Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (book review)

REVIEW! Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.


9 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book reviews, Three Stars

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Teen beauty queens. A “Lost”-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

400 pages | Published: May 24, 2011 | Scholastic, Inc.


 Satire meets pageant girls meets tropical island.

Beauty Queens, while hilarious at its beginning, tapers off as the story progresses.  I couldn’t handle the repetitive snark, sass and mocking; it came across very pushy. It’s overall very witty though, and at times the hilarity I’d enjoyed reappeared to keep me satisfied to keep pushing forward. But it ultimately wasn’t enough to leave me feeling like I’d read something great.

While I love the diversity of the characters, I never felt too attached to any. It got to the point that I’d either forgotten one of the contestants were still around, or I’d forgotten their name(s). And the ones I’d started to care for didn’t stay true to their initial personalities. (I’m mainly looking at you, Adina.) And some simply had/found no resolution. (Case and point: Taylor.) It was as if just as Bray got me to become invested in some of their stories, it all fumbled.

The second half of Beauty Queens, to me, pushed its wit to the limit. It wasn’t funny anymore – it was ridiculous. More ridiculous than its first half, I mean. I just wasn’t buying it anymore. I was no longer invested.

Even though this is one clever, funny story, I expected more from it – more sustenance, progression, and resolution. I wanted more of a cohesive story, and because of this, Beauty Queens  felt like it was lacking that magical something.

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9 Responses to “REVIEW! Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.”

  1. Liz. R says:

    Oh it’s a shame that it starts off so hilarious and then gets too ridiculous at the end, I always hate it when that happens. Feels like wasted potential! And it’s never a good sign when you forget characters’ names. Thanks for the review.

  2. I sometimes wonder if I would have felt the same way had I read the book. I actually did have the book at one point in time, read a few pages, and then sent it back to the library. Listening to it was an entirely different experience, and I think the characters came alive in a way that’s nearly impossible to do in print.

    • Alissa says:

      Yes, I remember you telling me how good the audiobook is. And going by others’ reactions, I think the audiobook provides an entirely different experience.

  3. We Heart YA says:

    Hmm, good to know. This one is definitely on our list, but we do hear lots of mixed reviews. Well, it’ll be curious to see where each of the four of us lands on it.

  4. Mandi Kaye says:

    Did you read it or listen to the audiobook? I suspect that if I had read it, I would have felt exactly the way you did. But the audiobook ended up turning into a brilliant work of art.

  5. […] [review] Beauty Queens  by Libba Bray — Satire meets pageant girls meets tropical island. […]

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