Monday, May 23, 2011

ARC Review: Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, May 24, 2011. 400 pages. Published by Scholastic Press. Source: Won.
From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.
First Sentence (ARC edition):
This book begins with a plane crash.
This is the hardest review I've had to write in awhile. Why, because Beauty Queens (in my book) was a total miss by an amazing author. I wanted to love it, but found myself unable to.
Don't get me wrong, I love Libba Bray's writing (especially the Gemma Doyle series), but I had so many problems with her latest book that I very nearly didn't get past page 50. Now that you know what your in for in this review, I'll try to be as precise (yet nice) as possible on what I didn't like about Beauty Queens.

I think part of the reason I had trouble getting into Beauty Queens was that I CANNOT stand pageant people, reality TV, and many other things that popped up in the novel.
The reason I almost didn't get past the fiftieth pages was that the mystery aspect to the story presented no challenge to me; it was (at least to me) very obvious who was behind everything and basically how the story would play out.

Beauty Queens is told from the perspective of many narrators, from some of the beauty queens, a former beauty queen, with snatches from and about the Corporation. While it was interesting to see the story from so many points of view, the characters lacked personality (they all come off as huge cliches to me).
   While I didn't care for the characters, I am surprised (with myself that is) that I liked Taylor the most out of all the girls. I felt that she was by far the most interesting/complicated of all the beauty queens. She made me laugh with how gung-ho on pageants she was, and even when she went a bit mental I still enjoyed when she popped up.

Why did I stick with this book and complete it, well that would be because I enjoyed seeing how the girls proved to themselves that they were capable of surviving on their own and that they could do/be whatever they wanted.

So, here's what really got under my skin while reading. I know that Beauty Queens is supposed to be a satire, but I felt like Ms. Bray used way too many stereotypical cliches when she created the characters (if I listed all of them, we would be here for an eternity).

Final Verdict: Beauty Queens was not for me, even though the writing was brilliant the story and characters made me unable to be pulled into the world that was created. While it may not have been for me, I am in no way discouraging you from trying it for yourself.

Beauty Queens earns 2 1/2 pineapples.


All views expressed in the review are mine.

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