Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens

by Libba Bray
3.7 200


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Beauty Queens 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 201 reviews.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
Wow. I may not have been a crazy stalker fan of Libba Bray beforehand (the Gemma Doyle series didn't do anything for me - yes, you may duct-tape me now), but I think Beauty Queens has me wondering what crazy schemes this author will cook up next because I'm pretty sure that I will be in that serving line! Even if it is chicken-tasting grub from some random island. I realize that this book may not be for everyone - I wasn't even 1% sure if Beauty Queens would be my cup of tea. Yes, I was that uncertain of it. I kept glancing at the book in the bookstores, admiring the lipstick bullet belt concept, but unsure if I was ready for a leap of faith. So I borrowed it from the library and took the book out for a spin. And holy smokes! Did Beauty Queens grab my attention from the get-go and shook me silly in a similar fashion that Miss Congeniality did? Except 200% more to the power of infinity and whatever goes beyond that? I think flying toasters might be involved in the beyond. As far-fetched as Beauty Queens may sound, Libba Bray really applies her witty parody quite liberally like sunscreen - and I loved all her shout-outs and snark-outs that celebrated (or eulogized) all things pop culture. Everything was outrageous - everything, that is, except the message that it is okay to be yourself, even if that includes a little crazy or ugly or random. I cannot imagine how much FUN Ms. Bray had with re-inventing the world of pop culture because they are truly quite clever! What really impressed me with Beauty Queens is how the girls were introduced to the readers via pageant bios and then the next chapter focused on digging deep into what makes them tick, even though everything was told in third-person. It really gave me enough time to connect with each girl and then gradually tie them as one large group into the main story arc. With so many characters to juggle around and decide who gets centerstage for certain moments, I give props to Libba Bray for managing to find a way to make it easy for the readers to befriend the characters. It almost felt like 4 years of high school with a class of 200+ individuals - you start off as strangers, but leave as one big family. I think Libba Bray may very well be the next Douglas Adams or Joseph Heller in my book. Not a whole lot of authors can serve such a ridiculous dish of random that makes me clutch my stomach from laughing too hard and yet I couldn't stop from devouring the pages! And for your reading pleasure (in truth, this is for my own because I probably inhaled a pepperoni up my nose when I read this snippet), bar none my favoritest quote from the book because the delivery is GOLDEN: "I count the time like my hemorrhoids." "TMI, MoMo." "TMI to you, too, my darling." Please excuse me while I ROFL with pepperoni up my nose. (Dear Readers, you may just want to go out and try this random slice of paradise.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totaly disagree with thw people who say this book is a disapointment. You dont need to be a girly girl to enjoy this book. Libba Bray covers every topic a teenage girl needs to here. Race, ethnic struggles, family problems, friendship issues, and the everyday battles a teen girl faces.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you can put your big girl panties on and read just for fun, read this! Beauty queens in a plane crash on a weird island? Like Lost but crazy in a whole different way. Yes-the commercial interruptions from the Corporation get a little old, and yes, if you really sit and think about it, the unrealistic-ness of this whole thing can get you down but if you can read and just get lost in a story and enjoy, then pick this up. I truly loved it and it takes a lot to impress me in a book!
kgirl1721 More than 1 year ago
This book was super funny, I bursted out laughing reading it. Some people don't like it because it has alot of sex, and some other weird things going on like lesibean beauty queens, and transgendered ones. But it had alot of jokes in it. I didn't get some parts but overall it was a really good book!
