Beauty Queens | Libba Bray
I feel like I have very little to say on this book and as a result of that I’ve found myself stumbling into the alien territories of a short review.
How do we set up this book?
First, think of Lord of the Flies, replace school boys with American teen beauty queens. Add a bit of humour, a shifty corporation (aptly named The Corporation) and reality t.v pirates and you have Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
It’s a satiric book and Bray’s use of satire and parody are excellent. It ranges from certain characters emulating the ideal beauty queen to references to popular culture with a little twist (such as the fictional band Boyz Will B Boyz) to footnotes that explain said pop culture references.
The book begins with a plane crash landing onto an island with the teen beauty queens struggling to survive and as it goes along it explores each girl’s reasoning behind entering this competition. After a while you notice a certain pattern with this book. Absolutely no girl is presented as shallow here; each has some sort of deep and complex story behind why she’s entered the competition and does start to wear a little bit thin. The thing is, this book is far, far too long for what it is. It is a fairly predictable story and it really does not need to be 400 or so pages long. I think it could have worked better on screen (as a mini series?) as it often imitates t.v, with the use of “ad breaks”, product placement and the number of characters is akin to an ensemble cast. There wasn’t any character in particular that could be called the protagonist and books with this “ensemble” cast often end up being far too long just to fit everyone’s story in. It works better on t.v (not always, but still) and the last hundred or so pages were just a drag.
Bottom line? Worth a read, but don’t prioritise.