I had no idea how much I was going to love Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, until after I had read it. You know how, sometimes, when everyone’s talking about something, whether it’s a new book, movie, or whatever, sometimes you’re just a little afraid to pick it up? It’s like this secret little fear that you’re not going to like it, and you’ll have to justify your dislike to a pretty rabid fan base. Well, anyway, I really lucked out with Beauty Queens, because I absolutely freaking loved it.
So, it’s the story of what happens after a plane of Miss Teen Dream Beauty Queens goes down on a deserted island. After recovering from the initial shock, the Queens (well – most of them) capitalize on their ingenuity, innovation, and leadership skills in order to survive and even thrive. Oh and, also, there’s a ship full of reality television pirates (yes, I’m serious) that wash up on their island, but in the spirit of not spoiling anything, I won’t go into it much further, but just know that what follows is absolutely hilarious and a little heart breaking.
Reading fiction that has an obvious connection to feminism, always gets me thinking. Why is this premise so intriguing to us? What is it about a bunch of beauty queens surviving in the wildnerness that would make such a funny story? It’s stereotype. It’s our idea that a bunch of beauty queens would have no CLUE where to start when it comes to survival like this – an idea that Libba Bray just destroys with this book.
The Queens learn that they can be beautiful – and love to wear make up and high heels – and still be more than able to take care of themselves, despite what they had been told in the past. The make up and high heels and fake beauty queen waves are not what makes them who they are. And so, in honor of the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Queens, I leave you with a booklist filled with other strong female characters – peppered with some titles on beauty how-tos. Enjoy!
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci
When transfer student Jane is forced to move from the confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. The four girls form a secret art gang, but can art really save the hell that is high school?
Teen Makeup: Looks to Match Your Every Mood by Linda Mason
This title says it all!
Alana: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Poison by Chris Wooding
In this spirited anti-fairy tale, Poison seeks out the Phaerie Lord in order to rescue her sister. Finding him isn’t easy, and the quest leads Poison into a murderous world of intrigue, danger, and deadly storytelling.