cara_ann More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up off a display and thought it would be absolutely hilarious and a great read because it was by Libba Bray, unfortunately it was a dissapointment. This book should be on the back shelf not on a display for everyone to see. If you can get over the main characters ghaustly language and bimbo mindset then it might actually be good, but it drove me insane. There was just to much going on! From lesbian contestants to transexual contestants, to the undercover contestant, the contestant that somehow survives the entire time with a tray sticking out of her head and the contestant that loses her mind that was enough...then we have the reality TV show british hunky pirates that land on the island. You can't forget the military/corporation compound hidden on the island making arms deals with the Republic of ChaCha (??really??) that happens to be with a guy that dresses like Elvis?? AND being from Texas it was a little upseting that the Miss Texas contestant talks like she is the biggest redneck hick known to man..and she is the biggest bimbo of all minus the knowledge of using guns..then happens to be the one that goes completely insane...yeah...not cool. To much for me..I mean you may like this but I would personally like my time and brain cells back. Saying this book was a dissapointment and a disaster is being nice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think a lot of these reviews are missing the point of this novel. The point of the book was to make the girls seem like stereotypical airhead bimbos, but as the story progresses, you learn more and more about each character and the whole plot becomes more in depth. I believe that Libba Bray is showing some kick @ss bravery by writing such a feminism based book, and thats why it has become so controversal. Also, Ive noticed people complaining about the lesbians and transexuals, but then complaining that the girls are too sterotypical. So basically they're saying I wish the characters where different, but not THAT different. Overall, this was a great read. I loved all of the footnotes and commercial breaks that give you a glimpse into the girl's world. I also liked how some of the footnotes were more praising the Corporation, while others were flat out declaring it evil, showing the power struggle between the two groups of people in a segregated society. Please please PLEASE do not let the negative comments turn you off from reading this book. They are only seeing it a surface level. Go deeper, and you will see that this is a kick @ss book for everyone, especially feminists,that is worthy of the support of Libba Bray fans. Congrats Libba on another great piece of art.
RayneCri More than 1 year ago
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray has the most ridiculous summary of any book ever written. A bunch of beauty contestants gets stuck on an island which is actually the secret base of a corrupt corporation trying to take over the government and a republic with an insane leader. Also, sexy pirates. What you must must MUST do whilst reading this book is look past all of the ridiculousness. This book has an exaggerated version of our current society. The girls are expected to look pretty, be silent and apologize for whatever they say, even if they're not sorry. Yes, there are lots of characters in different situations. Yes, some parts of it are weird or cliched. And YES there are girls in this book who are not "smart". (To anyone using the term bimbo- finish the book and get your sexist selves slapped in the heads by the powerful words of Libba Bray, please.) These girls are just that! Teenage girls! Rather than going all Lord of the Flies power crazy, they form order and lifestyle and learn how wrong society has been treating them! They become sexually positive, confident and most importantly: true to themselves. They stop worrying about how they're supposed to act and just act however they really want to! This novel is one that literally changed my life and I would recommend to anyone looking for a true view of how society treats women and what we can do to overcome it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was kind of absured at first but once you got into the flow of the book it was amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some parts seemed a little bit unrealistic like how people died, but no one thought much if it. My favorite character was Nicole, she's nigerian and from the same tribe as me which was awsome.
ArielGYang More than 1 year ago
Perhaps my expectations were impossibly high, how could they not be after a masterpiece like Going Bovine? Beauty Queens starts off beautifully (no pun intended) - a mysterious plane crash, quirky characters, and the challenge of surviving without food, shelter, and -gasp- lip gloss! Libba Bray makes it clear that this is not aLost or Lord of the Flies inspired story, but it could have been a brilliant and witty comeback to both. A female alternative to Golding's story would have made for great discussion in schools and public libraries. With generous influences from fellow 'dystopian' novels like M.T. Anderson's Feed, a materialistic world run underhandedly by The Corporation and fellow countries with Chavez-inspired dictators produces shallow, narcissistic teenage girls, and what archetype is more extreme than the beauty pageant girl. The demand is there with shows abound on cable networks and the 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant's Miss South Carolina interview fiasco. Unfortunatly, all the sarcastic commercials and witty dialogue could not save a potentially awesome story. If the intention was to show shallow teens finding their inner Girl Power, or bridge the gap between petty differences to encourage girls across the spectrum to unite against a world that demands skinny, perfectly coiffured, pleasant and unopiniontated girls, then it was an 'epic fail'. Bray should have focused on one goal instead of branching off into weak tangeants. Is it a survival story? If so, leave out the government and corporation conspiracies. Outside characters were two-dimensional and drew away from the already too-large cast at hand. And what was with the ship full of cockney-accented actors and the Australian eco-warrior that popped up out of nowhere to woo the girls. Was a love-plot that necessary? The romance that blossomed briefly between two of the girls could have been an all-encompassing focus on positive relationships in general. All-in-all, I cringed more than I smiled, and said, "Huh?" more than "Ha!" The potential was strong, but the inconsistent messages, thin characters, and silly plot-twists left me disappointed. Libba Bray has shown true talent in past YA novels, but this one felt rushed and un-loved.
