Monday, October 27, 2014

[Review] Beauty Queens - Libba Bray

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In BEAUTY QUEENS, the contestants of the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant fall victims to a plane crash and now have to survive alone on an island in the middle of nowhere.
Note: I went in with the wrong expectations. Had I known that this is nothing but a very shallow satire on American consumerism and patriarchy, I would have never read it.

Major LGBTQ* Representation 

From deaf to transgender, to questioning sexuality, to lesbian, to feminist, to celibate, to mentally-ill, the beauty pageant contestants show every possible plot twist about their identity and/or personality. This would be great and I would be cheering usually, weren't they incorporated into a novel that was basically just written for jokes. The characters are definitely interesting and well-developed and I am sad that she didn't use them for a serious work. I thought I was dealing with a serious novel that displays serious social critique while also taking LGBTQ* issues into consideration. Wrong. 

The characters in Libba Bray's novel are mainly used to show that no matter what sexuality, what ethnic background, you're a consumerist douchebag, and I, the oh-so-smart author, am going to help you fix this! Don't worry! 

I know that it's a satire, I know you're supposed to shrug these kinds of novels off and say 'hey, it's just a joke' - but no. I refuse to do that because I genuinely want to know what she thought when she wrote this. Yes, corporate America is a problem, and no, it's not just them. As a non-American, I can assure you that it's not only their country that has issues, encourages superficiality and drives teen girls (and also boys) insane, trying to withstand the pressure.

Nonsense Plot? Well, It's Funny, Sooo

Honestly, I didn't understand anything of what is going on in this novel. The overall development makes little to no sense, probably that's the point - but how come these two dozen girls that are forced to fight for their lives on an island, do not notice that they're not alone on there? I have never understood how the plot twist of every survival movie/novel ever is that they're not alone.

You can't write a novel with the premise that basically everyone is stupid and oblivious to what is going in front of their eyes and then have plot holes in your novel the size of Mount Everest. Maybe that's exactly her tactics, but with all due respect, then she needs to change it.

Educating people on feminism, LGBTQ* issues, and consumerism is important. But doing this in a way that makes you feel like you're a third grader, because she explains everything over and over again just drives me up the walls. I can't even say that this should be a MG read because she cuts into rather sexual scenes (for no reason) between the beauty pageant girls and random male sidekicks (using insta-love of course).


Overall: Do I recommend?

Hint: If a novel blurb already says it's hilarious, it's not going to be hilarious.


Rating:

★★☆☆


Synopsis:
"When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.
Written by Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again."


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