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6.11.2011

Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens
Young Adult, Satire, Social Issues
Hardcover $18.99 (### pages, PUBLISHER)
Ebook $18.99
Audiobook $44.99

Teen beauty queens. A Lost-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. 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.
Author Site: www.libbabray.com

Terrific Teen Beach Reading (4 stars)

If only being pretty was all a girl needed in life...

When the plane carrying the contestants of the Miss Teen Dream Pageant and their handlers crashes on a mysterious island being pretty is the girls' least valuable asset. With only a dozen or so survivors—all contestants—these teenage girls have to brave giant snakes, hallucinogenic plants and starvation if they ever want to find a way off their seemingly deserted new home. But the island isn't quite as deserted as they thought and between dodging black clad soldiers, aiding reality TV pirates and practicing their dance routines this motley band of young ladies may find there are far greater things than being the prettiest.

Taking on issues ranging from poverty, racism and sexism to GLBT identity and female sexuality BEAUTY QUEENS is jam-packed with thought-provoking subjects portrayed in a lightly satirical and humorous manner. With an over-the-top plot filled with conspiracy, adventure and girls finding themselves this is not the book for every reader.

I actually decided to read this book based on Bray's short story 'PROM NIGHT' from the ZOMBIES vs. UNICORNS anthology. Bray's portrayal of teens left to their own devices proved to me she wasn't going to look down on them for their age and make them helpless or just plain stupid. Sure enough, the ladies of BEAUTY QUEENS manage to stay just-this-side of being caricatures full of stereotype. Yes, the Texan contestant has a huge personality. Yes, the token African-American girl is 'the token African-American girl'. The girl from Alabama is kinda ditzy and there's the girl who wants to bring the pageant down. But Bray delves beneath the surface beauty of these young women and exposes very real, believable sides.

There is a lot of snark and certainly some unrealistic silliness. Tons of pop culture references and teasing of fame, the media and the beauty industry but at it's heart this is a very well meaning story. It could easily be read looking deeply at the social issues or as simply a really silly and entertaining satire. For me this is just what a beach read should be so I'm recommending this as a summer must-read for Young Adult readers in the targeted age range. I can't see this being as appealing to adults but some may also enjoy it as I did.

Other Reviews:

Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.

1 comment:

charmaine smith said...

I can't wait to check this one out! It looks so funny and I am really looking to read something that makes me laugh!

Charmaine Smith (More info lodge Alaska fishing)

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