What I'm Reading: 'Beauty Queens'
The cover art for Libba Bray's Beauty Queens features the toned torso of a buxom blonde armed with dozens of lipsticks. Right away, it screams "trashy beach read," and one would be correct in judging this easy-breezy book by its eye-catching cover. The truth of the matter is this: it's an unabashed piece of summery literature that's slightly smarter than it looks...
Beauty Queens is about a group of plane crash survivors trapped on a deserted island. It just so happens that these survivors are the scantily-clad contestants of the Miss Teen Dream pageant, a televised event sponsored by "The Corporation," a large conglomerate that basically controls everything in the world.
The over-the-top yet wonderfully paced book serves 396 pages of delicious satire. Everything about it -- the clueless characters, the sharp dialogue, the WTF-worthy interludes, even the clever prologue titled "A Word From Your Sponsor" -- makes for an entertaining read.
It's basically what Lord of the Flies (or Battle Royale) would look and feel like if it were documented by Bravo reality show cameras. It's a shiny, glossy commentary on the state of female roles in America as well as a suspenseful adventure begging for a big-screen adaptation (I'm pretty sure some producer has already purchased the rights).
If only I had read this sooner...