Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. The premise sounds kooky: beauty pageant contestants crash onto a deserted island and have to overcome their differences in order to survive. I was expecting a campy adventure story and that was part of it but it ended up feeling to me like The Book that Tried Too Hard. Beauty Queens is a satire, taking aim at the media, commercialism and the unrealistic expectations put on girls. I do like me some satire but not the kind that beats me over the head and Beauty Queens has all the subtlety of a giant cartoon hammer.
The major issue I had with Beauty Queens was the girls. Most of them were a stereotype draped in an issue crowned by a message. The one black contestant (stereotype) had a mom who was a former cheerleader and expected her daughter to be a star (issue). She learns to love herself (message). Lather, rinse, repeat many, many times. Their back stories dragged down the narrative and ended up being preachy. I did actually love one of the girls- Taylor, Miss Texas. Sure, she's a bit nuts but she made the story entertaining. I expected a lot more from her character.
But I have a But....
But it was fun when it wasn't trying to be a Degrassi High episode. Crazy Ladybird Hope, Dictator MoMo and wacky Taylor. They were funny. I giggled quite a bit. The girls practiced their runway walks while building huts and weapons. Every time I heard the words "Sparkle Ponies" I laughed. At the commercial breaks too. The crazy bits were really crazy and I was entertained.
So, I'm a bit torn over Beauty Queens. I loved parts of it, but rolled my eyes at others. I am conflicted. I know so many other bloggers loved this like crazy but like Tiara taught me I will not apologize for my opinion or prefix my opinion with a "sorry." (See, I learned something.)
Also *adjusting the Mom hat and tying it with a bow* this is a book for older teens since there is sex and swears. And I guess violence, though the violence is too silly to be taken seriously.
About the Audio: Libba Bray narrated the book and did a fantastic job, especially with Ladybird and Taylor. I think the narration helped add to the entertainment value.