Beauty Queens- Libba Bray

Beauty Queens

Review:

This was one of the books I downloaded onto my Kindle to read while on vacation this summer.  It was by far my FAVORITE summer read.  I   found this book to be laugh out loud hilarious and ended up reading excerpts aloud to my parents while we were on a 12 hour car trip.

The story follows a group of teen beauty queens who have been stranded on a desert island.  The cast of characters is incredible.  Girly girls, pretty boys, gay, straight, transgender, black, white, and more.  The references to current pop culture are abundant and cleverly done.  Bray examines our cultural norms in such a way that we can laugh at ourselves.

This book is definitely a book for females.  There are some strong discussions about sexuality that are extremely well done, though may make some young people who have not yet started to explore that area of themselves uncomfortable.  For that reason, and for many of the references I think this book is best suited for older high school students, and even first or second year college students.  I would be comfortable having it in my classroom.

This really makes me want to go back and read Going Bovine, Bray’s Printz winning novel that I never finished.

The Lowdown: (from Scholastic.com)

Interest Level: 9th grade

Grade Level: 5.3

AWARDS:

A 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in Young Adult Literature

2012 Audie Award Winner for Best Narration by the Author

2012 Audie Award Nomination for Best Teen Audiobook

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Wintergirls- Laurie Halse Anderson (ARC)

I just finished reading my Advance Reader Copy of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I LOVED it.  I read it straight through in about three hours.  It centers on an 18 year old high school senior, Lia’s struggle with anorexia, self-injury, and grief.  I found the story to show a very clear picture of the struggles that teens suffering from these afflictions.  It is obvious that Anderson did her research.  It is easy to identify with all of the characters in the novel.  Along with the major issues addressed, Anderson touches on familial relationships and the nature of teen friendships.  Though this is a realistic fiction there are parts that seem more fantastical in nature- but I feel are open to interpretation.  (I know that’s vague, I don’t want to spoil anything!)

 

I HIGHLY recommend this book.  It can be used in a high school classroom, or recommended as an option for independent reading.  The book is set to hit the shelves March 18th.

Teachers and Librarians can find a discussion guide here to use with their classes or book groups.

Anderson also provides links to information about eating disorders on the Wintergirls website.