Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beauty Queens- Review

Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Goodreads 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.

My thoughts:

Don't mess with Texas is right!! Especially Miss Texas from Miss Teen Dream!

I was prepared to hate this book - I mean, beauty queens, really? And the prologue didn't grab me, I in fact seriously disliked it. Other than at times being a little over the top and heavy on the satire of modern pop culture, I loved this book. I got past the prologue, and into the actual plot of the book, and couldn't stop reading about these girls!

There was a part in A Great and Terrible Beauty that stuck with me - at one point the girls look around at each other, and are like, (paraphrasing here) we are only told to be stuck in this victorian vision of womanhood because they fear us, fear our power as women. In Beauty Queens, Bray takes this concept and develops it fully. These shipwrecked beauty queens evolve, become self-actualized, strong, and throw off the constricts society has imposed upon them! So what if they want to a wild girl, a lesbian, a transgender - they are going to be themselves, and not let the world tell them how to act and who to be.

Besides the feminist themes, this book is actually pretty funny. Some lines made me laugh out loud, which is always embarrassing if you are reading this book somewhere public, like say, your neighborhood coffee house. It is an entirely quotable book, but this was one of my favorites:

"Occasionally, from the school bus windows, she would see other wild girls on the edges of the cornfields, running without shoes, hair unkempt. Their short skirts rode up, flashing warning lights of flesh: backs of knees, the curve of a calf, a smooth plain of thigh. Sometimes it was just a girl waiting for a bus, but in her eyes Mary Lou recognized the feral quality. That was a girl who wanted to race trains under the moon, a girl who liked the feel of a silk stockings against her skin, the whisper promise of a boy's neck under her lips, who did not want to wait for life to choose her, but wished to do the choosing herself. "

This book was funny, snarky, satirical, but at the same time addressed so many different issues that young girls today face. This is a great read, and I totally recommend it.

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