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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