What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

When I saw this book on the shelves, I thought it looked like it would be a funny and light read to get into. The cover alone makes me laugh. This was my first Libba Bray book, so I was anxious to check out her writing style and get into this fun story. Here's the summary from Goodreads: The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than 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.

What I liked: 1) Well, I've already said I liked the cover. It really fits the story very well, and pops off the shelf. 2) The concept. Beauty Queens stranded on a "deserted" island? That just screams amusement to me. 3) The humor. There were parts of it that were funny. 4) There were some...Lord of the Flies parallels that I'm not sure were intentional, but I liked finding them. It's hard to find a good Lord of the Flies joke these days.

What I didn't like: Unfortunately, I didn't like most of the rest of it. 1) I couldn't find any of the characters that I liked. At first, I thought I was going to like Adina, because she's a snarky character who thinks that pageants are superficial stunts to objectify women. But even she grated on my nerves. And I read books with shallow characters. I've said before that I love Pretty Little Liars. But something about these girls, they just weren't believable. Even the issues that they face and the way they try to solve them. 2) There were just too many side stories going on for me to ever feel very committed to any of them. Part of that was because there were so many characters that we were following and everyone had their own stories, but it was very difficult keeping up with everyone. The only thing that could have been harder had they all had those really confusing Russian names (think Dostoyevsky).

Overall thoughts: Well, I really don't like to call anything unbelievable because I am a lover of paranormal fiction. But I felt like this book was really reaching to find an audience that could find anything to relate to in the story. The characters were not likeable, the plot line didn't flow because it was broken up by too many uncompromising storylines, and even the end was just...strange. I didn't feel satisfied when the book was over, more like relieved. The most redeeming part of the book was the satirization of Lord of The Flies. That being said, I think Libba Bray has a really good sense of humor, and I'd like to see how some of her other books are. If you haven't read one of them before, I don't think I'd suggest starting with this one.

My rating: 2 shots


  1. This was my 1st Libba Bray book and I loved it. It's satire, so it's a little out there, but I love that kind of stuff. I hear her Gemma Doyle series is really good, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

  2. Ha! Yeah, definitely agree with you in everything. You're right, you said had a lot of points I mentioned. I seriously (and this is a first) have NO IDEA why some people loved it so much! =S

  3. I still want to read it just because I cant get my head around the concept of beauty queens being stranded lol

  4. I completely agree with you. I couldn't find any character that I liked nor did I find the story as interesting as I did with the cover. I still wonder why people raved about this . . .

  5. Christy - I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was pretty shocked that I didn't to be honest. I kept thinking, okay, it's going to get better on the next page! I usually love satire. I think I'm going to check out her Gemma Doyle series. I do hear good things about it!

    Sab H. - Lol. I know, I was laughing when I was reading your review, thinking that you and I had such the same opinion!

    Mel - I'm sending mine to you!

    Little Dhampir - Well, I'm glad to know that Sab and I aren't alone in our opinion! I really love hearing differing opinions!

    Thanks for stopping by, y'all!!

  6. This was the first book by Libba Braya I've read, but I do own her other series. The Gemma Doyle series. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it, I liked it a lot.


  7. Kandee - It's all good! I'm glad you liked it! It always disappoints me to read something that I think I'm going to like, and then I don't. But I do love hearing when people do like it!

  8. Awesome review! It's interesting seeing society's view on beauty and how that affects and pressures many girls. Never read this one, but I did love Bray's a great and terrible beauty but like you said I guessed it wouldn't really be quite like it, nonetheless it sounds like an interesting and funny read!:)


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