Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Narrator: Libba Bray
Series: N/A
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Release Date: 5/24/2011
Length: 14 hours, 34 minutes
Format: Unabridged Audio CDs
Genres: Fiction, Humor, Young Adult
Source: Library
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: 5/5

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray is one of those books that is better to listen to than read the text. I’ve seen many complaints about the text version of this satire on beauty pageants. However I absolutely loved listening to this novel read by the author herself. The best part was the comments which were read with the enthusiasm and vibrato of an infomercial. I thought Libba Bray was talented before, but hearing her read her own words broadened my opinion of her. While listening to this story I often found my self laughing so hard my eyes started watering.

The premise of this book is that a plane full of beauty pageant contestants crash lands on a deserted island, and must now fend for themselves. The entire novel is making fun of pretty much everything, but at the heart as I got to know the girls I could help but feel for them. My favorite was one of the Blonde Brittanys. She was lent her counting skills to identify the disc numbers as well as participate in the story.

Libba Bray had a voice for each of her characters, which really brought the novel to life. She also brought to the reading all the passion and humor that only the author could have. I don’t think anyone but Libba Bray could have read this novel. It felt like I had my own personally storyteller performing the story just for me.

Beauty Queens is a satire. It pokes fun at everything, so I would recommend it to anyone that likes humor. I would also recommend it to women and girls. There were many complaints about the obvious message found in this book which is that Beauty Pageants and Corporations are bad, but when I listened I also found that it talked about how to be a women/girl who is both independent and enjoys all those girly things like makeup, dresses, and shoes. Maybe I’m the choir that Bray was preaching too, but I found that it wasn’t as pro-feminist as many made it out to be. Mostly it was an encouragement to think for yourself instead of just doing what others tell you to do, even if you decide that you are doing all those things for yourself.

Oh and it has a Tina Fey Sarah Palin.

-Jami

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