Just when I think author Libba Bray cannot outdo herself, she goes and proves me wrong. I thought her Printz-award-winning novel, Going Bovine, was pure genius, and I thought nothing would be able to top it. I was mistaken. Her latest book, Beauty Queens, is absolute perfection, and it hooked me from the very first sentence. This book is kind of Lost meets Miss Teen USA meets James Bond, and the not-so-tongue-in-cheek pop culture references are alarmingly spot on. One of my favorite things while reading this book was trying to figure out who the “real life” people were who matched up with the book’s characters. (More often than not, it wasn’t too difficult.)
A plane full of Miss Teen Dream pageant contestants has crash-landed on a remote island. Not all of them make it out alive. How are these girls to survive without drinking water, without food, without shelter, without moisturizer? Some of the girls are convinced that help is sure to come soon, and they better be ready with their pageant faces on, their talents ready, and their interview answers prepared. Other girls are more worried about actually, you know, surviving in the wild.
As it becomes clear that help will not be coming anytime soon, the girls, while still doing their best to be the next Miss Teen Dream, take matters into their own hands. They build shelter, they hunt for food, they develop an irrigation system, and they learn a little about themselves and each other. In short, they work together and learn that they really can do anything if they put their minds to it. And that includes figuring out just what is happening on this mysterious island…
You see, things are not as they seem on this island. Secrets abound–government conspiracies, corporate espionage, other evil villain type stuff–and the Miss Teen Dream contestants will have to face who they are and who they wish to be if they have any hope of uncovering the truth and escaping the island. Can they become strong women willing to fight for their lives? (Note: This becomes even more complicated when a ship full of hot, wannabe pirates enters the picture. Guys have been known to have an adverse effect on a girl’s brainwaves.)
Join the remaining contestants of the Miss Teen Dream pageant as they discover themselves and what they’re are truly capable of accomplishing. They’re not just pretty faces! Enjoy the beauty, madness, hilarity, and suspense when you read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray!
All too often, when a book is as awesome as this one, I have difficulty putting my thoughts into words, and this time is really no exception. Beauty Queens is a stellar piece of literature that teens and adults will enjoy, and I will be extremely disappointed if this book does not win the Printz award for excellence in young adult literature. This book, while funny, also made me think about the importance we place on beauty in this culture and how beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Bray also represents the LGBT community in her characters, and the book is stronger for their presence. All in all, Beauty Queens is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I hope you feel the same way.
For more information on Libba Bray and her wonderful books, visit http://www.libbabray.com/.