Sarah's Reviews > Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
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Jun 02, 11


I loved this book. Seriously. Loved. It is a step away from what I usually read, which is (obviously) romance. But I thoroughly enjoyed this book more than I have space to describe.

It's silly - beauty queens crash land on a deserted island and must SURVIVE. And keep the pageant dream alive! And there's pirates! And secret governemnt acts! And BOMBS and MASCARA.

But beneath that silly is a scathing, sharp and thorough satire of the culture of beauty, young women, sexuality, gender, group think, leadership, and achievement. There is so much to discover inside the book, beneath the spoken words and between the chapters. Layered doesn't begin to describe it.

My particular favorite part is that one of the heroines, Adina, to the last moment stands up for herself and how she ought to be treated by people, even when she has to admit she was wrong about how she may have treated others. And I still think about the commentary about leadership, motivation, and female relationships.

This is one section I marked and drew arrows at so I wouldn't forget:


Mary Lou liked Adina. She liked her directness. In school, they would tell you that life wouldn't come o you; you had to go out and make it your own. But when it came to love, the message for girls seemed to be this: Don't. Don't go after what you want. Wait. Wait to be chosen, as if only in the eye of another could one truly find value. The message was confusing and infuriating.


Readers of romance know that the heroines worth reading about, the ones who are captivating, are the ones who ultimately go after what they want, who find autonomy and strength and self-appreciation, and not just through the eyes of the hero.

The way that same message of self-actualization and self-worth was communicated again and again through this book, through a plot that superficially sounds silly and ridiculous, is masterful, clever, and very much worth the read.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Roseanne (new) - added it

Roseanne Great Review :)


Jess I love your review! I'm about halfway through it now and the part where Mary Lou thought about Adina is one of my favorite moments. I just love the feminism in this book. It's not preachy (Bray lets us know she thinks makeovers ARE ok and fun!) but it's there and it's real. I just love this book so far.


message 3: by Donna (last edited Sep 23, 2013 04:13PM) (new) - added it

Donna Was actually going to pass on this, now, sigh, #295 on the tbr list. Thank you?


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