Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Length: 390 pages
A plane full of beauty queens crashes on a deserted island. Seems simple enough. But is the island really deserted? Is each beauty queen really who she says she is? Where do the hot pirates who land on the island halfway through the book come from? Which is more important: working on your perfect pageant answers or building a hut for survival? Nothing is as it seems, and beauty takes on a whole new slew of meanings in this book.
The book is presented as if it were a propaganda television show, presented by The Corporation, an American company that does it all, from selling hair remover to sponsoring the Miss Teen Dream Pageant. Hilarious footnotes and commercial breaks throughout the book tote the benefits of all of The Corporation’s best products, which are all the most ridiculous things ever, yet eerily similar to many of the absurd things sold today. (Example: “Feast for the Fishermen, the ultimate emo band. Said to be sold with a complimentary prescription for antidepressants and a free flatiron.”) The book has some things to say about our present consumer culture and feminism as well, but all in rather funny ways.
This book was enjoyable, and funny, and absurd, but it was also a lot to wade through at points. So many products thrown at the reader, and so many different characters to follow, all with their own life-defining story-arcs (although to be honest, quite like a tv show in these aspects). Also, quite the diverse cast for a group of beauty pageant contestants. Okay, I shouldn’t really be complaining about the unrealistic-ness of the book, but with all the characters coming to slowly accept themselves for who they are, it felt a little preachy/cliche sometimes. Just a little too teen special for my tastes, but I did like that just about anyone could read this book and find someone they related to. Plus, who doesn’t like hot pirates?