Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - Review

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It's disappointing, especially for a Libba Bray fan.  Sure, she delivers her usual page-turning, wry-smile-inducing read, but Bray's new young adult novel seems cobbled together and more than a little self-conscious, preachy, after school special-y, and almost B-movie-esque, but not in the ways she intends.

To sum up: A plane-load of teen beauty queens crashes on a tropical island already inhabited by a secret arms-dealing branch of The Corporation.  Giant snakes, hallucinatory berries, and exploding Lady 'Stache-Off hair remover are the least of the young women's worries, but the question is: Will the reality-TV pirates be able to save them or will they save the pirates?

My Opinion:  This parody/social satire seems to have gone to press way too soon: way too many characters that seem pre-cast with Hollywood A-listers just waiting for the screenplay; unsuccessful shifts and lapses in rhetorical stance; attempts at (David Foster Wallace-esque?) footnoting that jar us out of Bray's trademark breezy, forceful plotting; surfacey attempts to address dozens of social issues faced by teens and our society at large; and fantasy elements mixing with a reality-TV concept at way-too-coincidental moments combine to make this novel a true let-down.

I'm sorry, Libba: I still admire your humor and creativity, but you and David L. rushed this too closely on the heels of Going Bovine, I'll warrant. Another draft in which you honed Beauty Queens in every regard would have made this another exceptional effort. As it stands, it's a mixed up, though often entertaining, mess.



As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Oh, no! I've been poised to purchase this book to read, especially after our children's buyer got to have lunch with Bray and get signed books for our store. Too bad it doesn't live up to its potential!

Hip Hop Recording said...

What a very detailed review. Giant snakes and teen beauties? That's a weird plot to begin with. Haha, I see that you didn't enjoy this one very much!

Laurie said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, E. It's not so bad, but just doesn't seem the equal of her earlier works.
HHP - Thanks for stopping by: I (hip) hopped over to your site and just wondered how you found this one! Whatever the reason, I'm glad you visited and hope you'll return.

viagra online said...

You are right, this book is a complete fail, what a waste of time

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