Michelle's Reviews > Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
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Aug 10, 11

Read in August, 2011

Well, here it is. Libba Bray, you are responsible for the worst book I read in 2010 (A Greatly Terrible Book...er, A Great and Terrible Beauty), and I suspect you are again responsible for the worst book I will read in 2011 (but, hey, it's only August).

Let me first say this. I like a lot of things that most people find to be ridiculous and terrible. For example, it is no secret that my favorite genre of music is pop, with the more specific sub-genre of boy bands, even more specifically, the Backstreet Boys. Over the weekend, when I wasn't reading this book, I was watching Step Up 2: The Streets, and was delighted to see that Channing Tatum made an appearance. Then I moved on to watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey and had animated, serious conversations with my husband on matters that arose from the show. I champion young adult novels, including cheesy romances with vampires (I'm looking at you, Twilight). In fact, any book with a vampire in it will usually pass my test (Charlaine Harris). But gracious, this book was not good. It was so far from good. In fact, it was just bad.

Look, I was intrigued with the idea (beauty queens abandoned on a tropical island after a plane crash, watch them survive). I could even deal with the cover. But this was not a funny book nor was it a smart book. Heck, I wouldn't even say it was a girl empowerment book. The jokes were hammy. The characters were over-the-top, and for the most part, unlikable (I could deal with Petra). Mainly because they were dumb as a box of rocks, as my dear dad would say. And when you're writing satire that is so juvenile, it doesn't come across as anything but really irritating. The writing itself (whether it was action, dialogue, just the pacing) was usually terrifyingly bad. I wanted you to pull off a suspension of disbelief, but the writing did not lend itself to this at all, so I was mainly rolling my eyes and sighing. Or typing in "WTF" into my Kindle.

Regarding this not being a girl empowerment book: I could see a lot of moments (hanging out around the campfire, eventually doing the pageant) where I was supposed to be proud of the girls. They learned they could be who they wanted to be, whether that was smart (or still dumb in Tiara's case), a horny pirate (I'm...not joking), a comic book-loving lesbian, etc., and they shouldn't feel judged, belittled, sorry. That seems like a great message. But when you package it in a format that requires one brain cell to understand, I don't buy it.

Never again, Libba Bray.
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