Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Libba Bray has an attitude, and she’s not afraid to use it!  I absolutely loved Beauty Queens (Scholastic Press 2011).  If I can resist the urge to sit down and read it all over again, I will head out to the nearest library or books store to pick up more Libba Bray books such as Going Bovine.  I have read a lot of good books this year, but Beauty Queens is near the top.  Reading it reminds me of the time I attended a friend’s debutante ball in North Caroline.  Instead of oohing and ahhing over the lovely girls, my group nearly got kicked out for estimating how many starving children could have been fed for the price of each dress.  Libba Bray skewers the obsession with physical beauty and consumerism with much more wit than we could summon up.

Just imagine.  A plane full of fifty contestants for the Miss Teen  Dream pageant crash on a deserted island–or is it really deserted.  The survivors have a choice to make:  Do they continue practice for the pageant, or do they focus on finding food, water, and shelter for survival?   Will they work on the perfect tan on the beach or run wild through the night?  What secrets will they reveal to each other and to themselves?  What will they do when the sexy but mostly useless pirates show up?

William Golding showed what happens when British school boys are left to their own devices in Lord of the Flies.  It wasn’t pretty, but these girls are all about pretty.  Don’t discount the power of a beauty queen, whether Miss Texas or Miss New Hampshire.

Beauty Queens has a compelling story and strong characters.  These girls are much more than the pretty faces and stock answers they give the judges and audience.  The story is more than just a story.  It comes complete with footnotes. commerial breaks,  reassuring words from the sponsor, and fun facts about each surviving contestant.  Don’t skip over them, either.  They are some of the funniest moments in the whole book.

I can’t wait to share my favorite footnote with my favorite librarians:

50) Really, being a librarian is a much more dangerous job than you realize (Bray 379).

Not only will you laugh throughout this book, you will think, and just maybe, you might look at the world a little differently.

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