Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Genre: Humor, Satire
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Publication Date: 2011
Read by: Libba Bray
The Short Version:
A plane carrying teen beauty queens crashes on a not so deserted island and both survival and hilarity ensue.
Why I Read It:
I probably would have never read this book but after hearing so many of my bookish twitter friends talk about how much they enjoyed the audio version I couldn’t resist getting it from the library
A plane carrying contestants for the Miss Teen Dream pageant crash lands on an island. Only a small group of the contestants survive. Initially their difficulties are with each other. Some want to focus on survival and other want to continue to practice for the pageant. It only gets more absurd from there but in a hilarious way.
Beauty Queens, Evil Corporation, Mercenaries, a giant snake, Pirates, a crazy Presidential candidate, a crazy third world dictator, commercials, footnotes, contestant profiles all add up to fun.
From the publisher:
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.
I really didn’t quite know what to expect going into this one but I ended up getting a lot of funny looks from other drivers on the road as I sat in my car all alone laughing out loud.
This audio is funny, absurd, touching, ridiculous and celebratory all at the same time. LIbba Bray does a wonderful job of narrating it. She gives the many characters distinctive voices and accents and most of them are overdone into the realm of caricature but for this book, it works. Everything about this is ridiculous but at the same time entertaining as heck.
Despite the absurdity and characters that in many cases don’t move beyond the ‘type’ they represent there’s sharp satire, and a message of empowerment that the girls learn. The craziness and the message manage to alternate in a way that keeps either one from going too far. Just when the message gets a little heavy, something silly pulls it back to humor and just when the humor can’t get any more over the top the scene shifts and one of characters is discovering they are stronger or capable of much more than anyone ever expected them to be.
Bray takes no prisoners. Her sharp satire takes on reality television, cosmetics and feminine products companies, societal expectations for young women, politicians, big corporations, pageant culture, and pretty much everything media related.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and have already told The Hubster about it and added it to his audiobook queue.
SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.