Book Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

I’ve said multiple times that this book is so funny and amazing that I don’t even know where to start, buuuut I’m going to try. Wish me luck :-) .

How Excited Was I to Read This Book?:  9. Mary highly recommended it to me but I was nervous because I hadn’t gotten past the beginning of Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty.

How Excited Was I When I Finished This Book?: 10! As always, listening to my sister paid off! Loved it!!!

Book Jacket:

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.

Review: Ok, from the number of times my sister and I have recommended this book, I pretty sure it’s clear that we both really liked it. I laughed hysterically throughout it. But it’s not just funny. Impressively, it also makes you think, especially about society and its notion of beauty. I don’t know how Libba Bray did it, but major kudos to her! It reminded me a bit of a book I read sophomore year of high school White Noise by Don DeLillo as kind of a critique on society, but Bray does it in a much more entertaining fashion. I kind of had the same “oh shit, this sort of isn’t that off a description of society” moment with both books though. I loved the “commercials” and the footnotes describing products that were interspersed through the narrative. The products might have different names, but the real world products being satirized are pretty easy to recognize, and Bray’s take on them is hilarious. I love the show that almost replaced the Miss Teen Dream pageant, Girls Gone Rumspringa, about Amish girls who share a house with strippers. I haven’t heard of this show yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me much if it did suddenly appear in the fall lineup of shows. Scary thought! Also, “DiscomfortWear” aka Spanx and so many more.

I also have to say that I was impressed with the stranded beauty queens. I loved how Bray manages to make them clueless and really intelligent at the same time. Their priorities are screwy (they keep practicing for the beauty pageant after the plane crash), but I would have no idea how to make the things they did to survive on the island. Bray does a great job of making all the beauty contestants sympathetic. And major props for including a transgender beauty contestant. I don’t want to give too much away though…

Sexual Tension Factor: Surprisingly much for a book about beauty contestants stranded on an island and not just when the pirates show up.

Re-Readability: Pretty high. I laugh every time :-) .

Recommended For: Anyone who wants to laugh a lot and maybe think a bit too. The thinking is optional though.

If You Liked This Book You Should Also Check Out: I’m leaning towards The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks by E. Lockhart. I like how clever both of these books are :-) .