Robin Grenier More than 1 year ago
If you're willing to just roll with the absurd premise it can be an enjoyable stay on a semi-deserted island.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the way that the author wrote this book and I felt like she really connected with the readers. It was so funny and it made me laugh. I love all of the characters and it would be hard for me to pick my favorite character. The ending though is quite strange but yet it is delivers a powerful message at the end and is developed throughout the whole story. I would recomend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have no idea why anyone in their right mind would publish this. Let alone why the author, who's name I fail to remember but should because her writing is horrible, is a claimed best selling author. The characters were poorly developed and so alike it was hard to distinguish between who was who. The events in the story became so ridiculous that I only continued to read to see how horribly worse it could get. I knew it would but even I wasn't prepared. Don't waste your time or money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great, fun, summer read! I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book because usually I don't like to read about a bunch of stuck up girls, but this book was excellent! A little predictable, but definitely deserving of a second read! If you're looking for a book that is fun but still exciting, this is the book for you!
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
I want to make something very clear as you move on to the rest of the post. This book is bloody brilliant and everybody needs to read it. Understood? Now let me explain. Upon finishing this book, I pronounced the fact that I wanted to marry Libba Bray on Twitter. She's a bloody genius and I absolutely adore her and will read anything she writes until she decides not to write anymore. I mean, look at this summary. I knew it was going to be funny going into it. What I didn't expect was for it to be a commentary - a brilliant, hilarious, accurate commentary - on the world we live in today. Can you think of any debatable issue at all? Trust me, it's mentioned. There's a reason this book made #8 on EW's list of things to watch out for this week when it was first published - it's genius. The plot, the commentary - everything is fantastic. And the characters! Oh, what a fantastic cast of characters! I want to say Nicole is my favorite - I have a huge soft spot for her, but that may be because we share the same name. SinJin and Petra are fighting for that honor, though. My dreams of reading about an evil villain named MoMo B. ChaCha have also been satisfied. And as much as I shall be recommending this book to everybody and their mother, it holds a special place in my heart as a YA fan because of some of the shout outs. (There's a character named after Scott Westerfeld and David Levithan ends up in one of the scripts.) Just - I could go on forever. So, so, so much love for this book.
Goddess_Beth More than 1 year ago
Oh, Libba Bray. I want to marry your brain. Once again, she's pulled out a great novel that marries a fun story and characters with biting social commentary. Like with Going Bovine, Bray managed to force me to set the book down and think about life, the expectations of the world on myself and women in general, the sad state of a corporate culture, and the issues facing women as they search for empowerment and identity. That sounds heavy (and those ARE heavy issues), but actually the book was hilarious, snarky, and very fun. She manages a rainbow of characters with issues that most folk can relate to in some way, and she creates a very empowering story out of it. I truly wish that I had been able to read this book in high school. And then in college. And then after college. And maybe in my mid-twenties. Some of her turns of phrase and simple observations on the state of our American culture and what it means to be a woman are things it took me years of observation, experimentation, and a lot of tears and mistakes to learn. That she so gracefully sums them up in an absolutely accurate sentence or two is awe-inspiring. And while I think women, and feminists of any gender, will get the most out of this book, it's a fun read for men as well. I recommend it for anyone who is literate and alive, especially if you live in the US. I am considering buying copies of this book and sending them to my friends with young daughters. My copy I'm keeping to re-read, and for my future progeny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of Libba Bray since A Great and Terrible Beauty came out, so of course I bought this as soon as it came out. Though it's been awhile since I read the book, I think the negative reviews need to be balanced out so potential readers can get a better sense of what the book is like. This story is not ment to be a realistic tale; it is a satire of modern pop culture and the difficulties girls face growing up with the pressures this pop culture imposes. Yes, there are elements of the story that are exaggerated, but they help to add humor and call attention to the absurdities of modern life. I found this book to be a quick and enjoyable read with a message that empowers young women to take control of their own lives instead of bending to society's expectations. This story is definitely more similar in tone to Going Bovine than the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, but fans of Bray's first novels will be glad to encounter the same girl-power theme that was present in Gemma's story, just in a funnier, more satirical format.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really strange. I haven't finished reading it yet but I know for a fact I will not be re-reading this. All this book has done so far is made real beauty queens look bad and tell unbelievable stories. I mean come on, a transexual contestant who used to be a member of a world famous boyband. Do not eveb get me started on the secret government and the "pirates". If you really think you have to read this book, do yourself a favor and get it at the lirary and save your money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book because I heard it was really funny. It was sort of funny, but the stupidity of some of the girls was just hard to read. And some of the things that happened seemed really unrealistic. Like the snake that had swallowed Sosie. Also how Miss New Mexico had survived with a tray in her head the entire time. Some parts were extremely predictible, too, like Petra's big secret. I found that out almost right away and was just waiting until they finally said so. I didn't understand the random commercial breaks and all the notes on the bottom. Why were they there? I know everything with Agent Jones and such helped end the book, but throwing it around at random confused me a lot. So this book was okay. I don't think people need to get offended about how people from their state were dumb or went crazy, because that wasn't really the point. I wouldn't really suggest reading this. At least don't buy it, if you want to read it, check it out from the library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually love Libba Bray. I love her Gemma Doyle series; its one of my favorites. I was expecting so much more from her. The characters in this book were so flat, un-relatable, and everything bad about American girls today. The plot was so horribly thought out and didn't even make very much sense in my opinion. I will hope for better in her next books...
