Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Scholastic Press (an imprint of Scholastic Inc.)
Release Date: May 24, 2011
* Picked up at ALA Midwinter.
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.
It'll take a lot more than pageant skills for our beauty queens to survive on the deserted island that they crashed on. And yes, I just gave you a summary in a sentence. In Beauty Queens, our girls will face pirates, a dictator, snakes, and exploding jars of 'Stache Off; but more importantly, they'll learn to accept themselves for who they are--and as such, will also learn to accept one another. Seriously though, I'm afraid that this is going to be a short review simply because if I get into characters, I'd be giving away bits of what makes Beauty Queens so much fun to read. I really did adore Shanti though--and not just because she's Miss California. She starts off as a highly competitive person, someone who definitely does not intend to make friends and well, like all of the girls, she'll change for the better. I also adored Petra, but I'm afraid that anything that I say about her would indeed fall under the category of "spoiler." If you've read Beauty Queens then you know what I mean. Wait, maybe I shouldn't say that they all change for the better, because that's not exactly true--although they're definitely happier than they were at the beginning of Beauty Queens.
There's drama, romance, and adventure in Beauty Queens as it's much more than just being stuck on the island and well, yes, it's a satire. I had to laugh when I read the bit about a certain song called "Let Me Shave Your Legs Tonight, Girl." Yes, it's funny at times too--also, I think they'd win for "most unique way to catch and remove scales from fish." To say the least, it's highly inventive.
There is no single narrator for Beauty Queens as it's written in third person and jumps from girl to girl. There's also some "commercial breaks" and chapters that are "classified" due to the information/location/plans being hatched within them. Beauty Queens hits on a ton of issues that teenaged girls can face when it comes to looks, sexuality, etc. and because of that, I would highly recommend this. If there was one thing that I thought you should take away from reading Beauty Queens, it would be to embrace yourself--at least, that's what I took away from it.
Overall Rating: ★★★★★