Publisher: Scholastic Press (2011)
Format: e-book | 445 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult, Romance
Description (GR): "From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, 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."
You know those made-for-TV movies that are on every channel on the weekends? Those adventure and/or romance movies with really predictable characters (perfect cliches) and storylines, all so overdone you can't help but roll your eyes and ask yourself and the world "Is this for real?".
Beauty Queens has that vibe. Everything about it is cliche... on purpose. Yep, this book is satire. I'd say it's a parody that mixes a lot of tropes and premade ideas with the objective of pointing out the sheer trope-ness (I think I just made up a new word) and stereotyped way of life of western societies. Beauty Queens touches a lot of subjects from sexism to reality TV (which is also sexist) and of course, the evils of rampant capitalism. All in an easy-to-read, easy-to-comprehend and highly marketable package. I mean this book is about sexy girls. All together. On a deserted island.
The book starts with a bunch of beauty pageant contestants on a plane. The plane crashes on an island and voila! You have the perfect setting for bunch of girls to find themselves. As the survivors try to survive one more day they'll have to deal with their inner demons not to mention with sexy pirates and corporate militias.
This book sort of defies description. There are no really great characters (or character development), no really great plot (the story is kind of nonsensical, actually) and no world building to speak of.
It's a cliche, inside a trope that has a stereotypical message inside. It's a very in-your-face kind of book about how sexist our society is, how ridiculous reality TV is and how big corporations have too much power over us and shape us with their products. It isn't subtle. It doesn't try to be. It's loud and it drills these realities into your head. Still, it's probably the only way teens will read something more critical than "Twilight" nowadays. It's marketable and/or pop "makes you think, at least a little" literature.
Overall, a funny and cute book, I suppose. Not especially deep, but it does have a specific purpose and its not afraid to tell you what it is.