Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bona fide Beauty

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
* Read this ARC via Banned Book Tours
* Book will be published May 24, 2011

This book gets a definite 5 gnomes out of 5 gnomes for how well the story all comes together and how awesomely smart and funny all the different characters are.

This story is like a big beautiful satirical/surreal mix of beauty pageants, survival stories, and a dash of Rambo thrown into the mix in the form of Miss Texas.  It is set up like a reality TV show, there are even commercial breaks in between some of the chapters that introduce the reader to some very interesting products.

The whole set up and plot of the story is intriguing because all the pieces from each perspective fit together so intricately and make the story even better.  At first you may think that the story will be told only from Adina's point of view but then it changes.  The reader gets the point of view from many of the Miss Teen Dream contestants and gets to see what the bad guys are thinking too.

I usually don't enjoy books that have multiple points of view but this book uses these multiple views extremely well.  These views just make the story flow seamlessly with each perspective adding a puzzle piece to the complete picture of what exactly is going on.  This island that the contestants are stranded on has much more going on then they originally think.

The pageant mentality is strong in these girls and the routine is what they are used to.  The girls are not as routine as they seem though.  This can be seen through the information sheets about the girls that are usually posted before a new perspective starts in the story.

There are a lot of reasons to root for the contestants to succeed and you'll find yourself really caring about what is going to happen next to each of the girls.  Seeing their relationships form and watching them find out how to survive and thrive without all their usual handlers leads to plenty of fights but also a surprising amount of understanding that definitely wasn't there before in their pre-plane crashed on an island lives.

My favorite character was Petra (who has a secret that's a real doozy).  This character was surprisingly complex on more than one front.  Let's just say that she has a lot to prove but in the end she's probably the girl who teaches the others the most.

I also found myself rooting for Miss Nebraska because well, I'm from Nebraska.  She definitely had more to her personality then anyone saw at first glance.  Being on the island made her truly discover who she was.

The villains of the story do come as a surprise.  At first it looked like Miss Texas would be the villain of the story.  Well so as not to spoil too much, her role ends up going in a very different Ramboesque direction.

Even the ending of the story is well done because it leaves you with a sense of closure.  The reader gets a glimpse into what the future for the girls will be, yet you are free to speculate on what brings them to that particular future.

There are surprises aplenty and more than one mystery to solve.  If you're looking for a fun story with quite an interesting take on beauty, reality television, and how the world works then this may indeed be the book for you.


  1. I can't wait to read this one! Thx for reading for me...


  2. @Jen, Not a problem, thanks for touring the book. It was one of the funniest books that I've read in a while.

  3. Glad to hear! I love it when that Will Grayson, Will Grayson!


  4. For me, I prefer a book with many points of view Because I can find out the real thought of another character.Glad to know that this book is written with thought from many characters :)

  5. @I Read Banned Books, Yeah, I love funny books. Haven't read Will Grayson, Will Grayson yet but I have looked at it.

    @Aleetha, Yes, this is a great book if you like multiple points of view. It's very funny and each character has a very unique voice/point of view.


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