Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray Review

TITLE: Beauty Queens
AUTHOR: Libba Bray
PAGES: 396
PUBLICATION DATE: May 24th 2011 by Scholastic Press
SOURCE: Library, ebook and audio book
LINK: Goodreads Beauty Queens, Libba Bray offical site

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up? Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray is a book I read for my Young Adult Book Club this month. This is a great book for a book club.  It really does give a lot of topics to discuss. It is a book full of satire.  A lot of people love it.. well I really disliked it.

I suppose that maybe I am just not one for satire.  I don't like the show Family Guy for this reason.. I can watch it but I just don't think it is as funny as everyone else.  Just not my sense of humor.  This book is similar to Family Guy's humor to me.  I just find that this book tries to take on way too much.  What it is about is 50 teen beauty constants who are on a flight that ends up crashing onto an island.  They only have their makeup and their outfits to survive with.  There is a Corporation on the island, pirates, big snakes, and all kinds of other trouble. I like the idea of this story.  I actually wish it would've been just a story about that.. but we have to add in all kinds of moral lessons. 

As you read a long there are a lot of footnotes, and commercial breaks. Which of course reminds us that reality shows are bad... products are bad. We learn about some of the teen contestants that are left alive and they of course live up to their stereotypes.  Ms. Texas is bossy and very southern.  Religious and what not for example. We read about body image, sexism, racism, you name it you will read about it here. The contestants that are still alive include: a person of color, a bi-sexual, a homosexual, a transsexual, someone who isn't very smart, someone who is mechanical, someone who is very sexual and feels embarrassed because she is a woman, on and on with these stereotypes. For me.. it was too much.  But don't let this review sway you from reading this book... people just love it!

I agree with all the messages in the book.. but just too many at once.  The audio book is FABULOUS though.  Libba Bray does it herself and she does such a fantastic job of giving each girl her own voice. I finished the book in ebook format but the audio was just amazing.  It has sound effects even!  I made it to 80% of the book according to my ereader and just couldn't do it anymore.  I have been trying to read this book for about 3 weeks.  I finally just skimmed through the rest so you could pretty much say this was a DNF (did not finish) for me. I really did try. I just didn't care anymore about the ending. I felt like this book was like a terrible movie parody that we see all the time in the theater. I can't stand those either so right then I should've known this book wasn't for me.  I always go into books without reading what they are about or reading the cover to see so it was a complete surprise to me.


The crystal ball says:
Thunder is booming!! Run inside and don't bother reading!

35 comments:

  1. I remembered not loving this one either so I went back to read my review: "Most of them were a stereotype draped in an issue crowned by a message." Sounds like we had the same problems with it. And I love satire! I haven't tried a Libba Bray book since.

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  2. I am definitely one of the ones who loved this book. I also listened to the audiobook, and I think Libba Bray's fabulous narration really did help me love this book. It does take on a lot, but I think that's why I loved it. Because every person is different, including all these beauty contestants.


    But I also think that Beauty Queens isn't for everyone.

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  3. The Diviners was really good. Of course though it's not satire and just a story. Since so many people love this one I almost feel like I didn't get it. It's just every single time I kept reading there was a new message for us. I wanted more of the story.

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  4. Libba Bray's narration is truly amazing. I actually didn't realize it was her until I was discussing this book with my book club. I enjoyed hearing how she made each girl's voice so unique. That was a great experience. I listed to that in the car but then I got home from a trip and I don't really do audio books just sitting at home so then I went back to reading it.

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  5. Lisa @ Captivated ReaderAugust 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Lol, love your review!! Sorry that you didn't enjoy reading Beauty Queens by Libby Bray!! I've been wanting to read this book.... I think the audio version sounds much more promising, so may listen to it instead of reading Beauty Queens!!

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  6. Hmmm, interesting. Thanks for writing this! I remember reading her Gemma Doyle Trilogy and really enjoying it, this one doesn't really sound like my taste, though :/

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  7. I also find that most people either love or hate this book. While Bray's writing style doesn't usually do it for me, this book won me over with its take-no-prisoners style. While it may be too brazen for some, I appreciated how every character began as a stereotype and ended up as as multi-dimensional human being. This book definitely isn't subtle, but something about its lack of subtlety appealed to me. Sorry it didn't do it for you, hopefully your next read does!

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  8. I find I can take this kind of humor is short doses. Probably a short story would have been hilarious but a full length book is just a bit much. We watched the Family Guy Star Wars spoofs and alternated between laughing hysterically or sitting there staring blankly. I'll have to look for this in audio form though.
    On an off topic note - I was thinking about doing a project on The Haunting of Hill House inspired by your Project Disney but wanted to check with you first. Do you mind? It's completely okay if you do. Otherwise, I'll be sure to give you credit for the idea.

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  9. I think you are right. Most people enjoy it for all the reasons you listed. For me... I have never really got this type of humor. I think I might get offended too easily. For example: Family Guy. Though it is not exactly the same as this book it still tries to point out all kinds of sterotypes. I don't think most of their jokes are funny. On the other hand though South Park does the same thing and I do think that show is funny. I guess it's just the way the humor is presented.

