Teen beauty queens. A Lost-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. 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.**
Many have compared this book to Lord of the Flies, and while the premise is pretty similar, I saw Beauty Queens as YA's answer to Mean Girls. Never has a book so accurately portrayed the strange land known as "Girl World." Bray offers a riotous commentary on consumerism, pageant culture, and gender norms.
Pick it: For Taylor Renee Crystal Hawkins (aka Miss Texas), the self-appointed leader of the plane-wrecked girls; for Ladybird Hope (a stand-in for a certain former governer and hockey mom from Alaska, maybe?); and for all the rest of the wonderfully diverse, quirky girls you meet in this book.
Skip it: Don't skip it! This is my pick for best book of 2012, so I think everyone should at least give it a try!
Pair with: Cinderella Ate My Daughter, in which famous sociologist Peggy Orenstein gets to the bottom of the new (and potentially problematic) definition of "girly."
Reviewed by: Melissa