Grand Mistress of On a Book Bender. On the path of least revision. Wine supplier for grammar pain sufferers. #BecauseWine. Idea wrangler. Wielder of words. Black coffee drinker.
If you’re going to experience this book, get the audiobook. At 14 hours, it is long. Trust me when I say that Libba Bray narrating her own novel is beyond amazing and completely worth it. The fact that it took me over a month to finish listening to Beauty Queens has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the book, and everything to do with the fact that I didn’t have the opportunity to listen to any audiobooks during the three weeks that I was on semester break, which happened when I was about halfway through.
Can I tell you secret? I started reading this book once. I got it from the library, read a few pages, and took it back unfinished. It just never grabbed my attention. But the audiobook! I was almost instantly hooked, and Libba Bray has such unique voices for her characters that there were moments I completely forgot that I was even listening to one person. And with so many characters filling these pages (or 12 discs), these voices were essential in giving the characters life. To a certain extent, you can’t take this story seriously, and listening to audiobook allowed me to revel in the ridiculousness of it all.
Beauty Queens is so much more than a book about beauty queens stranded on an island, and therein lies its value (and 10 rating). After I finished listening to the book, I listened to Libba Bray talk about how she came to write this book and what she wanted it to be. And basically, Beauty Queens is a look at gender, deconstructed. You have views on beauty, how society affects and drives our ideas about our selves and gender, consumerism, and sexual orientation. With the right guidance, there is so much nestled in Beauty Queens that teens (or, you) could spend so much time in discussion about all the issues this book raises. Not only that, it is far more relevant to teens today.
This is the kind of book that I wish I had as a teen. This book says, “Be yourself. You’re perfect the way you are,” while touching on all the reasons why it’s so difficult to do so. I don’t think there’s much else to say than: if you want a book that will make you think and laugh all at once, consider picking the audiobook up. It’s one that you must experience for yourself.