I have heard so many great things about Libba Bray; however, I've never read one of her novels... until now. I recently read her latest young adult book BEAUTY QUEENS, and I have to say that I found it very entertaining to say the least. I can definitely see why Ms. Bray has become so popular among teen readers.
The premise behind BEAUTY QUEENS is pretty outrageous -- and very funny! A plane teen beauty pageant contestants makes a crash landing on a deserted island. None of the "adults" survive the crash and many of the pageant contestants are goners too. The teen girls who make it are forced to use their skills to stay alive, and their true colors -- both the good and the bad -- definitely shine through.
I hesitate to tell much more about the plot because I do think readers should have the same opportunity as I did to experience this novel without spoilers. I was continually caught off guard by the absurdity of the situation as well as the girls' reactions to pretty much everything, and I found myself laughing (a lot) while reading BEAUTY QUEENS. This book was just plain crazy and a lot of fun. It was full of beauty queen (and overall teen) stereotypes, acerbic social commentary, and very smart satire; and I have a feeling that I was shaking my head a great deal while reading it.
BEAUTY QUEENS is a crazy ride, full of memorable characters; and I did enjoy it a great deal. I won't go so far as to say I loved it, but I definitely appreciated it. One thing that I did like was how much the characters grew by the end of the novel. Because they were stranded on a deserted island, the girls were forced to spend a lot of time with each other.. and themselves. All the pageantry competition fell by the wayside as the girls realized that they needed to work together as a team. In addition, all of the girls realized something valuable about themselves, whether it be to follow their own dreams, how to stand up to their parents or even something about their sexual orientation. Some readers might say that the ending was too predictable or that it was wrapped up too neatly, but I liked the overall messages.
As a grown woman, I thought BEAUTY QUEENS was a fun read. I should probably put on my mom hat, though, and tell you that it is not a book that my tween daughter will be reading any time soon. I'm pretty sure that the wit and astute social commentary would be lost on her anyway. But that's all beside the point. BEAUTY QUEENS had some very interesting teenage behavior that she's not ready to process. For example, there was teenage drinking, teenage sex (although they did use protection), foul language, gay and transgender characters, and more. It's definitely a book for a more mature young adult audience.
BEAUTY QUEENS is certainly a unique book and unlike anything I've ever read. If you are looking for a smart and funny novel about beauty queens, then I definitely recommend it!
Thanks to Big Honcho Media for sending me a copy of this novel.
Giveaway alert: I have two copies of BEAUTY QUEENS to share with two lucky readers. To enter, just fill out the form below before June 10th at 11:59 p.m. ET. I will randomly select and notify the winners the following day. The contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!
This Is Teen to connect readers with their favorite YA authors and books. Visit their page on Facebook for all the latest news on Libba Bray and her new book Beauty Queens: www.facebook.com/thisisteen.
And here's another terrific contest with a fantastic prize....
Ladies and gentlemen, we want to know WHAT MAKES YOU A BEAUTY QUEEN?
Being a Beauty Queen like the ones in Libba Bray's new novel means being true to
yourself and who you want to be. Tell us in 500 words or less what makes
you a Beauty Queen, and you could win a $250 Amex Gift Card to use toward
whatever makes you feel most awesome. Or you could opt for a $250 gift card
to Sephora. Whatever you choose, we will also send you a signed copy of the
book and your very own tiara!
To enter go to http://www.thisisteen.com/
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal US residents ages 13 to 18. Deadline to enter 5pm EST on July 1, 2011. Void where prohibited. For complete details and official rules go to www.ThisIsTeen.com
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