Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens
Libba Bray
2011; Scholastic; ISBN 978-0-439-89597-2 (hardcover)

Summary:  A plane full of teenage beauty pageant contestants crash-lands on a desert island.(1)   The chances that they'd be able to survive seem slim.(2)  But survive they do--and what's more, these girls start to question so many of the things they never doubted before.(3)   Not only will this year's Miss Teen Dream pageant be the highest-rated ever(4), it will help bring down a candidate for president(5), expose an illegal arms deal(6), and change the lives of the contestants.(7)

(1) Yes, some of the girls pass away--or rather, are sent on to compete in a higher pageant.  Including Miss Delaware, much to my chagrin as a native Delawarean.  But at least she got mentioned, unlike poor Miss Maryland.  
(2)  There is a six percent survival rate for teenage beauty queens who crash-land on a desert island.  This statistic brought to you by the U.S. Department of Unnecessary Statistics.
(3)  The Corporation is not in favor of self-reflection.  Maybe you should watch Patriot Daughters to see how a really brave girl should act.  
(4)  The Miss Teen Dream pageant, even with only thirteen contestants, saw a large ratings increase.  This was thanks in part to contestants from California and Texas being part of the Top Thirteen.  
(5) The Corporation disavows the actions of Ladybird Hope, former Miss Teen Dream and Corporation board member.  The Corporation cannot be held liable for any machinations, plots, or agreements made by Ladybird Hope.
(6) Learn more about dictator MoMo B. ChaCha's plans to destroy America, starting with taking our Elvis memorabilia, in the hard-hitting special The Republic of ChaCha: An Evil Socialist Evil!  Premiering next Thursday at 1:30pm EST, followed by a new episode of the popular daytime drama, As The B-Clean Bubbles Burst.
(7) Really, even with all the dying and the politics, the story has a happy ending.  Even for the gay and transgendered characters!  It's unknown how the author slipped that past the Corporation's censorsh--we mean, it's a daring literary choice.

The newest novel from Libba Bray is full of the same wit and social commentary as her Printz Award-winning novel Going Bovine.  In Beauty Queens, Bray takes aim at society's messages towards young women, going to an extreme that would be appreciated by Jonathan Swift.  As the characters explore the boundaries that society has placed on them, they learn that there's no reason to stay within those limits.  Readers will be caught up in each of the contestants' stories, whether it's Wild Girl Mary Lou, crusading journalist Adina, or ultimate pageant queen Taylor.  More than just a grown-up version of Toddlers & Tiaras, Beauty Queens uses black comedy to question what a girl can achieve.

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Fourth Musketeer said...

I just ordered an ARC of this from Amazon Vine. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Melissa Rabey said...

I hope you enjoy Beauty Queens, Fourth Musketeer! I really enjoyed it.