young adult book reviews & more

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty QueensWhat happens when a plane full of beauty queens crashes on a desolate desert island? Do they keep practicing their routines so they’ll be in peak form by the time they’re rescued, or do they start developing some survival skills? These girls are really torn between perfecting dance routines and the drive for basic necessities such as food. Most of them have faith that they will be promptly rescued and brought back to civilization, but the what if nags at the back of all of their minds. Their situation takes a turn for the more bizarre with the appearance of some sexy pirates and the discovery of the secret headquarters of The Corporation, the sponsor of these beauty queens’ pageant, on their temporary island home. Is there some kind of evil underlying conspiracy at work? You bet there is! The only question is whether these girls are up for a whole new kind of competition…

Beauty pageants, political and corporate corruption, and reality TV pirates meet feminism in Bray’s hilarious yet poignant Beauty Queens. Ordinarily this combination would make little sense, but Bray makes it all work beautifully. Her characters are strange yet realistic and the many ridiculous situations she devises are perfectly balanced with more serious moments. It’s very clear that Beauty Queens is a novel with an agenda, and I say that with some trepidation because I know that some readers are turned off by such obvious messages. However, Bray’s messages are part of why I enjoyed this novel so immensely. Bray is able to poke fun at some pretty messed up situations, like dysfunctional families, the more close minded strains of political ideology, and personal greed, in a way that makes them more approachable for readers without necessarily condemning or condoning them. The most meaningful aspect of this novel, though, is in the discussion of beauty and what it means to be female.  Gender encompasses so many important topics, and Bray touches on many of these in such a sensitive and open manner. Its hilarity, brilliance, and present day relevance make Beauty Queens a novel that truly should be read and will be enjoyed by everyone.

I wholeheartedly recommend Beauty Queens to especially teen girls as well as to all readers who enjoy Bray’s writing or liked the Avery Sisters trilogy by Rachel Vail and Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian.

Rating: 5.0

Review copy from publisher Scholastic

1 munch(es) :

Leigh Purtill said...

Wow, have I ever seen you give a full 5 stars to a book? This one must go on my TBR list! :)

Post a Comment

Let the munching begin.