Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Pages: 400
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: June 1st, 2011
IBSN: 9781742377070

Teen beauty queens. A lost island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email.

And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness.

Oh, the horror, the horror!

Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

A plane full of teen beauty pageant contestants crashes on a desert island and leaves the girls to their own devices to survive. Hilarity ensues.

The premise is an instant hook, exciting and utterly unique to anything else out there. The background information about the setting given between chapters through Corporation commercials and television interviews helped set the superficial and almost-misogynistic tone of the Beauty Queens world.

Beauty Queens was an excellent satire of pop culture. It went over-the-top and to ridiculous extremes, exploiting stereotypes. And it was entirely hilarious. Really, what else do you expect from Libba?

It was written from third-person omniscient perspective in fluid prose, the narrator touching on different characters in varying degrees. While it took me a bit to get used to the characters and understand them, because of this narration, I did grow to love them all.

Most of the characters were the vapid, ditsy beauty pageant contestants that you'd expect, but slowly we found out more about their pasts and their real dreams and ambitions. They grew into independent and strong young women, their character arcs interesting to watch.

I give Beauty Queens a 5 out of 5. I recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read with a strong underlying message.