Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Shorts

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
published 2011
395 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. 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.

My thoughts:

This book definitely suffered from being read directly after a novel that blew me away. I did enjoy Beauty Queens, and I love that Libba Bray continually reinvents herself as an author - you can't put her in a box, and even though her ideas seem over-the-top, she's always able to deliver a strong read.

That said, it took me a L O O O N G time to feel connected to this one - I think the characters were just hard for me to feel sympathetic toward. (It might have been all the irritating teen-speak she used, which was certainly appropriate, but honestly one of my pet peeves.) Behind the fluff, however, is a smart, funny story with a great message.

" 'Maybe girls need an island to find themselves. Maybe they need a place where no one's watching them so they can be who they really are'....There was something about the island that made the girls forget who they had been. All those rules and shalt nots. They were no longer waiting for some arbitrary grade. They were no longer performing. Waiting. Hoping. They were becoming." (p. 177)

I would recommend this novel for older teens, with the caveat that even for older readers there will probably be much that some parents would find objectionable.

Finished 7/17/11
Source: South Side library
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, violence, language
My rating: 7/10

Hula Done It? (A Passport to Peril Mystery) by Maddy Hunter
published 2005
310 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

In the 4th book of the bestselling Passport to Peril series by Maddy Hunter, Emily cruises to Hawaii and a hunt for a long-lost treasure turns deadly.

My thoughts:

This series is complete fluff, but continues to be entertaining. They are a LOT like the Stephanie Plum books, which I burnt out on around #10, so I imagine I will do the same with this series eventually, but right now I'm still enjoying them. This particular mystery was not really even that mysterious - I figured out the "whodunnit" by about the halfway point - but I find Emily and her Nana to be endearing, so I don't mind. I don't think I will probably remember much about it next week, but it was fun while it lasted.

Finished: 7/21/11
Source: South Side library
MPAA rating: PG-13 for violence and hints of sexuality
My rating: 7/10


bermudaonion said...

You say complete fluff like that's a bad thing - sometimes that's exactly what I need.

Zibilee said...

I think Beauty Queens sounds fun, and I can imagine that my teenage daughter might like it too. I haven't ever read anything by Bray before, though I do have a couple of hers on my shelf. Great mini-reviews here today. Keep them coming!

Constance Reader said...

Man, I didn't expect something like this after Bray's previous books, but like you, I respect her ability to do a lot of different things with her writing. I definitely want to check it out! said...

I have heard great thing about Beauty Queens. The cover is interesting as well.

Kailana said...

I really must get back to this book... I am a bit dissatisfied with it and I want to love it...