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Beauty Queen

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Overview

I felt the prick of the needle, but only for a second, because this great rush of warmth quickly followed, encompassing my whole body from my toes right up to the top hair on my head. I couldn't move for a minute as she guided the needle in and out of my vein. When she was done, I felt like I had entered heaven. I looked in the mirror and felt beautiful and confident. I felt this great peace, at last, a warmth, and I knew that everything was going to be okay--and really always had been. Like time had stopped and ...
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Overview

I felt the prick of the needle, but only for a second, because this great rush of warmth quickly followed, encompassing my whole body from my toes right up to the top hair on my head. I couldn't move for a minute as she guided the needle in and out of my vein. When she was done, I felt like I had entered heaven. I looked in the mirror and felt beautiful and confident. I felt this great peace, at last, a warmth, and I knew that everything was going to be okay--and really always had been. Like time had stopped and I was floating on a cloud.
"Writing the book, I saw my old dope dealer and bought $1,500 worth of pure heroin--Brown Gold--and started shooting up ten times a day to get the feel of the book. Well, I did, all right. I ended up in Glen Cove General, almost dead. In truth, you make a deal with the Devil. He takes away your pain, but he owns you. You live for the next fix. After a while, it's totally physical; your body has to have it. But I'm off it for good."
-- Linda Glovach

Young Adults' Choices for 2000 (IRA)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reading this diary of a heroine addict is like watching someone fall into an abyss: knowing a crash is inevitable, but wondering how soon and how hard rock bottom will be. The narrator, 19-year-old Samantha Strasbourg, seems doomed from the beginning, living with an alcoholic mother and her mother's abusive boyfriend, and working a dead-end job at a fast-food restaurant. When Sam moves into her own apartment, she appears to be taking a positive step; however, new-found independence breeds a different set of problems, like raising enough money for rent. Sam starts dancing in a topless bar to raise more cash -- and starts using heroin to release her inhibitions on stage. Her downward spiral gains momentum as the drug begins to take over her life. Although "skin popping" makes Sam feel like she is in "heaven," her existence grows increasingly hellish as her health deteriorates and her sense of judgment rapidly declines. Glovach pulls no punches describing the seductive power of heroin ("I felt this great peace, at last, a warmth and I knew that everything was going to be okay") as well as identifying its destructive effects ("I'm always just waiting for the next high and now I use it to do every little thing, and every little thing becomes harder to do"). Unlike the cumulative portrait of the drug's devastation through the layering of perspectives that is found in Smack!, Glovach's guileless first-person narrative has the effect of sucking readers into the tiny world inside Sam's head, where choices are few, and good and evil are indiscernible. The novel (too intense for younger teens) offers a shocking, thoroughly credible glimpse of addiction, which forces readers to draw their own conclusions about Sam's tragic life.
VOYA - Beth E. Andersen
Samantha is nineteen, beautiful, and heading to hell on the heroin mainline. Desperate to escape her home life with her booze-soaked mother, a fading model oblivious to the lecherous intentions of her live-in lover, Sam accepts employment at a topless bar. Sam's courage to strip comes after a chance encounter in the rest room with a seasoned stripper who plunges a used needle into Sam's vein. The result? Instant monstrous addiction. The rest of this tale, a cross between a Go Ask Alice (Prentice-Hall, 1971) for the '90s and the movie Pretty Woman, is depressing in its predictability. Dope, more dope, bad company, false glamour amidst a flood of easy money, loser boyfriend, yet more dope, concerned but passive friends, deteriorating health, deep devotion to her pet, misplaced trust in a fairy-tale ending to a new relationship-Sam relays all in improbable naiveté in her diary, which she addresses as "Dearest." Sam's crash and burn overdose is no surprise. The scramble for more and more drugs and the craving to get lost in the obliterating promise of a pain-free psyche is at the heart of this sad and hopeless tale. Her friends mourn, her mother regrets, and Sam makes a lovely corpse. One's wish for such a novel is that it will save just one reader from choosing this path. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P S (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-At 17, Sam's life with her alcoholic mother and her mother's abusive boyfriend is about to change. She's ditching her minimum-wage job, moving out into her own apartment, and joining the high-paying ranks of the topless dancing set. To drop her top, Sam embraces the courage-inducing, feel-good drug, heroin. Her journal is her trusted confidant and the object of her affection is a diabetic cat. While she injects the cat with insulin twice a day, she seems unable to differentiate between its medical needs and her own growing drug dependency. Sam's life is tragic, but her despondency about trying to right it is worse. There is a smattering of people who care about her and try to get her to straighten up. Unfortunately, she is only interested in a man who's as messed up as she is, and who brings her down faster than her own habit. Written as a diary, this novel has only pain and shallow vision to offer. The fixes that Sam routinely gives herself drag her story into a state of redundancy. An afterword relates her death from an overdose. The real surprise is that readers aren't affected more. Reading Beauty Queen is like watching a film that gets stuck on the movie reels; going nowhere, the image blisters into a stuck mess and everyone just wants to get up and leave.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
Kirkus Reviews
By-the-numbers addiction fiction—as friend Nicole and others look on worriedly, Samantha, 19, breaks away from her alcoholic mother, simultaneously plunges into heroin abuse and earns money as a topless dancer, falls in love with a smooth-talking, thoroughly corrupt police officer, and overdoses while waiting for him to take her away from it all. So specific about heroin use that she even catalogs the brand names on the bags, Sam describes the drug's heady rush and less appealing physiological and emotional effects in a series of journal entries, written with a glibness that conveys her inflated sense of invulnerability better than any expressions of bravado could. It takes less than three months before her dependency reaches the point where she can hardly write a paragraph without pausing for a needle. The story closes with remorseful I-should-have-done- something statements from Angelo, a gangster whose daughter died of an overdose, and Nicole, thus adding bystanders to the intended audience for this cautionary tale. It lacks the wild ups and downs of Go Ask Alice (1971), or the creeping horror of Melvin Burgess's more literary Smack, but contains a heartfelt anti-drug message in the swift downward spiral of a likable main character.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062051615
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 13 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Glovach lives in Sea Cliff, NY.

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Read an Excerpt

Friday, April 11

Dear New Friend,
I will never fall in love again, never, ever! Whyis life so cruel? Why do people like to hurt each other?

Dr. Kohltari (my shrink) asked me to try writing about my feelings, since I hate talking about them, and guess what. I feel like crap. So if you can put up with my tormented, tortured soul, here we go.

Last night was probably the worst night of my entire life. Me and Nicole (my best friend) went into the city to the Hard Rock Cafe on 57th Street to meet my (soon to-be ex-)boyfriend, Theodore Langeford, where he was bartending. I hadn't seen him in about ten months.

We were an "item" all through high school. It was more or less taken for granted by everyone, including myself, that we would eventually get married.

I turned 19 this year, and Teddy turned 19 last December. He's a Sagittarius (the Archer), and I was born in February (Pisces, two opposite fish). He was supposed to go to Cornell to follow a long tradition of the men in his family, but he was floundering around a lot, not sure what direction he wanted to take.

When his aunt died, she left him $15,000. Instead of going to college, he packed his bags and headed for Barbados to follow the waves. He loved to surf and really wanted to be a lifeguard. We spent all our summers through high school surfing West End Two at Jones Beach, where the best waves are and where all the surfing crowd hangs out. He told me it was a toss-up between Barbados and Puerto Rico. Both places had the waves he loved. He chose Barbados. I was thrilled when he came back to New York. I figured we'd pick up where we left off. Then he dropped the BOMB!

Whilehe was in Barbados, he met a woman 15 years older. They started hanging out and she invited him to move into the big house she once shared with her ex-husband, VP of a large record company in L.A.

She also has an old, luxury apartment in Manhattan, in the 70s on Riverside Drive, where Leonard Bernstein, the composer, once lived. Teddy seemed very proud of this fact. He said he was only working at the Hard Rock for "pocket change." Rose, a multimillionairess, took care of everything else. She bought him a brand new Ferrari (his favorite car). It was parked right around the corner from the bar and he wanted to show it to me, but I told him some other time. He apologized for breaking up with me, but said he liked not having to worry about money. HE BROKE MY HEART!

Then he offered me and Nicole one of his"stupendous" peach or banana margaritas, or one of the "famous" mai tais he learned to make in Barbados. It comes in a coconut with seven different shots.

I had ten margaritas! The peach went down so deliciously smooth I didn't even realize how much alcohol was in it.

Now, today, on top of a broken heart, I have a killer hangover. Oops, the phone is ringing

Chow,
Sam

Hi again,
It was Nicole asking how I was feeling. She drove my car home last night and dragged me into the house. I don't remember anything from about the eighth margarita on, but somehow she managed to get me into my nightshirt and into bed. I guess Mom and her boyfriend, Kevin Reed, were passed out.

I was hoping it was Teddy calling to tell me he made a terrible mistake and loved me after all. But who would love me, right? I don't even think I have the brains for college. But it doesn't matter cause I want to be an actress. So does Nicole. I thought I'd be taking acting classes by now, but of course, I haven't doneanything except "dream" about it and continue to work at Chicken & Ribs on the Boulevard. And I will never afford acting classes with the measly $5 an hour I make.

The only thing I'm good at is taking care of my beloved Maine Coon cat, Dinah, who I treat like a royal princess. I love her with my life.

Chow,
Sam

Monday, April 14

Dearest,
I have just returned from my appointment with Dr. K. I usually see him Mondays at 5 and leave work an hour early, my big break from that dive.

When I walked in I didn't see Mom, but who do you think I find in my room, sitting on the edge of my bed, watching my VCR? Reed, of course. He makes me sick!

I didn't have to look at the screen to know it was a porn movie. I totally loathe him! What did he think I was going to do, hop on the bed and join him? He is always coming on to me, pulling my hair and giving me "playful" hugs. He calls me honey and stares at me, like he wants me to notice he's seeing me in a special "horny" way.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2001

    Obsession and Addiction

    This book was definitely worth a look. It follows Sam's harrowing descent into herion addiction, and a dangerous man who plays with her mind and her heart. You see a girl, filled with dreams of becoming an ambitious actress stumble across a degrading job at a night club. If I could, I'd give it 6 stars!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    I love this book!  It is definitely a must read, it is emotional

    I love this book!  It is definitely a must read, it is emotional without being sappy! 

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    Loved it.

    I absolutely loved this book. It gets right to the point after about twenty pages. My only downfall is that it was so short.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    great book so far!

    i've only just started the book but i think it is amazing! very good read. and it was shipped and at my door super fast! i ordered this book the day after christmas and i got it today on the 29t. highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    I've read this book millions of times.

    I originally read this book in 6th or 7th grade, I'm not a junior and have read this book hundreds of times. I don't think I can express how much I truly love this book; I wish I could say I truly relate to the book but I don't. I think what caught my eye was just that she was so dramatic and gave to herself up so many times into temptation. It's a great book for anyone really.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I was inside the mind of the character!

    This book is somewhat short and I didn't know if I wanted to read it at first but the story was amazing. I felt like I was the character. I understood why she did the things she did. I felt the feelings she was feeling. I understood to a certain extent why people use drugs and why they use so much or what is going on but I had no idea until I read the book. It was a good book.

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  • Posted January 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    It really draws you in.

    I like the way that the book is written, I think that it makes it seem like someones real diary. The writter makes you really feel like you know the Main girl in the story. I think that it really shows the strugles that alot of people go through in life. I couldn't put this book down. I think that this is a great book for any young adult to read. I am going to have my friends and family read it as well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 26, 2009

    Story of Drugs

    This book was a bit suprising. I didn't think it would end the way it did, I thought everything would be alright in the end, right? Wrong. It was most definitly not alright. If you have a drug addict friend, especially girls, give this to them and force them to read till the very last page!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2007

    'Lo Bichlal Tov'

    This book was terrible. For one, this girl is weak, and talks like she's in 8th grade. There are no moments to help us feel the more vivid image of this story. Moreover, nothing more than a below-exceptional character development. I do not recommend this book on any standards.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2007

    Recommended

    this book is a very good read to me although i only read the sample it was very good and i would recommend it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2006

    Its awsome

    This is an Amazing book on what the truth is to people with a drug addiction. For once I was able to turn thepage and Actually like a book that to me is based on a Character that is like everyone who is under the Addiction of any type of drug. She shows that its completely hard to quit and is determined to keep doing it even at the cost at her own life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2006

    Very outstanding!!!

    This book is a very gooooooood book. If I could give this book 10 stars i surely will. Thats how much I adore this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2006

    Disappointing...

    Weak plot and central character. Even before Sam started shooting heroin, she spoke like she was 13 rather than 19. For me she seemed very childish. I did like the diary writing style, but it moved very quickly, one minute she's talking about her drunk mother and her sleezy boyfriend, the next she's a stripper and addict. I understand life moves pretty fast, but with books, they need to be descriptive, paint us a better picture. This was one of the weakest books i've ever read about substance abuse.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2006

    What a book!

    WOW! this book was great, it was very knowlageable and spine chilling! i think it teaches a good lesson!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2006

    INTENCE

    This book is very intence. I read it under 1 week. It gets you reading on and on and you can't stop. The way the author explains all of the demonstrations ofdoing heroin is very unbelieveable. It just gives you this shock that you just want to keep on reading to find out what happens next.I would give this book 10 stars if I could. Just go on and buy it. You'll love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2005

    Through The Blood Stream

    Beauty Queen gave me the chills from the back of my neck, through my body and all the way to my finger tips as I turned the page and read subconsciously the paragraphs where she injected heroin into her veins. This amazing story is about a 19 year old girl named Samantha, all she wanted was to live on her own instead of being confined to a house where her step dad was getting to friendly and her mother drinking all day. All she needed to do was get a better job because the fat food restaurant wasn¿t cutting it she wanted to get out of that job. That when her and her best friend decided to go job hut, with little luck they ended up in a topless bar. There were two job openings a bartender and a dancer. Her friend got the bartending job and she was left with the dancing on tables for money. She wasn¿t sure if she was going to be able to do that, but she knew that they be making a lot of money, so she gave it a try. Finally her first working day came she went to the bar early to practice with the rest of the dancers. The time came when all the customers arrived and she had to put out a show. She was doing alright but when the time came to take off her top she couldn¿t. She went to the bathroom where she seen one of the dancers named Widow she was in the stall injecting something in her veins. Samantha been curious asked her what it was and she told her that it was heroin. And that she does it to get the courage to take off her top. Since Samantha was in the same situation she asked Widow if she could get some. As soon as she injected it she felt like she enters heaven. She went out there and put out a great show that she made money more than what she earn at the fast food restaurant in weeks in just one night. Temptations get to you and her was getting money ever since then she had to get some from widow, most of her money went to heroin. Samantha had this diary that she wrote I every day and she had problems in her love life every day she talks about how she was hurt until she met this guy in the bar that she started dating. Ever since she met him her life started changing. This book teaches you a good lesson that once you¿re addicted to drugs you mess up your future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2005

    *****The Best Book I Ever Read*****

    I could not put this book down at all. I usually read books really slow but this book I read in one day. This book helped me with my drug addiction and made me cry for 2 hours after reading it. It was such a great book and such a great piece of Literature, that I have told all my friends about it. I have been drug free for 4 months now and I¿ve never felt better. Not to mention I want to write a book about my experiences with drugs so that maybe I can help somebody like this book helped me. I also want to be a drug counselor when I get older so I can tell teens about my drug experience to help them over come there drug abuse. This book was ten times better than, 'GO ASK ALICE'. Wich i read over 35 times in one year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2005

    Cheers for Beauty Queen!

    I loved this book. I read it all in one day, which, on my part, was an amazing feat. This is one of the only books where I felt so attatched to the story that I acctually cried. This is a very excellent novel, very interesting for people and kids a like that are interested, like I was, about drug addiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2005

    one of the best book i have ever read

    I could not what so ever put this book down for the life of me. I am a read but one of them slow types. so i don't read book as quickly as others but this one i read faster than one. I you are thinking of reading this book please do. You could see another persons point of view see how see feeling thoughout her drama.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2005

    beauty queen = awesome!

    this book was amazing. i read it non-stop until i finished it that same day, it's definately a page turner. it's sort of like a go ask alice type book but it's 10 times better! you can really get into the story.

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