Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
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From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like 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
Oh my goodness. I don't even know where to start with this crazy rollercoaster of a book. For fans of Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy - this is 276% different from those books, so don't go in with any expectations. However, if you're read Going Bovine, you'll be slightly more prepared for what to expect. Beauty Queens throws us straight into the aftermath after a plane, carrying a group of girls participating in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant, crashes on a seemingly deserted island. The pilot and camera crew are all dead, as are a few of the girls. Perhaps you're thinking 'oh what a grim way to start the story!' - then maybe you'll think it sadistic of me for laughing within the very first chapter. But with this motley collection of ridiculously awesome and hilarious characters, you're guaranteed to never face a dull moment.
I honestly cannot pick a favourite character. Petra? Adina? Jennifer? Or maybe Miss Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins? Everyone, I think, can find some part of themselves within at least one character and relate to the issues they face. Whether battling with sexuality, craving acceptance or struggling with your identity. Or maybe you can relate to an international terrorist with a fetish for the Sarah Palin-type and a stuffed lemur as his General. Regardless of who you connect with, it's hard not to love all these characters. Even Momo B. ChaCha (aforementioned terrorist. Also harbouring an Elvis obsession.) and Agent Jones (but only after he embraced his inner Man Flower).
I don't really want to delve too deeply into the plot, because I think that it's best enjoyed having all these hilarious scenes and events take you by surprise. But there are evil mastermind plots and Cooperation's dealing in shady business. And let's just say, if I were those girls, I'd never use Lady 'Stache Off again. I think I'd prefer to go the old school route with a razor while the hit song "Let Me Shave Your Legs Tonight, Girl" plays in the background. More peace of mind.
There are quite a few commercials, product placement and footnotes scattered throughout the book which were just as much fun as the rest of the book to read and help highlight the ridiculous exploits of media and cooperation's in our world today. Libba mocks the many pop culture trends that have gripped our society - boybands, the influx of products we see lining our shelves to make us look better and ultimately 'be' better people because hey, isn't beauty EVERYTHING? Who are you if you're not looking your best! Not to mention the obsession people have with reality shows these days and being in the spotlight for the stupidest of reasons.
And I think Libba shows exactly how we judge people without getting to know them. The girls at first seem to be vapid, clueless, pretty young things and you have to wonder how on earth they'll survive on the island. But as we grow to learn more about each beauty queen and their layers were peeled back, we saw each had hidden depths, secrets, desires and insecurities. And as each day passes where they're forced to fend for themselves to ensure survival, we see as each girl reaches her potential and comes into her own. Although upon arrival of the Bodacious teen-rock-star pirates, what did I do? Immediately make judgements of the characters. I apologise, Captain Sinjin St. Sinjin. I thought you were a jackass. But dude, you rock. Though admittedly, you did act like an ass when you first arrived.
I really can't write a proper review to give this book justice. It is freaking hilarious. And there are so many themes presented, so many endearing and utterly hilarious characters and such a brilliantly crafted novel, that it would take me more words than blogger allows to fully give this book the kudos it deserves. Beauty Queens is everything I could ask for all in the one novel. A smattering of romance, evil mastermind plots, girl power, laughs, laughs and more laughs and most importantly: fantastic characters (and yes, many are total stereotypes, but this is the kind of novel where stereotypes WORK).
I want to spend a day inside Libba Bray's head. I don't think I'd want come back to reality. I suppose it depends on your type of humour, as to whether or not you'll enjoy this. This book IS over the top, outlandish, outrageous and ten shades of crazy, but that's what is so uniquely great about it. If you like satires that poke fun at the media and a laugh-out-loud, embrace-your-inner-YOU story, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book. Genius.
Beauty Queens is absolutely FULL of quotable quotes... especially the funny ones. But I'll leave you with one that is so very true. So thank you, Libba Bray, I'm cutting the 'unnecessary' sorrys out of my vocabulary!
"Why do girls always feel like they have to apologize for giving an opinion or taking up space in the world? Have you ever noticed that?" Nicole asked. "You go on websites and some girl leaves a post and if it's longer than three sentences or she's expressing her thoughts about some topic, she usually ends with, 'Sorry for the rant' or 'That may be dumb, but that's what I think."