Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (2011)

“What’s your favorite song of theirs?” Tiara asked.
” ‘Let Me Shave Your Legs Tonight, Girl,’ ” Petra blurted out.
“Ohmigosh, I LOVE that one!” Tiara said, clapping. “How about ‘I Only Want to Be with You’ or ‘I Just Need to Be Yours’ or ‘You, You, You’?”
Nicole chimes in. ” ‘I Gave Up My Hobbies So I Could Spend More Time with You.’ ‘I Love You Like a Stalker!’ Or — ooh, I know: ‘Safe Tween Crush’? (p 73)”

beauty_queensEn route to the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant, a plane full of beauty queens crashes on a (supposedly) deserted island. Thirteen contestants survive – clumsily at first – and then thrive, eventually building huts, a water filtration system, and a micosociety.

Admixture, a bunch of rowdy, handsome pirates shipwreck on the island and men in black shirts with guns and explosives kidnap Mary Lou’s boyfriend and threaten the girls.

Beauty Queens is an amagamation, a melting pot. It pokes fun at a slew of issues ad nauseam: reality tv, marketing, education, media, race, ethnicity, bias, sterotyping, sexuality, and of course, beauty. Sometimes Bray delivers (Ladybird Hope’s interview on Barry Rex Live on page 56) and I found myself laughing out loud (“Protect the citadel!” p 71) and sometimes the references were blunt and fell flat.

Sometimes, I felt this was less of a satire and more home-hitting. Take the quote I led off with. Anyone read some of the teen reactions to Stolen by Lucy Christopher? Yeah. Scary.

I don’t doubt it was a fun book to write (possibly contributing to its unnecessary length) but it is only a mildly entertaining read. I agree with Patti @ Opps…Wrong Cookie though – best cover of the year.

Read other reviews/thoughts:
A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy
Books Smugglers
Opps… Wrong Cookie
Tia’s Book Musings

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