This was a fun read. I’ve heard it described as Lord of the Flies but with teenage beauty queens. But instead of tearing each other to pieces, they work together to overcome the obstacles set before them. Girl power at its finest!
Title – Beauty Queens
Author – Libba Bray
Page count – 390
Goodreads rating – 3/5 (liked it)
**I will NOT give away any major spoilers. Some things may not make sense if you haven’t read it, but I won’t reveal anything important.**
This story begins with a plane crash on what appears to be a deserted island. The plane was full of teenage beauty queens headed to an exotic location for their final pageant, and only some of them survive the crash. They use their varied skills and personalities to deal with the situation. The book is cleverly punctuated with commentary and advertisements by “The Corporation” – a pseudo-capitalism entity that sponsors the beauty pageants.
There were some situations (like the whole MoMo B. ChaCha/General Good Times thing) that felt a bit too hokey and contrived, which is what kept this from getting a 4/5 rating. I can see what the author was trying to do, but some things were just too ridiculous. The diverse representation and social issues commentary (the things I anticipated seeming forced) were done fairly smoothly. It was refreshing to see diversity as just a part of who people are because that’s what life is really like. It’s inaccurate, and frankly kind of boring, to read modern stories with an entire cast that is white and straight.
This passage is from one of the beauty queens who has always followed what people have told her was the “right” way to behave – and until this point, she had always been rewarded for that behavior. A situation crops up in the story where nothing she does will ever be good enough for the people in power, and her thoughts sum up the moral of this story:
“You couldn’t be perfect enough to keep the world from betraying you. There was no way to win this game playing by the rules that had been set up so long ago. No. You had to rewrite them. You had to play your own game.” (p. 204)