Book Review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Take one part Lord of the Flies, add in a little bit of Drop Dead Gorgeous and Miss Congeniality, with a dash of sexy pirates, and you’ll have a general idea of what to expect from Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. (That is to say, you should really just expect anything and everything — this book is pretty much a free-for-all of awesome!)

Each page of Beauty Queens oozes with sarcasm and hilarity, as Bray recounts the story of what happens when a plane full of teenage beauty queens crash lands on a (supposedly) deserted island. But it’s not just a female equivalent of Lord of the Flies. Bray tosses in a shady Corporation, a fashion-challenged dictator, a ship full of hunky reality TV pirates, and various other colored social commentary to create a book that is equally poignant as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Bray does a good job juggling the large cast of characters. At times, it feels almost overwhelming as a reader to get through each character’s story (their history, their motives, their insecurities, their plot points, etc.) — yet each one is so lovable and interesting in their own ways, it’s really hard to complain about this. It’s no easy feat to write a book with so many characters, but Bray does so masterfully. She makes you care about each and every character she introduces. (Or rather, the characters you’re supposed to care about. Equally, she gives you plenty of reasons to root against the bad guys.)

Throughout Beauty Queens, Bray is master of the absurd and outrageous. Each plot point becomes crazier and even more insane — but that’s part of the book’s charm. As the reader, you’re simply along for the ride. And what a wild, hilarious ride it is!

Bray also tastefully tackles the various social commentary interspersed throughout Beauty Queens. It never feels preachy or unwarranted, but simply part of the book’s overall message. She raises some good points, her remarks will have readers nodding their heads in agreement (in between wiping away tears from laughing so hard). And there’s really something special about a book that can make you think and reflect so much, while entertaining at the exact same time.

Beauty Queens is in stores May 24th. Don’t miss this one!

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