Thursday, 15 June 2017

Beauty Queens

By: Libba Bray
Published: May 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5


When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition

My Thoughts

I’m going to be honest; the first time I read this book I didn’t really like it. The next time I read it I thought it was alright and lent it to a friend (in the hopes she would just keep it). I read it again and oh boy do I LOVE this book! I’m not sure what turned me off the first time I read it but if I had to guess I would say that the snarky humour sort of threw me off. But know that I am older I adore all the snark and sarcasm of this book.

The snark comes from the incredible cast of teenage girls who show that they are a bright, creative, resilient diverse group of people. The voices of these characters are so fabulous and they suck you right into the story. It’s definitely a unique style of writing, with chapters from the point of view of each of the girls interspersed with chapters from The Corporation.

The other great thing about this book is that the girls are a diverse group and there is lots of representation. The struggles of different groups (women, LGBTQ+, the disabled, POC) are highlighted and discussed, without being super down in the dumps and sad and depressing. I just find that many books with representation tend to be sort of disheartening and this book was anything but. In the end this story celebrates the uniqueness and power of teenage girls which I loved. Being a teenage girl is super hard and so having something that celebrates them is amazing!

I would definitely recommend this book to EVERYONE (and don’t get put off by the cover!) because it tells a story that is so important in so many ways.

Teacher's Corner 

Reasons you might want to use this book in your classroom:
  • Great representation. Its always fantastic when students can see themselves in books and this one has such a great cast that you don't see very often
  • Challenging assumptions. Books are an amazing tool to help students learn about the world around them and to help them learn to challenge their assumptions. This book has some diverse characters and would be an interesting way to challenge students and their ways of thinking
  • Comparison to Lord of the Flies. It would be very neat to read Lord of the Flies and Beauty Queens and do a comparison focused on societal differences, writing style, gender roles etc 
  • Investigating satire and sarcasm. Satire and sarcasm are integral parts of this book and for older students you could dig deep into how this impacts the reader and influences the story line 

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