Audibook Review: Beauty Queens, or why Libba Bray is sheer genius!
Written AND NARRATED BY: Libba Bray
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Release Date: 2011
How acquired: Library copy
The Top Ten Reasons the Beauty Queens audiobook is your next required reading:
10. Have you seen the cover?! Plus it totally comes into play at the end of the book. You had me at lipstick bandolier!
9. The book includes both transgender and lesbian characters written with humor and spirit-yay for some fun and thoughtful GLBT representation!
8. Girls do the complete opposite of Lord of the Flies-they start off snarky and end up bonding together. I always wanted to write a book in response to Goldings’ Hobbsonian treatise, and Libba has crafted it exactly right-women will work together rather than go all Lost/Survivor on each other!
7. Feminism is portrayed as the positive, normal concept that it is, and all the girls learn its value through the book; yay for feminism explanations that make sense and aren’t dumbed down or radicalized!
6. Footnotes. are. awesome. I love the absurdly dry witted commentary about what each reality show/beauty product/dictator’s stuffed pet is all about. Plus the chirpy “TM” made me laugh every time.
5. The book is awesome as audio-there is background music for every corporation commercial and hilarious commentary by typical-beauty queen contestant Tiara about what CD number we are on (“Disc 3-Britney has 3 nipples…”).
4. Where else can you read a book with an Elvis-Presley impersonating dictator, a pageant contestant with a tray table embedded in her forehead, a beauty product that turns into a deadly weapon, a Texas pageant winner with a secret penchant for crazy and much, much more?!
3. This book-is truly HI-LAR-I-OUS! It mocks all that is absurd about American society-from reality television to inane television commercials (Maxi Pad Pets anyone?)- but is so fresh and original that I never really knew what was going to happen.
2. LIBBA BRAY FREAKIN’ READS THE BOOK! How else would you know that Ladybird Hope is a brilliant parody of Sarah Palin or be able to understand the nuances of each distinct character? How on earth Libba are you this freakin’ talented that you write the best book I’ve read in a LOOONNNGGG time AND read it better than any professional reader I’ve heard? WOW-you have skills!
1. It has given me heart in that I can raise a teenage girl (current age, 6 months) because we can read this book together and discuss the end message -girls rock, don’t apologize or demean yourself because corporations attempt to sell a problematic image of what girls/women should be. Thank you for giving me a book that says everything I want to tell my daughter (and the high school girls I teach) and also be hysterically awesome!
Check out the fun Libba-Bray-interviews-Libba-Bray interview about Beauty Queens (with cool info like the fact that David Levithan-yes Stacy-your favorite-David!-gave Libba the idea to write this book!) here.
Final Note to Libba:
As the “Forever YA” blog puts it, “In Libba We Trust!” And while lucky ducks Stacy, Shannan and “Fangirl Nancy” got to meet you at the Austin Teen Book Festival (you gave the keynote-AWESOME!), Amanda and I just wallowed in our own self-pity in Ohio. We all gave a collective *squeal* when you started following us on Twitter, and we can’t wait to have many more fangirl moments when we talk with you, read your books/tweets/blog posts, or just revel in your awesomeness. I, Sarah, will also be totally fangirling you (not stalking as we at Girls in the Stacks are not creepy-just huge YA fans) at NCTE in Nov! Until then, please know we here at GitS LOVE YOU!