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Young Writers Society
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:07 am
I found this book by following a Tumblr book blog. There was a small blurb saying, “it’s like Lord of the Flies, only with pageant queens.” From that moment onward, I was sold. I was only vaguely familiar with Lord of the Flies, but I knew the book was probably going to be awesome from that tidbit alone. I ended up saving the title and author in my old laptop’s notes, then coming across it again when transferring the notes. After a long wait, I ended up getting the ebook from the library.
After multiple months of buildup, I was not disappointed with the result.
The book is set on an island after a plane crash, with all of the adults inexplicably being killed off and only a baker’s dozen of girls surviving. (There were originally 50 girls on the plane, each girl representing one state.) The book takes us through different viewpoints as these girls try and fight for survival, uncovering pieces about themselves and each other along the way.
Chapter after chapter, I kept on finding funny lines that kept me chuckling until I could explain the context to another human being and show them what made it so hilarious. The commercials were funny, especially the one for Wedding Day 3: Third Time’s the Charm. The Corporation’s handling of topics (like girls swearing) struck of a chord with me.
Among the cast of characters, I really appreciated Petra (Miss Rhode Island), Sosie (Miss Illinois), Nicole (Miss Colorado), Shanti (Miss California), as those are the ones who stick out to me currently. Although, Taylor (Miss Texas) and Adina (Miss New Hampshire) also hold special places in my heart. Oh, I eventually came to love Jennifer (Miss Michigan) and Mary Lou (Miss Nebraska). Basically, if the author spent time on that character’s POV, then you’ll eventually come to fall in love with that character. (I know I’m forgetting some but dang, it was hard to keep up with everyone at some points.)
To me, the book didn’t really go as far as I would have expected with its handling of feminism (but then again, did it need to?) but it was still enjoyable. There are probably other books that have more time and space to deeply explore issues brought up such as sex positivity, trans inclusion, attitudes towards men, objectification, etc. After reading some reviews on Goodreads, I found that some people seemed to see the inclusion of a character’s viewpoint as a promotion or condemnation, but I really didn’t take it as the book or the author endorsing anything. It was just the character expressing their opinion. (Especially with Adina.)
I loved the progression of friendship between Shanti and Nicole, especially since they were the two contestants of color and probably would have been pitted against each other if the plane hadn’t crashed.
Oh man, Jennifer and Sosie <3
Gah, I could go about this forever. I really enjoyed this book and I think a lot of people would benefit from reading it.
If you like humor, diverse characters, and an absolutely wild plot, then this book might be for you!
Did you think any of the characters were stereotypical?
How did you feel about the length of the book?
How well did you perceive the books portrayal of feminism? What could have been done better? What parts did you like?
Were there any areas that confused you?
Did the commercials from the Corporation ever get too annoying?
How did you feel about the ending?
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German rat enthusiast.
Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:27 am
Last edited by
on Fri May 11, 2018 4:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:48 pm
I love this book
It's fiercely feminist but also totally goofy. It is literally laugh-out-loud funny and I recommend it for everyone.
You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.
— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
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