Audiobook Review – Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Posted April 10, 2014 by Bonnie in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA / 4 Comments

Audiobook Review – Beauty Queens by Libba BrayBeauty Queens by Libba Bray
Narrator: Libba Bray
Published by Scholastic Audio on May 24, 2011
Length: 14 hours, 33 minutes
Genres: Contemporary, Funny-ha-ha
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library


From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, a desert island classic.

Survival. Of the fittest.

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

I’m a huge Libba Bray fan and I remember being so excited to get my hands on this when it first released. Long story short, I don’t think I got past page 10 before I DNF’d. Hearing that the audiobook was way better I figured it deserved another shot. Libba Bray herself narrates this audiobook and manages to do a different voice for each and every one of the characters. The accents were gimmicky and nowhere near authentic but they were incredibly entertaining. The audio is over 14 hours long though and it unfortunately grew a bit tiresome and added to the overall ridiculousness of the whole thing after a while.

The big thing with Beauty Queens are the ‘messages’ which tackle the unrealistic standards that all girls face (not just pageant girls) but it did oftentimes feel overdone and exaggerated. Add to that, the messages were simply too obvious and came off as preachy more than anything. In addition there was the massive amount of satire this book was steeped in. While all together the story was rather admittedly a bit over the top and incredibly goofy at times, it did have some entertaining moments. At least until the boat full of testosterone reality TV show pirates showed up. They upped the level of ridiculous for me and officially lost me. And if I was barely avoiding another DNF before, the introduction of the evil corporation trying to kill the beauty queen contestants would have been the nail in the coffin if I wasn’t already close to being finished. There was a lot of sighing and a lot of eye-rolling. Maybe I just wasn’t in a super funny mood? No clue. I realize that this is meant to be a fun and entertaining book not meant to be taken seriously at all, but it was simply too excessive for my liking.

Beauty Queens is an eclectic combination of one of those cringe-worthy parody movies, a satirical Lord of the Flies and an Austin Powers movie. I agree with the message the book aimed to prove, but I like when messages are a bit more subtle and a little less hammer to the head.


4 responses to “Audiobook Review – Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

  1. I knew there was a reason I never read this one, despite my love of Libba Bray. The premise is just ridiculous sounding, and the pirates coming in just sounds like the icing on the cake. Maybe the message is good, but how can it convince people if they don’t even want to read the book? I’ll still to Libba’s non-contemporary books. ­čÖé Great review Bonnie!
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