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  10. That is totally find about The Haunting of Hill House. The person that actually created Project Disney is a blog called Picture Us Reading. They started the Project way back but then stopped doing it and then eventually stopped blogging. They did start blogging again this month so I hope they jump back onto Project Disney. Anywho... You can totally use the Project Disney concept. Sooo... you might want to give them credit for the idea.

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  11. From the review it sounds like an awesome concept that fell flat with the execution. I may add it to the bottom of my tbr list but I'm not feeling a rush. Matt @ JC's Book Haven.

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  12. Ha ha ha, I got a Kindle sample and couldn't even finish that. You gave up at 80%? You were brave!

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  13. That's not really my brand of humor either. I'm more of a dry, sarcastic humor lover. I'm actually turned off from the making fun of humor of satire. It does sound like a great concept. Being from Texas, I'm used to crazy stereotypes about our state, and I never enjoy them. I'll pass on this one. Thanks so much for a great review :D Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

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  14. I think I gave 3 stars to Beauty Queens in the end, but all in all I enjoyed it :) I liked the humor (I do like satire) but sometimes it was, like you said, too much (maybe because I read it in like two sittings....)

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  15. This is one of those books that everyone has recommended to me, but I just haven't been interested. I think I will skip it for a little while longer - and I really can't sand Family Guy either.

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  16. Sadness that you didn't like it. I can understand why, when you explained that it was similar to Family Guy, which you aren't fond of. Although you didn't like it, I'll probably still read it (eventually). If for no other reason to see what Libba Bray is like outside of Victorian fantasy.

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  17. This is one Libba Bray book I've been dragging my heels on reading because of all the mixed reviews. Ugh, I feel like it would bother me just by reading your review. Every character sounds like a stereotype, just like you mentioned. I was thinking the same thing about it being a parody and I haven't even read it. I do love the fact that the author narrates the audiobook though!

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  18. I am not big on satire either, I will probably skip this one. The premise of the book also sounds a little meh.

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  19. Your comparison to Family Guy sealed the deal for me -- (I'm not a big fan of the show either) I think I'll take a pass on Beauty Queen. Thanks for the honest review!

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  20. Yeah... it was just.. eh. I do wish though this would've been just a book about the girls and the Corporation. I think it could've really been great if it was just a story about that. No lessons involved. I think people would either love this book or not like this book at all. No middle ground.

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  21. I really wanted to finish! I have such a hard time with DNF that I always make it so close to the end and then I quit. I just can't help it.

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  22. I am from TX too.. well I went to high school there. Many moons ago. There were girls that are like the Ms. TX in this book. But I don't know ... I guess I didn't ever think of all TX girls like this. I know for a fact I am from TX and don't act like Taylor. Soooo... there is that. But I'll be honest.. just not my humor.

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  23. Oh wow! You read it soooo fast!! Bravo. I do like to hear from people who liked the book. It is neat to hear different views. In my book club on goodreads, most people really liked the book. So I was kind of the oddball there. I kind of wish I had finished the last 20% of the book. I was so close so I don't even know what ended up happening.

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  24. I want to like family guy.. I WANT TO. I try and try. My husband watches it so sometimes he'll watch it while I am reading and I'll look up every now and then to watch it and .. well.. it just offends me! LOL! Another show he watches is American Dad.. that one is a little better but I still just don't get that type of humor.

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  25. SADNESS is right. I always feel this sad feeling when I just don't like the books everyone loves. I will say this is a good book to see how Bray writes... even Going Bovine is a good one to try too. I liked Going Bovine.

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  26. Then I'll read Going Bovine instead.

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  27. Sure! Family Guy is too politically incorrect for me. I just don't feel good laughing at others downfalls. It just bothers me.

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  28. I'm currently still trying to struggle my way through this book as well, and i can totally find myself in what you are saying here! There's just too much going on at the same time and I would have been fine if it had been just a survival story with beauty queens

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  29. Yeah... way too much going on for me. I just want a story not lessons. I look forward to your review!

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  30. Oh, I understand your frustrations with this, Angela! I tried to read the novel twice and just couldn't get through it, but when I got the audiobook? I absolutely adored it. It does take on a lot and I don't think I'd have been able to get far at all into the book if I'd tried another three or four times, but Libba Bray's reading was just wonderful and hilarious and perfect for it. I only wish you had listened to the audiobook fully- maybe it would've made the experience more pleasureable, even a little.

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  31. I wish I would've listened to the audio longer too. Perhaps if I went on another road trip. I just can't listen to audios in my house. I get bored and side-tracked too easily. I do think though that it was an AMAZING audio even in the short time I listened to it.

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  32. I already read enthusiastic reviews about this book, but it never attracted me - so, somewhere, I'm glad you didn't like it, if it makes any sense lol

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  33. This is a great review. I'm not a fan of Family Guy so I think I'll stay away from this one. Thanks for the warning!

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  34. Yeah... just not my thing. But people in my book club really liked it. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_folder/239860?group_id=3551 some great topics of discussion have branched from it and that is what makes reading these types of books fun. It does get you talking about issues.

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  35. I can't help but compare this book to Family Guy and that's because both are satire. Politically Incorrect topics just make me uncomfortable... I don't like to laugh at it. After reading this book though I discovered that maybe I just don't like to find meaning in a book. I just want to read a book for enjoyment like a movie. No hidden meanings or lessons.

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