Book Review – Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty QueensBeauty Queens by Libba Bray
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I picked this up after Tansy talked about it on the Galactic Suburbia podcast, and it seemed like it might be interesting.

A group of beauty queens are on their way to the final pageant, when their plane crashes on a deserted tropical island.

With limited resources, the girls must work out how to survive, without ruining their perfect complexion, hair and nails. Can they get out of the competition mindset to work together, or will the beauty pageant winner be the last woman standing?

Any thought I had that this was going to be a serious story was smashed very early on, it seems like a fantastic satire of the beauty pageant lifestyle, full of deliberately stereotyped characters who mock their own stereotypes.

Over the top satire on teen focussed commercialism was also prevalent, with regular “cut” scenes – absurd adverts for a fake beauty products along the lines of “Don’t become an $insulting_derogatory_stereotype_of_unpopular_subculture use LadyHope $insert_beauty_product_here”. Whilst amusing, they tended to interrupt the flow of the plot, which is my usual focus when reading.

While the plot is in the background (getting off the island), this is more of a character driven story, which are not my favourites. Also, I suspect many of the (non obvious) pageant satire components went over my head, not having paid any attention to the pageant culture.

While I personally didn’t enjoy this immensely, I did finish it. If the description appeals, I recommend you give it a try to see if it works for you. If it does work, you’ll love it.


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