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?*
Libba Bray. You have officially shot up as one of my favorite authors. With A Great and Terrible Beauty, I saw so much promise, and now that I've read Beauty Queens, your status has been cemented. All hail feminist authors. We need more of you in the world. We also need to infect the water of every other author with your greatness.
Beauty Queens is not for anyone who dislikes a lack of subtlety and already has a major (official or unofficial) in feminism. Then again, I am both, and yet, I adore this book like it's maple butter. It's part Finally Someone Actually Wrote a Fiction Book Surrounding This Topic and part This Is So Freaking Hilarious, because it is. This book is a satire and one of the funniest ones I've ever heard. I'd also like to posit that it's one of the most feminist books I've ever read, adult or YA, and that there are a lot of adults, women or men, who should read it.
It's always difficult to write a review on a book you love. It can turn into a gushing, fangirl mess, and no one wants to read that. So I will try to point out in equal measure, things I liked and didn't like:
+1 - The characters made mistakes. They jumped to conclusion, they disliked each other, and they forgave each other. This is what made them so fantastically real.
-1 - Highly predictable. For all the subverted character tropes, there were a lot of plot tropes that you could see coming from fifty miles away. However, the characters more than made up for that, and the premise itself doesn't expect you to be blown away by the plot.
+1 - The epilogue was one of the cheesiest things I've ever read, but in such a heartwarming away. There are no love interests present. It's just the girls having fun and being wild. Looking back on it now, I still get that feeling like I want to cuddle the book to my chest.
-1 - The predictability did make the characters a bit clueless as a result, but that was quickly rectified by the last half. Also, if you didn't take note, I adored this book so I let most of that pass me by.
I don't really have anything else that I didn't enjoy about this book. If I had one thing to change about it, it wouldn't even be the predictability, but that heavy-handedness towards the bashing of the consumer ideology and capitalism. I liked it, but I'm sure upon reread, it would get tiring.
*Summary and image from Goodreads.