Libba Bray brings her signature quirky style to this bizarre new venture and the result is certainly one-of-a-kind. Beauty Queens uses extreme satire to take on a laundry list of hot button topics and is not at all subtle about the many issues it addresses, yet it's hard to divine the message behind the madness. Though I frequently agreed with Bray's apparent point, at other times it seemed that the novel undermined its own meaning. The characters are all caricatures, but as the story progresses readers will discover surprising depths to the girls' psychologies. However, at times, they still come across as stereotypes: it is the lesbian who is a mechanic, the immigrant and African American girls who must band together against their Caucasian competitors, the feminist fatale who is cold and unapproachable. Though the novel tries to advocate universal acceptance and camaraderie, it simultaneously employs divisive stereotypes that don't seem to hold the same satiric edge as the rest of the book.
Aside from these frustrations, however, Beauty Queens is entertaining in its sheer absurdity. Though the girls start off as air-headed divas, once their survival instincts kick in, they become innovative and resourceful powerhouses. Readers may be surprised to find these pageant prima donnas relatable, but the secret crosses they bear hold something for everyone. Their stories are crafted with lush descriptions and smart allusions to literary and popular culture, and the formatting of the book is unusual but apt, featuring product placement footnotes and commercial breaks that immerse the reader in this extreme consumer culture. There is chaos and soul-searching, insanity and battle cries. Bray blends Miss Congeniality with Lord of the Flies to create a entertaining, original parody of our ludicrous, modern reality show society.
Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this novel from the publicist. This did not affect my review in any way.
Click here to purchase Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
Thanks to Scholastic, TWO (2) winners will receive a copy of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray!
- You MUST leave a comment on this post (with your email address!) answering the following question:
What would be your talent in a beauty pageant?
- +1 for sharing this giveaway (via Twitter, Facebook, etc -- must leave a direct link in your comment)
- US Only -- prize will be shipped from the publisher
- Ends 6/8/11 at 11:59 pm EST
- Two winners will be chosen via Random.org
- Please review my giveaway policy
This is Teen Contest
Scholastic has launched a new online community called This Is Teen to connect readers with their favorite YA authors and books. Visit their page on Facebook for all the latest news on Libba Bray and her new book Beauty Queens: www.facebook.com/thisisteen.
Ladies and gentlemen, we want to know WHAT MAKES YOU A BEAUTY QUEEN? Being a Beauty Queen like the ones in Libba Bray's new novel means being true to yourself and who you want to be. Tell us in 500 words or less what makes you a Beauty Queen, and you could win a $250 Amex Gift Card to use toward whatever makes you feel most awesome. Or you could opt for a $250 gift card to Sephora. Whatever you choose, we will also send you a signed copy of the book and your very own tiara!
To enter go to http://www.thisisteen.com/Contest.htm
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal US residents ages 13 to 18. Deadline to enter 5pm EST on July 1, 2011. Void where prohibited. For complete details and official rules go to www.ThisIsTeen.com