Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

This is a review for the soon-to-be released YA novel ‘Beauty Queens’, by one of my favorite YA authors, Libba Bray.  It will be available in bookstores on May 24th.  While I received this book through the Amazon Vine program at no charge, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Beauty Queens should be required reading for all girls over the age of 12.  If you yourself know anyone who is or has ever been a girl (or would like to be one) or if you yourself are or were a girl (or would like to be one) you should read this book.

What kind of book is this?  I can’t even say.  It is not a spoof of Lord of the Flies.  It is not a picture-less comic book.  It is not a schmaltzy girl-power book.  It is not a coming-of-age story.  But it is kind of all of those things–a little bit.  In the best of ways.  And includes a pinch of The Sound of Music, exploding cosmetics, and a pirate in drag.  What more could you ask for in a book?

If you think this review is a little odd, read the book.  You’ll understand and you won’t be sorry you spent the time or the money.  This is the strangest book I’ve ever loved.  No.  That’s inaccurate.  This is the strangest book I’ve ever read, and I loved it.
I marked pages whilst reading it and then returned to those pages having absolutely no idea why I marked them.  I read sentences over and over again, delighting in the absurdity of the combination of words (and situations) that somehow work.  The last sentence of chapter thirty-six is one of the most ridiculous and awesome sentences ever written.  And the imagery…oh the imagery!  That Libba Bray can paint such a clear picture of such an insane world is truly a testament to her writing ability.  Bravo!

Did I mention that you should read this book?  Because you really, really should.

A cautionary note:  If you do not get sarcasm, you should not read this book.  Portions of it would be very dangerous indeed, if interpreted literally.

Another cautionary note (mainly for my students and their parents): This book contains graphic language, violence, and sexual situations.  It didn’t bother me.  If it will bother you, don’t read this book.