Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray (2011)

Genre: Contemporary
Interest Level: 14-17
Beauty QueensI had such high hopes for this one! I loved Libba Bray’s Printz winner, Going Bovine, and was really looking forward to this novel about a bunch of stranded beauty queen contestants on an island, surviving after their plane crashes. Lord of the Flies meets Lost, right? Well, perhaps my standards for satire are too high. This novel annoys and never delights – the contestants are ridiculously obsessed, the narrative is regularly interrupted with text for commercial breaks (Breast in Show – all your beauty upgrades repairs in one place) and footnotes explain that Captains Bodacious is simply the hottest new reality show around, complete with pirates and bare chests! Toss in a checklist of politically correct characters (one black, one brown, one gay, one transgendered, one feminist) and I found myself growing more and more irritated. I know Bray is making a point, but skewering works best with a very sharp pencil, not a sledgehammer. There was potential here, but I’ll never know if she managed it. I gave up at the halfway mark – I really gave it a good try. I will note most other reviewers seem to find it much more appealing than I did. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11477878–beauty-queens

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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