Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

January 27, 2012

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Released: May 24, 2011
Series: n/a
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardback
Pages: 396
Source: Purchased
Buy it: Book Depository (free shipping) | Amazon

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.

I was a little disappointed with Beauty Queens. I did find it amusing and witty throughout most of the book, and I had a few giggles. But aside from the clever humour and the way it was written and composed, I felt it a little lacking.
I did like the book though, but the plot and characters made it difficult to get through. This book took me two months to read. TWO! And by the end of it, reading this book became very difficult.

The plot was very interesting and unique, but I didn't like its portrayal. The story line was very silly, and at some times I found this to be a little too much. Sometimes it seemed to come across a little immature and cheesy and I wish it would have been a little more serious at times. It did address some serious and controversial issues, so the light-hearted nature of the book worked both for and against these parts of the story. On one hand, it resulted in a lighter tone and didn't make a big deal out of these issues, but at the same time is kind of poked fun at them. I understand that this wasn't intentional or anything, and I liked how the book didn't take a serious turn when these elements popped up, but I wouldn't be surprised if some people found it a little offensive.

It was just a little too out there for my taste. With books, I like them to be believable. Paranormal and fantasy books are 'out there' and non realistic, but the way that the world is built and the characters within the setting need to be realistic in order for the story to come across as feasible. In Beauty Queens, everything was just too bizarre and crazy for me to believe that this would or could ever happen.

The characters just didn't work for me. They started off as your stereo-typical beauty queens, but as the story progresses, their underlying personalities are unveiled. They had their own unique quirks and characteristics, with some of the prominent personalities clashing. Aside from this though, there was just something lacking. There wasn't enough room for character development and I am guessing that this may have been a result of the mass of characters the story followed. It jumped from one beauty queen to the next continuously, so you didn't get to see much growth in any of them - maybe with the exception of one or two.

I would like to end this on a more positive note, however, because I feel that although this wasn't my cup of tea, I know that some people really enjoyed this book and so might you. I did love the dialogue between the characters. I thought it was well written and very clever. The format of the book as well was very unique and I really liked it - funny commercial breaks, witty footnotes scattered throughout the book. These elements definitely made the book more interesting.


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