TITLE: Beauty Queens
AUTHOR: Libba Bray
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
LENGTH: 400 pages
Amazon Review: From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray comes the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
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.
BRIDGE: This hilarious novel could be used most effectively in tandem with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The book is clearly based on the classic and, in my teaching career, this is a question we always explore when reading Golding’s novel: How would this situation unfold if girls had been stranded on the island? The modernized setting puts other issues in play with the survivors being beauty pageant contestants as a humorous twist.
But this novel could be used in other ways as well. There are clearly some underlying hints at commercialism and its effects on society as well as the influence media has on self-perception. There’s a lot going on here besides girls bemoaning the lack of running water. The text could be used in Media Communications courses or Economics classes to examine the plotting of The Corporation. Tough issues like gender roles and identity play a large part in the character development and could be a great launching point for discussion in any humanities course. The book also tackles political diplomacy lending portions to use in History courses or courses that deal in current events.
READERS: Male and female readers alike will enjoy this book. The inclusion of pirates and conspiracy elevates this book beyond a mere ChickLit read. Fans of adventure books will like the survival aspect. And, as is the case with many of Bray’s books, humor abounds. And for fans of audiobooks, this one takes the cake. Narrated by the author, Bray provides different voices and extras in the audio version that one doesn’t get in the print copy.
OTHER TITLES: Readers who like this book might also like Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, or Shine by Lauren Myracle.