I'm not quite sure I can fully express how much I loved this book. I knew I was going to like this book when I saw the footnotes. Fiction books with fI'm not quite sure I can fully express how much I loved this book. I knew I was going to like this book when I saw the footnotes. Fiction books with footnotes tend to be snarky with a third party narrator making commentary on the story at hand. This was no different. So when the “A Word from Your Sponsor” section had a footnote on page 3 that said:
“You look worried. Really, you should relax. Reading is a pleasurable activity and worrying is bad for your heart.”
I was giggling like a fool and excited to see where Ms. Bray was about to take me. What followed was one of the funniest books I’ve read in a while that didn’t venture into the ridiculous (well, not much) yet had a really poignant message I probably needed when I was a teenager. The themes of self-discovery and “rampant consumerism is ruining society” verged on the heavy handed at times, but overall Beauty Queens is an endearing novel about survival and learning that perhaps the world isn’t a completely bleak place. At least until a corporation attempts to murder you for crash landing on their top secret weapon island, but that comes later.
The premise is simple: 50 beauty queens are on their way to a tropical resort for the Miss Teen Dream pageant when the engine on their plane explodes and they crash land on what they believe to be a deserted island. Only a dozen or so of the girls survive and find themselves in shock as tends to happen when you’ve just survived a plane crash (I know this because I watched Lost). The survivors cover any imaginable stereotype you would think might be associated with a beauty pageant: the overbearing type-A queen bee who lives and breathes the pageant, the sassy ethnic girl, the tomboy trying to win her mother’s approval, the incredibly blonde and stupid Southern girls who just know how to be pretty, the deaf girl, the delinquent trying to reform through pageantry, the undercover journalist trying to take the pageant down, the transgendered former boy band heartthrob, the pretty girl with a tray table permanently stuck in her head… you know, the usual.