SelmaD More than 1 year ago
I had to stop at page 204 and I am actually surprised that I read that much. Anyway, I am being kind calling this book - a piece of crap. It started very funny at the beginning. I thought this is one of those very girly, cheesy, funny, entertaining books and I expected a lots of laughs, and indeed was Ok at start but then :O Oh boy.. at some point I felt like reading this book hurting my brain i had to stop and delete and try to forget bunch of nonsense writing. From commercial interruptions to snake who ate one of the girls (girl managed to escape :S) to explosive hair products, reality show pirates, weird interview interruptions.. I mean this book is so stupid to the point that is disturbing to read.
Artisttia More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed Libba Bray's trilogy prior to rrading this and expected greatness. Instead I found an underdeveloped storyline, repeated filler, and cheap writing tricks to fill up the pages. If the writer had taken her time wiyh this book and flushed out the plot as was done in Great and Terrible Beauty the book could have had the potential for excellence. I have one thing to say to you Libba Bray, shame on you.
emma keifer More than 1 year ago
Read it! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*I thought it was funny and a great read, some part were ..... "interesting", good book in all!*
ruthsic 9 months ago
Beauty Queens comes from Libba Bray, aka, the Author who Devastated me with the Gemma Doyle trilogy. Going into the book, I had a different picture in my mind. After all, this book recently came up in discussions when Hollywood announced a female-driven Lord of the Flies movie, and I haven’t read Lord of the Flies, but I know it is a dark story. Beauty Queens, on the other hand, is a feminist satire that commentates on consumerism, beauty standards and capitalism. The story is simple enough in the start – a plane full of teen beauty pageant contestants crash on an island, and in the absence of adult supervision, figure out a way to survive, nay, thrive, while discovering themselves. The story is interspersed with ‘commercials’ and ‘interviews’ and is presented as a story that is in third person while speaking from the viewpoint of different characters. At first, it seems like most of the girls are vapid and to be honest, I thought it would be a story that would only tackle beauty standards and all, but boy was I pleasantly surprised. The story, while rooted in the misogyny of our society and how it keeps girls under control with the sham of ladylike standards, intersects with racism, and different sexual orientations, and gender identities. We have a bisexual/pansexual (though it isn’t specifically mentioned in text) disabled girl, a transgender girl, two girls of color, and other girls who have their own stories be it about manipulative parents, or an absent mother, or forced chastity. The first half has the girls discovering what they really want out of life, and them learning to stand up for themselves. But because this is not just a story about transformation, the story also includes a subplot about an evil corporation, a dictator, and some lost boys. Most of it is very comical and exaggerated but it works with the vibe of the book, and it balances all the fun moments with the poignant ones. Some of the girls’ stories are presented differently, with Petra’s story likened to a fairytale, and Marie Lou much like a werewolf transformation. The second half falls apart a little with the introduction of the boys, but it also shows the effect of the girls’ transformations more clearly. The end is, well, a little cheesy but I liked that we get the ‘future’ stories for all the girls. Their friendships that developed during the book, despite all the initial disagreements and hate, was a beautiful aspect of the book and I loved that. I would like to add that if you plan to read this book, consider the audio. It is read by the author herself, and she does an amazing job with the accents, and characters. And actual music and jingles are used in the advertisements and interview sections, which makes the experience that much more fun and immersive. Seriously, do yourself a favour and get the audio! Content warnings: Violence, transphobia, murder