If you’re ever in the mood for a book that makes fun of American society, has pirates, a teenage beauty pageant, and explosive devices made out of hair remover, then, really, you’re in the mood for Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. (No, seriously, there’s no room for argument on this one).
I might be a little biased because Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors, but this is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this week. It’s funny, purposefully painful at times (*cough* Corporation Commercials), and also has a lot of depth to it.
Because of cheap production, the plane carrying the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant contestants, crash lands on a deserted island. Naturally, to avoid lawsuits, the Corporation- which more or less runs the world, or at least Hollywood- blames the crash on terrorists.
The beauty queens organize themselves and make huts, weapons, and food. Not only is survival important, but everyone is dealing with their own personal issues, too. Like Petra, who is technically a guy, and needs the pageant money for transgender surgery. Or Nicole, who has to deal with being an African American in a racist pageant, and Mary Lou, whose wildness is apparently a curse.
Oh yeah, and there’s a terrorist establishment on the island that’s run by the Corporation who is set on killing the girls and making deals with the Republic of Cha-Cha, a country America has sanctions against.
Also, there are pirates. Sort of.
You have to give the book two chapters to get into it. Give the girls some time to stop reciting the rules for being a lady, and to loosen up a bit, and then it will really get good. Not to mention the ridiculous and sometimes painful (sometimes not that far off from some real commercials, though) commercials played by the Corporation, like for Lady ‘Stache Off, a women’s hair remover (FDA approval pending).
It’s simple: Beauty Queens is a good book, and definitely something all teenagers should read. At least once, anyway.
You can find the book here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/