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?
This is one of the funniest books I have read in a very long time! The characters are full of silly quirks, for example, Miss New Mexico has a lunch tray embedded in her forehead for the entirety of the novel from the plane crash. Doesn’t that just make you want to read this book?
It took me a few chapters to figure it out, to really get into the writing style, though. It almost reminded me of Jellicoe Road in that you kind of have to push yourself at the beginning. Most of the book is told in a satirical tone that is very hard to describe. For example, at the beginning, Bray talks in a voice similar to the one you read in the summary above. But the farther you read, the more the depth of the characters becomes obvious. They are real, relatable people with problems and fears and prejudices just like we are.
There is no *one* romantic plot, as there are something like 16 girls stuck on the island, and about as many pirates. Libba Bray does a wonderful job of making the group of seemingly shallow beauty queens as diverse as people are in current America. There is no typical relationship in the novel, and I like that, because what is a ‘typical’ relationship, anyway? (hint- it doesn’t exist)
A lot of people complain about “excessive” footnotes in this novel, but I didn’t think it was excessive at all. I mean, compared to some stuff David Foster Wallace writes, there were no footnotes at all. It’s just part of the novel’s style to have a lot of footnotes.
This book is unlike any I’ve ever read, in a good and a bad way. It is a book that I certainly wouldn’t recommend to everyone, but one that many will like and identify with. The writing and plotting is impressive and advanced, and just all around a great read! As long as you try to come into reading this book without preconceptions or expectations, I believe you’ll enjoy it.
PS. I forgot to mention- this is a classic case of why you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. The cover reflects the bubblegum-esque, shallow style of the earlier parts of the novel, not the novel itself. Don’t let it put you off of the book!