I just read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I admit, it was most definitely not what I expected. I loved her A Great and Terrible Beauty and the other two books in that trilogy. However, I don’t think that Beauty Queens lived up to my expectations. But before I tell you why, here’s what made me want to read it:
Printz Award winner Libba Bray is back with a tale that involves a plane crash, national beauty pageant contestants, a secret militaristic corporation, and desert island survival. It’s irreverent and thought provoking, and laugh-out-loud funny.When the Miss Teen Dream Pageant plane goes down over the ocean, there are only a handful of pageant contestant survivors. The girls are divided – should they keep practicing their routines and wait for rescue? Or should they buckle down and try to survive in the tropical jungle they’ve been dropped down in? And what will they do when a band of sexy pirates show up? Or when they find the secret headquarters of The Corporation – sponsor of The Miss Teen Dream Pageant? And what exactly will happen now that they are separated from everything they’ve ever known including eyeliner, high heals, and parents with high expectations? Not to mention lack of food and water.
Libba Bray takes readers on an adventure that will make you laugh, make you think, and make sure you never see beauty the same way again. ~Courtesy of Scholastic
Sounds really good, right? And not that I didn’t enjoy parts of it, but I thought that some of it was pretty childish. It was ridiculous how shallow the characters were, at least at first. I think that as the book went on, it got a little better, but there was really no characterization or depth to the girls who survived until the end, when it was too late. I think if there was a little more insight for the readers, and a little more intrigue for the characters, like real thoughts for most of them, instead of having thoughts that were part of their act, I would have gotten more into the book.
I did think that there was a lot of good politics in the book, though. The gender/sexuality issues that were in the book were great, as well as the ethnic/race conflicts. Those were the fun parts, the parts where the girls discovered that they could be themselves. I liked the backstories and flashbacks, and I liked the sinister plot of the government; it was almost dystopian, but not in the controlling-your-lives-to-make-them-better way. More like a do-what-you’re-told-and-you-won’t-get-hurt way, which was refreshing to read. Of course, the romance was entertaining as well.
I think part of the reason the book was iffy for me was that I read it as an eBook, which I don’t necessarily like all the time. There were some typos, too, but you know what? The book was half and half. I liked parts and then other parts just didn’t interest me. Tell me what you think!