Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beauty Queens- Libba Bray

There is so much awesome in this book that it practically reads itself.
Not only are there teenage beauty queens on a desert island, but there are sorts of other creatures living on this island, such as a giant snake, an ornithologist, and a bunch of coporate lackeys doing business with a rogue dictator inside a volcano.
We get some of the traditional beauty queen type girls, such as the dumb blondes from Alabama--or Mississippi, maybe--as well as the Miss Texas (there's always a Miss Texas in the Top Ten!) and the girl-born-of-immigrant-parents-but-with-lots-of-American-pride. The one, and only one, African American contestant, and of course the girl with a 'handicap,' in this case, she's deaf.
Then we have the more, erm, controversial beauty queens, such as the lesbian mechanic who loves comic books and the transgender/former boy band singer.
Then there are the beauty queens who get trays stuck in their foreheads, or who think the beauty pageant is bollocks and want to overthrow the whole thing.
Of course, other fascinating/bizarre characters show up, such as the rogue dictator, the former Miss Teen Dream, some reality TV pirates, and of course, the people in the commercial breaks!
YES, THIS BOOK HAS COMMERCIAL BREAKS.  Otherwise, how would we know what Lady 'Stache Off is used for?  I mean, this is important business here; you can't just TELL us what it is, you have to demonstrate its importance in society with an advertisement. Of course.
So what other types of awesome are in this book?

Well, we get to learn about feminism, tolerance, sexuality, and how to turn beauty products into deadly weapons.
And these are very important things to learn.  But it isn't just the reader who learns interesting things, the characters are all dynamic and their stint on a desert island has an effect on every one of them.

And here are some random quotes from the final edition:

"You scaly bitch!"
"Otherwise you look like Gothzilla."
"Tiara, don't scare the nice pirates away."
"Am I not gorgeous?  I want to snog myself.  I'm like a postmodern Lord Byron."
"I think my balls are in a shade of blue they could never put in a Crayola box."
"You are the femur of my institution, Ladybird Hope."

If that doesn't make you want to read this book, then I'm sorry.  You're just hopeless.
Don't forget to read this earlier piece of brilliance by Libba Bray:

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