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Thursday, August 10, 2017

#52 - Beauty Queens - Libba Bray

Title:  Beauty Queens
Author:  Libba Bray
Genre:   Young Adult
Read by:  Libba Bray
Publisher/Date:   Scholastic/2011
Dates listened to:   7/31/17 – 8/09/17
CDs/Hours:  12/14.5
IBSN:  978-0-5453-1523-4

I chose this book to read to satisfy the category, LGBTQIA author or character, in the Adult Summer Reading Program sponsored by Seattle Arts and Lectures and The Seattle Public Library.   What a delightfully funny book.  I’m wanting to call it a satire or spoof on beauty pageants, their sponsoring corporations and pirates!  

The story is crammed with all sorts of wonderful dialog, characterizations, plot and descriptive passages.  In an interview with Ms. Bray at the end of the CD she revealed that she’d been asked to write a book about a bunch of beauty pageant contestants surviving a plane crash on a desert island.  Then she thought of Lord of the Flies, Heart of Darkness and a couple other books with which I wasn’t familiar.  Before I heard this I’d thought of what would you get if you combined Lord of the Flies with The Swiss Family Robinson, added a few young women from the current generation and stirred swiftly.

I’d read a couple of Libba Bray books from a series she’d done in the mid-2000s and which were on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2007.  I liked the idea of seeing what she’d come up with based upon this particular theme.  She didn’t disappoint.  In fact I think listening to the book would far outweigh just reading it.  I say this because being the author of the book and reading it to us, she knows what each character sounds like and she has a definite talent for giving voice to each one of the surviving teens as well as peripheral characters.

Each girl is known by her name, state and talent.  The friendships they intimately form feel right and natural.  Their fears, hopes and dreams are true to life and get us into the heartfelt back stories that Bray, a true storyteller, reveals about each teen.  If you haven’t guessed already I really enjoyed this book.

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