Libba Bray, 2011 by Scholastic Press, 397 pages.
Synopsis 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.
This book falls under that category of "What took me so long?" I'd seen reviews about Beauty Queens for awhile, but never picked up the book until a friend urged me to the other day. Am I ever glad I did! It has been a long time since I laughed out loud while reading a book, and I laughed several times during this one. I loved the humour, the satire, the message, and the overall writing. I can't recommend this book enough, especially to young girls who might need the message at the end.
Beauty Queens is the unlikely story of a plane full of beauty queens who crash land on a deserted island on their way to a pageant. The book is told from several points of view, taking turns among the beauty queens. We learn their histories - why they became beauty queens and how their home life and society has influenced them.
There are stereotypes among the girls, but the reader will likely find something to relate to in nearly each of the girls on the island. The characters are concise and yet still well developed. I love the strength and ingenuity each of them shows as she develops.
Many issues come up, such as societal pressures and expectations of girls, the cosmetic and entertainment industries, eating, sex, language, the list goes on. Libba Bray is an astute writer with a sharp wit and I will certainly be on the lookout for her other books.
Here is a YouTube video of Libba Bray and the book: