Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

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 complete 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 eye liner.

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.

Fifty Teen Dream beauty queens crash on an island and have to survive.  That sounds like pure crack!fic, right?  And for awhile, it totally is.  Hilarity abounds on every single page.  Despite the fact that most of their fellow contestants are dead, the Teen Dreamers decide to continue their pageant preparations, perfecting their three-quarter poses and working on their dance routine.  When Miss New Mexico laments having a tray stuck in her forehead, the rest of them assure her that it will make her bangs really stand out.

I laughed out loud at this book more than any other in recent memory.  Bray has a wicked sense of humor that is right up my alley.

But Beauty Queens doesn't settle for just being funny (although the mad dictator and his stuffed monkey General Good Times is absurd and hilarious).  There are some real thought-provoking characters as hidden depths are slowly revealed.  Each of these girls has their own issues to deal with, whether it's the stigma of being a pretty girl, the pressure of being perfect, or struggling with prejudice based on race or sexuality.

In short, this book is fabulous.  I love when books sneak in bits of truth or little messages without making it a Message Book.  Throughout all the issue exploration, Beauty Queens remains laugh out loud hilarious.

And I cannot write a review of this book without mentioning my new favorite pairing:  Petra, Miss Rhode Island with a rather surprising secret, and Sinjin St. Sinjin, a TV pirate who looks bloody gorgeous in heels.  They rock my world.

Five out of five explosive hair products.

Release Date:  May 2011
Reading Level:  Grade 7+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL BRA

Don't believe me?  Check out these reviews of Beauty Queens:

Reading Rants
Frenetic Reader

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