Friday, July 15, 2011

Beauty Queens

Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Bray

Printz Award winner Libba Bray, begins her latest novel, Beauty Queens, with the dramatic plane crash of an entire plane full of Miss Teen Dream contestants. Those who survive find themselves on a deserted island with no adults or food and worst of all, no beauty products! Led by Miss Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins from Texas, the girls focus on staying pageant-ready by practicing their dance routines and relishing all that weight they are losing. But the island is not entirely uninhabited and these Miss Teen Dreamers are in more danger than they ever imagined. As despair and hunger set in, the girls begin to drop their fake personalities and all that competition to band together and survive in style, learning about themselves in the process. Will the Miss Teen Dreamers make it off the island to write a tell-all book about their experiences? Will they fall for some hot, reality-show pirates? Will they break a nail in the process?

I am a huge Libba Bray fan and have adored her other novels, so I was fairly confident I would feel the same about Beauty Queens. From Bray’s snarky humor to the “commercials” for various beauty products like “Lady Stache Off” and reality shows like “Captain Bodacious IV: Badder and More Bodaciouser,” that appear between chapters, this book was a lot of fun from start to finish. I really did not think I would get attached to any of the characters since they are all beauty pageant contestants but Bray deftly reveals their real personalities and the various reasons they got into pageants. I have to say, I loved all the characters in the end, even the super ditzy one. If I were on a deserted island, I would definitely want Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins on my side; maybe she could teach me to break the bad guy’s necks.

One of my favorite things about this novel is Bray’s message that you don’t need Lady Stache Off, eye creams, wrinkle-remover creams, tanning creams, bleaching creams, breast implants, breast reduction, butt implants, lipo, botox or anything designed to make all girls look like cookie-cutter, carbon copies of each other. It’s good to be different. So when our society tries to put you in a box and make you conform to our social mores or our narrow standard of beauty, be confident and live the life you want. I am thrilled that Bray delivered her message in this hilarious, exciting romp with some amazing beauty queens. Oh, and she does throw in some hot pirates!

The Bottom Line: Beauty Queens is just amazing! Libba Bray does a great job of delivering a hilarious story and great characters while simultaneously slamming our image-obsessed, reality show culture. This is a book that makes you proud to be a girl, no matter your age, and I highly recommend it.

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