Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Audiobook)

Posted October 8, 2015 in Audiobook Review, Book Review / 1 Comment

This book may be unsuitable for people under 16 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug use, alcohol use, language, and/or violence.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Audiobook)Beauty Queens Narrator: Libba Bray
by Libba Bray
on May 24th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 14 hours 37 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Buy on Amazon

From bestselling Printz award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty contestants that crashes on a desert island.
Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to e-mail. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

main points

Libba Bray did a really good job narrating. She had such different voices for all the characters that really portrayed their personalities. And her villain voice for MoMo B. ChaCha was perfect, like something straight off of Cartoon Network. My favorite voices were for Tiara, the ‘dumb one’, and Taylor, Miss Texas.
Also, I feel like I need to mention the footnotes somewhere in this review. They were very fun, the footnotes, but a lot easier to follow in book form (yes, I read the book first, a couple years ago).
It had a very similar storyline to Lord of the Flies, or at least in the beginning. There were some definite parallels, such as the speaking baton instead of the shell (in order to speak you must be holding said object). So it wasn’t too terribly original, but I like what she did with it. She weaved in tons of messages about race and judging and prejudice and religion and LGTB stuff. Pretty much everything you could ask for. It was very honest at times, almost painfully so, like Twenty Grand. This could be either very good or very bad, but I felt like that was the whole point of this story, to directly attack society, and it definitely did that.
The story was a little predictable at times, very unpredictable at others, both in a good way. The ending was fairly predictable but the events leading up to it were not. All in all, it made for a very interesting read/listen and kept you on your toes and eager for more.
Characters (possible spoilers)
Hold tight, everyone, this section’s gonna be a long one. Also, you probably won’t have any idea who some of these people are unless you’ve read the book.
Taylor: In the beginning, it seemed like she was trying to be helpful, but I really didn’t like her. She just rubbed me the wrong way, which is amusing, because she’s Miss Texas, and I live in Texas. She also reminded me a lot of Jack from Lord of the Flies, but not because she was a total savage, more because she took over so cruelly from the one who should have been the leader, the one with more practical ideas.
She’s also very stereotypically Texan, and I should be able to prove the stereotypes wrong based on my own observations, but nah, she’s pretty spot-on, accent and all (no matter how annoying it is).
She’s also a little too religious, but I may be a bit biased on that. Nah, I’m pretty sure she goes a bit far. Even Libba Bray herself mentioned that in the interviews at the end. With the whole ‘Jesus as my co-pilot’ thing…haha.
Mary Lou: she seemed like a bit of a scaredy-cat in the beginning, but then she became fearless and made up for it. I admire her.
Nicole: Pretty typical black girl, with hair problems and race problems and all. (that probably sounded horribly racist; would it help if I mentioned I’m mixed race and therefore have everyone’s problems?)
Adina: Very powerful, has a temper, but knows how to use it. It sometimes gets in the way, but she’s mostly got a clear head on her shoulders. She seems like she’d be the only one fit to bring The Corporation down, possibly single-handedly. She’s also the only one brave enough to challenge Taylor, who dearly needed an adversary. Basically, Adina’s a total badass. I don’t agree with her all the time, but we have a lot in common, even when it comes to guys. If I were a character in the book, I’d be her.
Tiara: She’s adorable. I don’t usually love the stupid ones, but I love Tiara. She maybe has one or two smart moments in the book, which is sad, because I usually expect to see the stupid ones redeem themselves in some world-saving act (or something similar) in the end, but this didn’t exactly happen so I was disappointed. But Libba’s voice for Tiara was so believable I could have sworn she was her own person.
Shanti: I disliked her at the beginning, but I grew to like her, especially after….well, if you’ve read it, you know, but I won’t spoil here.
Sinjin St. Sinjin: Total idiot. Hated him at first. He was definitely a misogynist! But he wasn’t a total loser, I suppose, especially towards the end. And Petra did need someone…
Duff: Seemed like the perfect guy, until he did that awful thing, but then I sort of forgave him even if Adina didn’t. But I respect her decision anyhow, for her own sake, not his. Still, they would have made a good match…):
Ladybird Hope: Hated her from the start. That’s really all there is to say about it.
MoMo B. ChaCha: quite hilarious. A bit cruel, and stupid, and hopelessly in unrequited love, but still quite hilarious. And let’s not forget about General Good Times.
Tane: Not quite who I envisioned for Mary Lou, but hey, if he likes her, then cool. It works out.
Taylor (Spoilers)
*deep breath* Ok, when she went crazy, that was kind of scary. I mean really scary. That girl was dangerous. She was killing people, and stuff….I like the idea of putting songs to things, so Taylor’s song would definitely be Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. I also feel really bad for her, though, because it totally was not her fault and it should have worn off…I still don’t entirely understand that, but oh well. It happened. It was probably for the better, given what happened. But still so unfair.
It ended pretty typically, but it’s worth it to read the whole thing anyway. Still some great lines in there.

main points

I liked this book. Although it may not have been too creative, it is still a very entertaining read, and refreshingly honest. The characters are all so complex and diverse. Would I read more books by this author? Of course. Her Gemma Doyle series makes my favorite book list. Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would, particularly teenage girls or people who were once teenage girls. All in all, a very interesting book.

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Check out the notes I took while listening to this audiobook!

About Libba Bray

What is it about writing an author bio that gives me that deer-in-headlights feeling? It’s not exactly like I’m going to say “I was born in Alabama…” and somebody’s going to jump up and snarl, “Oh yeah? Prove it!” At least I hope not.
I think what gets me feeling itchy is all that emphasis on the facts of a life, while all the juicy, relevant, human oddity stuff gets left on the cutting room floor. I could tell you the facts–I lived in Texas for most of my life; I live in New York City with my husband and six-year-old son now; I have freckles and a lopsided smile; I’m allergic to penicillin.
But that doesn’t really give you much insight into me. That doesn’t tell you that I stuck a bead up my nose while watching TV when I was four and thought I’d have to go to the ER and have it cut out. Or that I once sang a punk version of “Que Sera Sera” onstage in New York City. Or that I made everyone call me “Bert” in ninth grade for no reason that I can think of. See what I mean?
God is in the details. So with that in mind, here is my bio. Sort of. [see the rest on her Goodreads page]

Overall: four-stars


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I keep seeing this book at the bookstore and now I think I should read it. Thanks for the detailed review!