Take Beauty Queens. Never having read anything by Libba Bray before, I took one glance at this cover and dismissed it as not my thing. Something about the headless girl in a bikini just put me off. Without even reading the blurb, I assumed the book would be nothing more than cheesy, rudimentary fluff. Then I saw Audrey's raving review on Holes in my Brain and thought twice about my judgement. Last week I finally read Beauty Queens and discovered just how wrong I was.
Telling the story of a group of teen pageant girls who get stranded on an island after their plane crashes, Beauty Queens is most definitely not cheesy, or even very fluffy for that matter. What it is, is sharp, witty, intelligent, fun, and bloody hilarious. Bray satirises everything from beauty pageants and reality TV to commercialism and sex education - but it's never preachy and always spot-on. She has such a clever way with words that the whole book is totally quotable.
But while the language is awesome and the plot is interesting, it's the characters that really make the book a standout. Initially I was worried about being able to keep track of all the different girls, but each is so well developed that it wasn't a problem at all. They were all strong, distinct, realistic and, suprisingly, even likable - yep, I liked every single beauty queen. And I loved the way they all came together to survive, and used their skills to thrive. They were such great company that I took more time than I needed to read Beauty Queens, because I didn't want to part with them. Now I'm going to hunt down as much Libba Bray as I can get my hands on!
Spoilery Talking Points
- The only problem I had with the book - and it was very minor - was the fact that Petra was so freaked out about her medication at the beginning that she risked her life, but later on the fact that she'd only had a week's worth is totally dropped. Wouldn't her male hormones start emerging after she stopped taking the medication?
- I looooooved the relationship between Petra and Sinjin. They flirted with word play, quoting Dickens. Dickens! To a Dickens nerd like me, it was just about the sexiest exchange ever.
- I was so upset about what happened with the Casanova wannabe pirate and Adina. What a jerk! But then, it was kinda good and definitely more realistic that all the pairings weren't soulmate material. Plus I really liked Adina's personal journey, as well as Mary Lou's - though my absolute fave would have to be Tiara's!
Everyone is pretty in this book, natch. Here are some of the girls (and guys) I pictured...
|Candice Accola as Tiara|
|Blake Lively as Taylor|
|Ed Westwick as Sinjin|
|Kat Dennings as Adina|
|Lauren Conrad as Petra|
|Lucy Hale as Mary Lou|
|Lincoln Lewis as Tane|
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Get It: Book Depository
Speaking of beauty queens, Ashley Tisdale recently did a parody of Toddlers and Tiaras (a show I enjoy way more than I'd care to admit) that could possibly be the best work she's ever done. Hilar!