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Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. YA Bray. “When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious is- land, they struggle to survive, to get. About the book: Beauty Queens book. Author: Libba Bray. Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Reprint edition. Publish date: (June 1, ). Editorial Reviews. nonritemawed.tk Review. From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray comes the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that.
And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.
Both of us love Lost. Ergo, when we heard that Libba Bray would be writing a book that would blend one of our favorite television shows in a satirical cocktail of consumerism, Lord of the Flies, and pageant princesses, we were HOOKED. Unfortunately, for the both of us, Beauty Queens could not deliver. Armed only with their sashes, evening gowns and stilettos, the would-be Miss Teen Dreamers must survive the clutches of giant snakes, bad dudes with big guns, an Evil Dictator, corporate espionage, pirates, and, of course, each other.
Unfortunately, I found Beauty Queens to be a painful and pointless endeavor, with all the significance and longevity of a spray-on faux tan. The way I see it, satire is meant to be bitingly funny but subversive, inviting readers to laugh but also challenging them to think about the subject matter at hand.
Beauty Queens is neither witty nor subversive. Instead, Ms. Consumerism is bad! Reality TV is rotting our brains! Beauty Pageants are misogynistic and shallow! Rather than satirical, Beauty Queens reads like a bad parody — call it the difference between an hilariously cutting romp, like Team America, and a slapstickish, mawkish puddle of drivel, like Dance Movie or Meet the Spartans.
Praytell, where is the satirical wit in portraying a group of beauty queens as incessantly vapid, bleached, tanned, and toned bimbos including one who happens to be named Tiara? In naming a boyband singer J. Woodland Justin Timberlake, get it?! There is nothing really clever, insightful, or even funny beyond the cheap laughs about Beauty Queens.
Instead of a scathingly witty Stewart or Colbert-ish skewering of society, Beauty Queens is obvious, capricious and preachy.
While I agree with the concepts and key ideals that Ms. Bray asserts in this book as, I assume, would anyone with a basic education , the execution of these ideas was sorely wanting. Also — why is it that beauty contestants or cheerleaders, or models, or whatever are always portrayed in this same derisive way?
Chalk this one up to a big, fat, disappointing fail.
The aim might have been satire, but I believe Beauty Queens misses the target completely. As far as I understand the style, satire is supposed to intelligently ridicule outrageous human behaviour by allowing readers to reach their own conclusions.
However, the author basically masticates every single point she makes in the novel and the reader has to do no thinking whatsoever because all the ideas are presented on a silver platter.
Sure, it's all a little contrived, but still it's a great jumping off point. Instead of doing anything worthwhile with it, Bray took that idea and made it into a Very Special Episode of The Facts of Life, except way more condescending and a ba-zillion times more preachier--it's not like the main message Bray is pummeling her audience with is new.
Girlfriend is preaching to the choir the entire time. And at no point does this book challenge one to think. Beauty Queens thinks for you, because thinking is hard, y'all.
You wanna sell me on something? Give me a chance to think for myself. Show me both sides of the argument. Present me with questions that don't necessarily have an easy answer.
Let me draw my own conclusions. Don't incessantly beat me upside my head with your answers, your way of thinking. See, when that happens I tend to lose interest in what you have to say--even if I happen to agree with you--because you clearly think you're superior, that I'm not intelligent enough to come to the right read: your conclusion. And don't even think of telling me that some teenage girls need a book to do their thinking for them, that they need to be force fed the messages contained within Beauty Queens because their parents, their peers, the media has damaged them, tricked them into thinking otherwise.
Even if that is the case with some teenage girls, I fail to see how shoving a message down their collective throats--be it negative or positive--is the way to go about building up self esteem, or fixing identity issues. Moving on I don't fault Libba Bray for wanting to make this book funny, because Beauty Queens would have bombed royally had it taken itself too seriously. But like I said earlier, she took the satire, the tongue-in-cheekiness, way too far. Beauty Queens is obnoxious.
Beauty Queens is that know-it-all girl that you sort of want to punch in the face because she isn't as clever as she thinks she is; someone ought to bring her down a few notches. Anyway, because of Bray's lack of control every character has been reduced to a cardboard cut-out of a stereotype. Beauty Queens has two really stupid blondes from the south, a really slutty girl from the midwest, a super sexually repressed girl from the upper-midwest, two minorities, a crazy pageant-head from Texas, A stereotypical lesbian, and a girl who is hearing impaired.
Even Ms New Hampshire--whom, might I add, is this story's Marysue--is feminist to a fault, goes around feeling superior to the other girls on the island because she's "enlightened" and they're just a bunch of "stupid fools".
There were a few others who had even less going for them. Ms New Mexico, for example, had a tray table embedded in her skull. That was her only defining quality throughout the entire book.
I kid you not. She's probably the only reason anyone should read this book.
The rest of the ladies? Were really irritating and irrational and totally rubbed me the wrong way--go figure. You know how every chick flick has at least one painfully ridiculous cringe-worthy scene? The sort of scene that makes you wonder how stupid Hollywood thinks women are.
The sort of scene that makes you vow to never see another chick flick again, like that random musical number with synchronized dance moves in My Best Friend's Wedding.
Or the 'Bend and Snap' scene from Legally Blonde. Or the entire length of the movie Mama Mia? Yeah, this book has that. It ENDS with one of those scenes. Read this book or not. It's totally up to you. I didn't like it, clearly, but I'm not pleased with a lot of books these days. Like, especially their bodies are super beautiful, and the MC can't shut up about how physically beautiful her love interest is.
How come female MCs don't fall in love with guys who have great personalities but are lacking in the looks department? Why can't it just be about a meeting of minds? Especially when we go around telling ourselves that looks shouldn't matter, to anyone especially men. Isn't that more than a little hypocritical?
Oh, yeah, I forgot. No one wants to read about ugly people falling in love.