Monday, May 30, 2011
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
[description from goodreads]
From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. 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.
I was initially a bit hesitant to read Beauty Queens, because the last time I read a strange-sounding Libba Bray book (Going Bovine), it did not go too well for me. However, once I read this book's "prologue," I knew there was nothing to worry about.
I'm sure there will be plenty of people who say that they didn't understand Beauty Queens, that they thought it was too weird, that it was just plain crazy, so if you don't like the strange, perhaps Beauty Queens is not the book for you. However, if you are like me and embrace crazy in all its forms, you will love this book. There is a never a shortage of oddities in this book, whether the girls are facing pirates, hallucinogenic plants, or crazy workers from The Corporation. Even when the book strays from the girls, there is plenty to laugh about. Throughout the book are "fun facts" pages about the girls, commercials of products and shows made by The Corporation, and loads of footnotes that satirize television, film, and other elements of consumer culture. No matter what they're about, though, they are freaking hilarious. I wish there were more of them so that I could see more of the evils The Corporation was taking part in, but I was more than pleased with what I got.
However, it wasn't just the "extras" that made this book a delight to read. Although I occasionally had some issues remembering which girl was who because there were so many, I loved each and every one. Taylor, Miss Texas, was a particular favorite because of her fanatic devotion to the pageant, though she also was my main complaint about the book, since I wanted more of her increasingly bizarre storyline by the end so that it would make more sense. All of the other girls, though, had perfectly wonderful story lines, full of twists and humor and plenty of crazy, even when they took their pageant platforms into preachy territory.
Beauty Queens is an absolutely hilarious, witty, and smart read that is sure to be loved by those who appreciate all things crazy.
Book details: Scholastic/Hardcover/$18.99