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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American Born Chinese- Gene Luen Yang


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American Born Chinese might be my favorite book of 2009.  It was so much FUN to read.  I laughed out loud several times, from the dialogue and the illustrations.  Written in the format of a graphic novel it follows three story lines that come together at the end.  It took me a minute to figure out the connection at the end, but it worked.  Though I’m not an immigrant or the child of immigrants, I have several friends who are- and the references to what life is like in a new country seem to be spot on.  There is nothing preachy in the story- but it does touch on the issues of racism, fitting in, crushes, and general teenage angst.  I am definitely going to be buying a copy of this book to keep in my future classroom.  This book would be appropriate for middle and high school students.  I’d be interested to hear if other people love it as much as I did!

 

Awards:

2007 Printz Award Winner
National Book Award finalist
American Library Association best Book for Young Adults, Top Ten List
Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Booklist Editors’ Choice Book
San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
NPR Holiday Pick
amazon.com Best Graphic Novel/Comic of the Year