Beauty Queens

Author: Libba Bray
Pages: 390
Pub: Scholastic, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Satire, Science Fiction?

The Short of It

Lost meets Ms. Congeniality with pirates?!

The Long of It

The Teen Miss Dream contestants are in dire straits.  Their plane crashed on what appears to be a deserted island.  Only a handful survive and they must pull their skills together if they hope to stay alive long enough for The Corporation (sponsor of Teen Miss Dream and just about everything else in the good ole U. S. of A.) to rescue them.  Unfortunately, there is a wee bit of power and manipulation going on behind the scenes of The Corporation and the individual who Teen Dreamers admire the most might just be behind it all. 

The Thoughts about It

I knew that I had to get my hands on this book after I first heard about it.  I mean, COME ON!  Libba Bray?  Beauty pageants? Pirates? Reality television?  What’s not to love, right?  This book was pretty much on top of its game and I have very little complaints.  The snark and wit of it seriously had me LOL-ing every few pages.  Holy chuckles, batman!

So of course it has the whole snark of reality television and corporate America™ and let’s kick up the feminism..BUT it also touches base on bi-curiousity and trans love.  Libba nailed both topics and was all this is humanity ya’ll; IN YOUR FACE.  And can I just tell you that male/trans-female dating is HAWT.  Wish there was more of it. 

And there are Pirates!  Sure, sure, they’re reality television pirates, but they still come on a huge ship and drink rum and in my head they say ARRR after each sentence. 

The beauty contestants were well diverse.  Bray had a wonderful foundation to pull in issues of race and handicaps.  It’s pretty obvs that in most pageants they have the token black contestant, Hispanic, Asian, and so forth, but it’s still very much white dominant.  In the beginning when the girls still think that they’ll get rescued in a few hours and continue to practice their routines (um, yeah, really…) the girls are sizing each other up.  More tension is illuminated between the two non-white girls: you know it’s only gonna be one of us in the top five; YOU’RE my competition.  I love how she says things that are probably only thought quietly.

Also I have to say my favorite character was actually the Teen Dream contestant who was the most rah-rah-rah-I-love-Teen-Dream, Taylor.  Also known as Ms. Texas.  She was HYSTERICAL and even though quite a bit over the top in her C’mon Ms. Teen Dreamers, don’t give up now.  We must exfoliate our skin., she was a natural born leader and showed the most umph. 

Beauty Queens isn’t perfect though.  There were some tiny annoyances.  Like, first, there were a handful (okay, more than a handful) of footnotes that broke the flow of my reading.  And don’t get me wrong, I loved what the footnote said, but they grew to be a trip in the mental flow.  Also, the satire was obvious.  You didn’t have to be a detective to figure out the hidden message AT ALL.  *shrug* But I figure it’s pretty brilliant since it’s not marketing itself as a philosophy book, y’know. 

All in all, I love this book.  It didn’t let me down.  And Libba, you’re definitely in my top five of author crushes! *swoon*


  1. You make it sound fabulous. Although your short version of the story did make me laugh.

  2. You crack me up! :)

    I've been eying this one in stores, but I kept thinking it looked silly, but I've read the Gemma Doyle trilogy (LOVED IT), so I should probably just go get a copy. :)

  3. I have been wanting to get my hands on this one since it came out, but footnotes? Really?

  4. Awesome review-- I'm SO excited to read this one now! I actually pre-ordered the book, but Amazon *still* hasn't delivered it. Love Libba Bray and Going Bovine, so this one is going to be great!

    Charmaine Smith (For more on Premier All-Inclusive Sitka Alaska Fishing Charters - click here)


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