beginning. I think that the girls ended up unfolding into some good characters and I really liked the addition of the reality TV Pirates. This is a great book about some of the struggles teen girls go through and also a great read about some amazing friendships. Bray tackled some pretty serious issues covering everything from lesbians, to “wild child,” to transgender. I struggled with this a bit as I don’t find these to be a good base for comedy. I think this worked at times but it’s not always funny to take controversial issues and make them comical. They were definitely made light of and even pushed to predictable and cheesy (and maybe even offensive to some) but it did add good substance to the characters.

Plot: Was it unique? Certainly. Bizarre? Definitely. Unrealistic? Of course. Was it over the top? Yes, and I really don’t think Bray held back much. I think this was probably a very fun book to write. I enjoyed how crazy it was with the pirates, international conspiracy, and power crazy leaders. I liked that it really portrayed pageant life in a comical way but came back around to serious with pageant life giving the girls tools that they had in turn used as a means of survival.

I don’t say this often, but I would like to see it as a movie. 
If done correctly, I think it could be better than the book.

I liked it.

Note: This book was the January book choice for The Chick Lits Bookclub


  1. Wah, too bad for the low start. Glad it picked up :)

    1. I know, but I hope people stick with it because it is a good read! I might just be in a book slump because I know a lot of people ADORE this book!

  2. Thanks for following my blog. I am following you back. And since you do not seem to have a GFC widget, I followed you via feedspot. :)

    Cherry Mischievous

    1. Yay for book buddies!
      I think I fixed the GFC now, thank you for the heads up!

  3. My first Libba Bray was The Diviners and although I loved that, I'm not sure about this one. I've been looking at it for a while, and it does seem to be a fun one, but now knowing the controversial aspects being in a type of book like that, kind of a mockery, I wouldn't like that at all. Great review! :)

    1. I am DYING to read the Diviners but I think I might wait until the fall so that I can jump right into book #2 afterwards. I hear it is amazing... I'm book jealous! ;)

      I wouldn't say "don't read it" but I'm glad you are aware of it's content. I don't think the book is bad by any means I just wanted people to be aware that they need to push through the first part and not take it too seriously. I would say do it, just because some people LOVE this book and you already know you like Bray. I would love to know what you think of it when/if you do read it!