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Beauty Queens
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Book Club Discussions > July 2011- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

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message 1: by Jennifer W, WT Moderator (new)

Jennifer W | 1289 comments Mod
Use this thread to discuss Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Please marks spoilers.


Karis (YA Litwit) Jacobstein (YALitwit) | 419 comments Loved, loved, loved this book. So witty and clever. Seriously, the funniest book I have read in maybe ever... I won't do spoilers yet, but I loved it.

Miss Bookiverse (missbookiverse) I read this last month and really enjoyed it. It was quite funny but sometimes I also thought it was over the top (Momo B Chacha or what his name was, he just was way too ridiculous for my taste of humour).

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Is it better than the "Lord of the Flies with cheerleaders" jokes I've been hearing about?

Miss Bookiverse (missbookiverse) I never read Lord of The Flies, so I can't tell but it is more than just cheerleaders acting silly. You also get to look behind their facades, there's lots of different topics touched like racism, sexism, gay and transgender issues.

Kellee Moye (kelleemoye) Infinite Playlist (message 3 and 5) took the words right out of my mouth. This book is really clever. It reminds me of the parody movies, like Austin Powers, but a REALLY good one. However, at the same time it does deal with true issues in a respectable way.

Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments I just ordered my copy. The Lord of the Flies reference definitely intrigued me. As a teenager, I tried to read Lord of the Flies several times, but my mother kept confiscating it. She never told me what her objection to it was.

Now that I'm an adult, I've never gotten around to reading it. So maybe I can read Beauty Queens to make up for it. I loved A Great and Terrible Beauty and its sequels.

Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments Kellee wrote: "Infinite Playlist (message 3 and 5) took the words right out of my mouth. This book is really clever. It reminds me of the parody movies, like Austin Powers, but a REALLY good one. However, at the..."

I liked what you said about a really good parody movie. The humor sucked me in.

But about the time the tide came in, and the girls had to run into the jungle, I began to notice how the acts each girl hid behind were stripped away. The scene when Tiara, Petra, Shanti, and Nichole ate the berries was very powerful.

Stefanie It took me a while to get into this book. The beginning was kind of slow and it took the author a while to introduce all of the beauty queens and their different personalities. Once I got about halfway through, I loved it. There was so much drama and it was nice to see a book that has a nice, clean message about the power of women and sisterhood.

message 10: by Jesi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jesi (pwnedkitten) | 198 comments I both loved and hated this book. I loved it for the obvious reasons that have already been addressed here, but hated it because of how very "us vs them" it seemed. I couldn't help but see myself in Adina, and see the mistakes that she's making in being "so enlightened." Even while I wanted to cheer for the book, I wanted to throw it across the room because it made me so upset.

While I loved that it was all about Girl Power, it's so frustrating to read things that are tearing something else down, and I think that, inadvertently, Bray did that in this. The only parents who were solid and accepting were liberal (Petra's.) All core conservative values were made into The Enemy. And, while Adina (who we're supposed to look to as the Empowered and Logical one) eventually concedes to having makeovers be allowed at GirlCon, we're basically told that makeovers aren't empowering. It's like, if we're not rabid feminists, we're not doing enough.

There was a lot about this book that left me wanting to read a pro-conservative story afterward, just to feel like I was giving both voices a chance to be heard.

message 11: by Rita (last edited Aug 17, 2011 08:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments Oh, you have some good points, and I hadn't seen the story from that perspective. Personally, I have a great dislike for "feminism". I believe that men and women are equal in worth but are very different in every other way. To me, feminists try to be masculine to prove they are just as good, but really that seems to support the idea that women are inferior. OR they try to emasculate the men and turn them into puppets.

That's why my favorite series is the Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs. Mercy and Adam are both strong and wild in their own way, and neither one of them can control the other. IMO, Patricia Briggs managed to write a story with a truly healthy relationship between the male and female protagonists.

I guess I didn't see the point of Beauty Queens as "Girl Power" so much as personal growth. The girls all stepped into their true selves, and that's why I loved the book so much. IMO, personal growth is so much more beautiful and powerful than "Girl Power" and feminism.

I liked that Adina was shot down about the makeovers. Feminism should never cut out the female aspect of who we are.

My favorite scene was the one where the girls vowed to ban the word "sorry". Ever since I have caught myself saying "sorry" everytime I have an opinion or if something goes wrong whether it is my fault or not. My husband spilled juice on the kitchen floor, and I apologized. I had no idea why. He was the one who made the mess.

Miss Bookiverse (missbookiverse) I really liked the sorry-scene, too, Rita! I often notice me saying sorry for so many things there is no need to be sorry about. I think it has become some kind of automatic response and in some situations (like your husband spilling juice) what we mean to say might be that we feel sorry because something bad happend to the other person and we just want to share your empathy.

message 13: by Rita (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rita Webb (ritawebb) | 183 comments But in this case (the spilled juice), I was accepting guilt. I felt guilty that I wasn't in the kitchen helping him. Instead, I was cutting up the steak to put on the kids' plates. Something in me felt like I should be in both places at the same time.

And if I had said I was sorry for what had happened out of empathy, I think it would have been okay to say. Unfortunately, I have this guilt complex as a result of impossible expectations I have put on myself. If it hadn't been for this book, I'm not sure I would have ever noticed it.

Miss Bookiverse (missbookiverse) Well, good thing you read the book then and are now aware of it :D

Lydia (loverofinformation) | 596 comments I find that I do NOT like fiction books with footnotes. I realize the need for them in this book, but I find them disturbing. I also found that I am just not into Bray's humor. I understand how this might appeal to YA females (definitely not males) but I found it a bit too degrading (especially about transgenders and women of color). I also am not a fan of books with so many protagonists (and truly a number of antagonists) that I have to check to see who is who [whom? LOL].

However, towards the end of the book, when the overall plot kicked into high gear, I did enjoy the book and finished it in one sitting.

message 16: by Jesi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jesi (pwnedkitten) | 198 comments If you don't like books with footnotes, you'll probably want to stay away from Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, which is a shame, because they're both great authors.

I can see where one might not appreciate Bray's sense of humor, as she can be a bit over-the-top, but that's one of the reasons I like her. Although, I *will* grant that she was a bit preachy (as I've stated above) in this one. Then again, for what she was going for, it's somewhat hard *not* to be preachy in this one.

What about the transgenders and women of color did you find degrading?

Maree | 233 comments I felt that Bray was very good at pointing out the truth behind things, but she also seemed to hit a lot of stereotypes herself. I think she was trying to show the reality of the situation, but that's tricky to do when the situation you present is so unreal (though yes, seemingly based on real life events as well). I don't think I liked what she was saying in a social-commentary type of way, though I did agree with much of it. But the end picture she painted was too pretty for the reality she was trying to portray. I think alone, the two concepts are great, but together they didn't really fit.

Lydia (loverofinformation) | 596 comments Infinite Playlist wrote: "Well, good thing you read the book then and are now aware of it :D"
I also disliked the footnotes and I really just did not like the book. I have not been excited by anything Bray has written. I find the character lacking, being rather shallow; the settings are not very interesting; and the last minute saviors feel like poor writing to me. I particularly did not like the character portrayals and progressions -- there was a strange concept of growth -- not to ention the way minority characters were portrayed [and I will give you that wuch may be true in the pageant world]. I guess I just didn't like the message this book might send to young females. I much prefer the intensity of Lord of the Flies.

Just my opinion

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