Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beauty Queens

Even though it took me eons to get through my last Libba Bray book Beauty Queens, was a breeze!  While there was a massive layer of social commentary, the complete lack (at least to me) of the metaphysical was a big plus.

It's been a while since I made a good check list so let's list some of the best things about this book:
  • beauty queens (obviously) - some kinda dippy, some kinda witty, some that'll knock you on your butt
  • a bona fide Sarah Palin character
  • an unhinged, Elvis-obsessed dictator (no that's not the Sarah Palin character) whose top adviser is a stuffed lemur named General Good Times
  • secret plots & secret compounds
  • hilarious footnotes
  • PIRATES: swaggering, sweet-talking, British pirates!!!!*
  • the cover, which is pure genius
  • Libba Bray's writing (it kinda has a life of its own)

On their way to a preliminary part of the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant, the contestants crash on a deserted island in the Caribbean.  With only half of the contestants and none of the camera or flight crews surviving, the girls must fend for themselves.  Some of these girls have been in the pageant system for a long time and it takes them a couple of days to realized that if they want to eat anything other than a few tiny bags of pretzels they will have to work as a group for real.  Strong and distinct personalities emerge, secret hopes and fears are spoken out loud for the first time, leg hair grows out and then....pirates show up...really, really good-looking ones.  What neither the girls or the pirates know is that the island isn't actually deserted.  The Corporation, which manufactures practically every product in the United States, produces all the TV shows, and sponsors the Miss Teen Dream Beauty Pageant has a "rogue," power hungry stockholder who is scheming to secure the highest position of power - President.  The plan includes a double-crossing weapons deal with a Kim Jong Il-like dictator of a small country.

To quote Sarah Jessica Parker's character in the movie Hocus Pocus, "Amok, amok, amok, amok!"   That's how things go once the pirates and the girls discover the secret that the island holds.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Libba Bray book if there wasn't a healthy dose of romantic action and at least one GLBT character.  No one turns into a tree in this book though.

As a side note, this was the first book I read on my Nook Color.  I was a bit apprehensive at first because of the footnotes, but there was nothing to fear - it worked just fine.  The footnote numbers in the main body of text jumped to the end of the chapter and then I could hit the number by the note itself and I went right back to the storyline. 

* Who the heck needs vampires when you have pirates?  Pirates are welcome any time at my blog. 

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