Sunday, February 9, 2014

2014 YALSA Hub Reading Challenge Check-in #1

I am kicking off this year's challenge by rereading a few books already in my library.  First up:

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.  

This review refers to the audiobook, read by the author. The footnotes that may have annoyed me had I read this instead of listened to it, came to wonderful, hilarious life.

Of the 50 young women and their chaperones who crash land on a deserted tropical island, only 12 teens survive. Imagine Lord of the Flies, but with more mascara and push-up bras.

I wasn't too sure about this concept at first, as I generally prefer Libba Bray when she's doing historical fiction. However, once I got drawn in, I loved the satire about our consumer culture and unrealistic expectations for women.  Bray's beauty queens begin by seeing each other as obstacles; once they get to know each other, they realize they can only succeed together.

The thing I love most about satire is that it makes you laugh, even as it makes you think.  However, misogynists beware: feminism abounds. If you like your women quiet, obedient, and pregnant, you'll probably hate this book. I thought it was hilarious and empowering.


I read the paperback version for the 2014 YALSA Hub Challenge. Because I prefer the audiobook, I also listened to it again after finishing the paperback. Yes, I realize that I am rather strange. My penchant for rereading/listening is why I am not discovering as many new books as I used to.

I have read/listened to this book several times now, and I like it more each time. However, I must say that reading the paperback was not quite as enjoyable as listening to the audiobook.

Libba Bray narrates the audiobook herself and she is marvelous. Her Ladybird Hope is a spot-on spoof of Sarah Palin which had me snorting with uncontrollable laughter in several inappropriate places.

As sometimes happens with satire--a la Stephen Colbert--the jokes go a bit over the top in places.  Despite its flaws, Beauty Queens tells an entertaining story with the message that, yes, girls, it's okay to be yourself, speak your mind, and sometimes put your needs first.

No comments: