Reviews: Bray, Libba

Puckish Whimsy!

Beauty Queens — Libba Bray

Yesterday I said

I may or may not also review some of the works that made it onto the (Tiptree) Honor Lists and the Long Lists; the limiting factors are time, my puckish whimsy, and whether or not anyone sees fit to sponsor those reviews.


It turns out another factor is “James wrote this review before deciding to do the Tiptree Reviews and does not care to sit on it for a year.” Also, puckish whimsy!

It’s completely unfair to the books I review but … I must admit that how favourably I react to a book can depend a lot on the circumstances in which I encounter it. Case in point: Libba Bray’s 2011 novel Beauty Queens.

The novel opens with fifty contestants plus ancillary personnel on their way to the Miss Dream Teen beauty contest. Fear not that you will have to keep a bewildering array of names straight: the plane crashes on page three. Of the fifty contestants, thirteen [1] survive. Of their chaperons and other support personnel, none survive. A baker’s dozen of contestants are lost on a deserted island, far from help, left to their own devices, with only the wreckage of the plane and the skills they brought with them to help them survive.

Did I say “deserted island”? Make that “seemingly deserted island.”


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