Published May 24th 2011 by Scholastic Press
The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.
What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?
Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again. - Goodreads
The cover of this book is so crazy and intriguing, that I couldn't wait to crack this one open. I will admit, I thought it was going to be a bit more light-hearted and funny than it turned out. Not to say that it wasn't down right hilarious in moments, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Libba Bray is an absolutely amazing author. I am now ashamed to say that this was the first book of hers I have read (A Great and Terrible Beauty has now moved up my TBR list). Nothing is safe from Ms. Bray's sharp wit and sarcasm. Beauty Queens is an amazing satire in which a group of teen beauty pageant contestants must find out how to survive on an island without high heels and glitter. But things aren't what they seem. The story mainly focuses on a few of the contestants who all have an interesting back story that led them to compete in Miss Teen Dream. This is a story of not only survival, but finding oneself. The girls learn that it's ok to be what she wants to be and not what the media says they should. Their experience changes they way they (and I) think about growing up in America in the age of mass consumerism and greedy, heartless corporations.
"Maybe girls need and island to find themselves. Maybe they need a place where no one's watching them so they can be who they really are." - pg 177Being a girl (or woman) in this day and age isn't easy, but sacrificing what you really are is not the answer to a happy existence. What makes Beauty Queens so great is that it is not only just a smart, funny, and darn good read, I think it is a great lesson to the teenage girls out there who think that pretty is the epitome of life. The relatable, fresh prose moves the story along at a fast pace and it never failed to keep me interested in what would happen next.
One point I should make; there is quite a bit of violence in this story, and without a better way to explain it, it is presented in a rather blasé fashion. Some people may not appreciate this, but I found it rather unique and seemed to keep with the spirit of the story.