Smash's Reviews > Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
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Jun 14, 2011

bookshelves: young-adult, read-2011, signed, book-reviews, tough-issues, multiple-pov, read-own-hardcopy
Read from July 24 to 27, 2011 — I own a copy

EDIT: I wanted to update this review and state that I listened to it on audio. It was, hands down, the best audio book I've ever heard! I was told that Libba won an award, and she deserves a million of them. I HIGHLY recommend this book on aduio.

Read this review at Smash Attack Reads

I knew this book was going to be amusing. The cover sorta leads to that assumption. What I did not expect, however, was the mockery and satire within the pages. This book is a breath of fresh air in a world so full of unattainable, ridiculous ideals, corporate pigs and malicious media asshats. The author pokes fun at the ludicrous parts of society in order to bring attention to just how ludicrous they are, and I’m hoping that the young women who have read this book "get it.”

For us older, jaded, in-the-know folk, this book is hella funny and sad at the same time. I laughed at so many things in this book, but my mind immediately went to why it was so laughable, which is not very funny at all.

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Case in point:

“Last but not least, let’s welcome Tiara Swan, Miss Mississippi. Fun fact about Tiara: She thought you could get pregnant from swimming with a guy.” Adina shook her head. “Oh my goodness! Don’t you just love abstinence program? So not helpful.”

Amen for calling our abstinence-only sex education programs! I agree with Adina. They are quite worthless. I work with teens and let me tell you, they definitely know a lot more than you would ever imagine, but they are also severely misinformed about so much. Why we miss out on the perfect opportunity to give them proper information on a serious subject is beyond my comprehension. GLBT, Racism, Sexuality, Sexual Health, Mental Health, our absurd ideals on beauty, Corporate monsters, and so much more are mocked throughout the book, yet it really does make one think…and pisses one off, too.

There were a ton of characters in the story, but we got to spend time with each contestant and get in her head, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Some are more memorable than others, but they each brought an integral piece to the overall point of the book. Of course, landing on a deserted island can really challenge a girl’s beauty rituals. It was damn fantastic to see how their world view changes throughout the book. Amen.

The set up of the book was fantastic. It opens with “A Word from your Sponsors” and it continues as though you are viewing a reality-tv-series-gone-seriously-wrong. I LOVED the author’s use of footnotes to explain her pop culture references. It was hysterical and I enjoyed figuring out the real-life person/product she was referring to. Oh, and serious Kudos to Libba, as I think there was a RENT reference in there. ♥

And in case you were wondering, I am most definitely a Lost Girl...
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Quotes Smash Liked

Libba Bray
“See, now I don't know whether to be all 'Yay!' because you're empowered or sad because you're having delusional almost-sex with an imaginary boyfriend.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“There was something about the island that made the girls forget who they had been. All those rules and shalt nots. They were no longer waiting for some arbitrary grade. They were no longer performing. Waiting. Hoping.

They were becoming.

They were.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“My platform's called Don't Even Think About It. I go to schools and I say, 'Whatever bad thing it is you're thinking of doing, don't even think about it. 'Cause I can see into your soul, and I will hide in your closet and come for you in the night, and the last sound you ever hear will be my sharp teeth popping through the flesh of my gums, ready to eat you.' Their eyes get all big. It's awesome. I love little kids, man. They're the cutest”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“Why do girls always feel like they have to apologize for giving an opinion or taking up space in the world? Have you ever noticed that?" Nicole asked. "You go on websites and some girl leaves a post and if it's longer than three sentences or she's expressing her thoughts about some topic, she usually ends with, 'Sorry for the rant' or 'That may be dumb, but that's what I think.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“I’ve been thinking about that book about the boys who crash on an island,” Mary Lou said to Adina one afternoon as they rested on their elbows taking bites from the same papaya.

“Lord of the Flies. What about it?”

You know how you said it wasn’t a true measure of humanity because there were no girls and you wondered how it would be different if there had been girls?”

“Yeah?”

“Maybe girls need an island to find themselves. Maybe they need a place where no one’s watching them so they can be who they really are.”

There was something about the island that made the girls forget who they had been. All those rules and shalt nots. They were no longer waiting for some arbitrary grade. They were no longer performing. Waiting. Hoping.

They were becoming.

They were.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“I’m not that kind of Indian,” Shanti said, her practiced smile never leaving her face, though it faltered just a bit, and in that slight wobble was something hard and angry, something that looked like centuries of colonial oppression boiling up into an I’m-going-to-kick-your-ass-in-this-pageant-and-then-take-over-all-your-beauty-out-sourcing-needs hatred.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens
tags: race

Libba Bray
“J.T Woodland, known as “the cute one” in The Corporation’s seventh-grade boy band, Boyz Will B Boyz. Due to the success of their triple-platinum hit, “Let Me Shave Your Legs Tonight, Girl,” Boyz Will B Boyz ruled the charts for a solid eleven months before hitting puberty and losing ground to Hot Vampire Boyz.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“Taylor clapped for attention. “Miss New Mexico, let’s not get all down in the bummer basement where the creepy things live. There are people in heathen China who don’t even have airline trays. We have a lot to be grateful for.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“I hate high heels. Walking in high heels for eight hours a day should be forbidden by the Geneva Convention.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“HI. I’m from Arkansas, the cantaloupe state. And tonight, I hope you will hold my melons close to your heart and vote me your Miss Teen Dream.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“Feast for the Fisherman, the ultimate emo band. Said to be sold with a complimentary prescription for antidepressants and a free flatiron.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“DiscomfortWear™, shapewear designed to eliminate rills, ripples, and muffin tops. In some cases known to eliminate circulation and breathing. If you’re not uncomfortable, it’s not DiscomfortWear™.”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens

Libba Bray
“I don’t care. If I like somebody, I like her, and that’s that.” He thumped his chest and made a scowly face. “Let ‘em come for me. I will stare down the mob with their pitchforks! I will make a speech about tolerance and love. I will tell them the folly of their ways! And then I will grab your hand and run like hell because, Jesus, a mob with pitchforks?”
Libba Bray, Beauty Queens


Reading Progress

07/24/2011 page 40
10.0% "@libbabray's mockery of the beauty industry is killing me. New Lady 'Stache Off FTW! I am so loving this book. It is exactly what I needed after my morning."
07/27/2011 page 288
74.0% "Ima Goldengirl FTW!"
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Lane Thanks for introducing me to this book, Smash. Sounds intriguing.


message 2: by Smash (new) - added it

Smash Jennifer wrote: "Thanks for introducing me to this book, Smash. Sounds intriguing."
It's an interesting take on society, that is for sure! :)


message 3: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura I remember when this came out and I thought I'd skip it. It just didn't sound like my kind of book, but your review has changed my mind. I think I'll read it now. Thanks!


message 4: by Smash (new) - added it

Smash Laura Ashlee wrote: "I remember when this came out and I thought I'd skip it. It just didn't sound like my kind of book, but your review has changed my mind. I think I'll read it now. Thanks!"

SO happy to hear that!!!!!! I do hope you enjoy it.


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