Review * Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

June 28, 2012 Reviews 11 ★★★★★

Review * Beauty Queens by Libba BrayBeauty Queens by Libba Bray
Published by Scholastic Press on May 24, 2011
Genres: Humor, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
Survival. Of the fittest.

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.

What I Thought…

  • Beauty Queens is a mix of so many things.  Libba Bray tossed together a bit of:
    • Miss America Pageant – obviously, but some of the contestants are a bit more serious than others.
    • Lost – this is no regular island.
    • The Truman Show – product placement is always key.
    • Survivor – making your own huts and questionable food choices.
    • Anchorman – (or anything similar) over the top characters

to make an absolutely fun and hilarious book!

  • Beauty Queens is one wild ride.  It all starts with a plane crash but there is so much more going on.  There are pirates, secret compounds, pretty dresses, bugs, and a whole lot of other surprises!
  • While there are other characters besides the Teen Dreamers I don’t want to divulge who they are so I won’t say anything about them, but I absolutely loved the Teen Dreamers.  They were so much fun and they all had their little secrets.  They were dealing with a lot of personal reasons and they all had very different reasons for entering the Miss Teen Dream pageant.  You get to know them one by one, complete with their own Miss Teen Dream Fun Facts page.
  • Adina was probably my favorite, though I really liked Taylor too.  Adina is very strait forward tell-it-like-it-is, even when the other Teen Dreamers think she’s crazy.  She was a little snarky and I liked that too.  Taylor was “the voice of reason” and kept the Teen Dreamers prepared.
  • I really enjoyed the way the book was written.  It’s written reality TV show style, which was a lot of fun.  There a couple of commercial breaks and product placements.  And there were footnotes!  (Note: I wouldn’t buy the ebook for this reason, footnotes + ebooks = a pain.)  While I was reading I really felt like I was really watching these girls on the island.
  • Libba Bray does a fabulous job describing the island, and all of its specialness.  I could clearly picture everything in my head from the beach to the cave to the jungle.  I would mind actually being on the beach, but I’ll pass on the cave and the jungle.
  • Despite all it’s hilarity and craziness there are things to be learned in Beauty Queens.  Libba Bray tackles quite a few issues (feminism, sexuality, finding yourself and more), in a short and funny manner, which means that even though you can get quite a lot out of Beauty Queens the book is NOT at all preachy.
  • I know I’ve mentioned this already, but it must be said again.  Beauty Queens is ridiculously funny.

Beauty Queens was one of a few choices that I trying to decide between at Barnes & Noble.  I read the first few sentences and I was completely hooked.  Here are the first seven sentences for you:


This book begins with a plane crash.  We do not want you to worry about this.  According to the U.S. Department of Unnecessary Statistics, your chances of dying in a plane crash are one in half a million.  Whereas your chances of losing your bathing suit bottoms to a strong tide are two to one.  So, all in all, it’s safer to fly than to go to the beach.  As we said, this book begins with a plane crash.  But there are survivors.  You see?  Already it’s a happy tale. (p 1)

See… I know you want to read this!


11 Responses to “Review * Beauty Queens by Libba Bray”

  1. fakesteph

    I’m so glad you loved the book when you finished and it lived up to its awesome first few lines. I’ve been wanting to read this and I plan on borrowing this from you!

  2. Jenny

    I really want to read this one! I know it’s going to be hilarious and I’m sure I’ll like it. I’ve heard some negative reviews, though. I think it must be one of those, love or hate it books.

  3. Bittner

    Okay, I’ll admit the excerpt at the end of your post was pretty funny! I’m trusting you when you say that the book was easy to read because with all the product placement and commercial breaks, I would think it would get distracting

    • Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

      There are only 3, maybe 4 ads, and they are at the end of chapters and if you desired you could skip them (but they are funny) and the product placement is also almost all done in footnotes, and you could skip those too (but again, they are funny).

      It’s definitely easy to read, no thinking required ;)

  4. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

    This sounds so good! I’ve wanted to read it for quite a while. Hmmm, do you think it would count as part of my YA Contemporary binge? I might have to add that to my list… Great review, Kim! And thanks for the note about not getting the ebook version because of the footnotes!