Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray [Review]

Beauty Queens (Audio CD)3 out of 5 Robots!

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Genre: Young Adult
Release:  May 24, 2011
Hardcover: 396 Pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon
Audio Book: Scholastic, Inc.  Narrated by Libba Bray

Book Summary:
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.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)
Shannon's Thoughts:
To be honest...I've picked up this book many many times from the shelf, only to set it back down.  It seemed like it could have great potential.  But there is was always some doubt.  I wasn't a fan of Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series, which was part of my hesitation.  But I had just finished her The Diviners and really enjoyed it.  So I decided to give Beauty Queens a go on audio book.  Afterwards, I realize I should probably listen to my doubt more often.

Beauty Queens isn't a bad book by any means.  It is well written and had some shining parts.  But the main problem for me is the satire.  I like satire, I do.  But I don't like to be smacked in the face with it.  And this brand of satire was so overtly obvious, it hurt.  After awhile, it became tediousness and I just wanted to scream "I get it!!"

The other part I had a problem with is that while the book rails against stereotypes, it is filled with...stereotypes:  The dumb Southern blonds, the Man-hating Feminist, the Texan Pageant Queen,  and so on.  

Also, I will say upfront that the plot is RID.ICU.LOUS. and Beauty Queens is best enjoyed if you just go along with it.  Don't expect it to make sense or even be remotely plausible.  The book felt over long, especially at the end.  But, as I mentioned, there were some shining moments.  I really enjoyed the back stories on the girls.  Here is where Bray's storytelling strengths really show.  In a couple pages, Bray gives great depth and insight into the girls' lives and motivations.  Some of the girls are a lot easier to get along with than others and I particularly liked Petra. She was my favorite character by far.

Also, I give points for the audio book portion.  The production value was very high and I was impressed that Bray read it herself.  She does a very commendable job with different voices, accents, influctions and genders.  I never had a hard time telling her characters apart and there are A LOT of characters.  So well done, Bray.  


  1. I had red really great reviews for this book. I agree it had some high points, but ultimately, I was left unsatisfied and would give it just an ok, but certainly wouldn't recommend that anyone pick it up.



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