Beauty Queens: A Brief History and Overview

Beauty Queens is a captivating novel written by Libba Bray. Published in 2011, this book takes readers on an exciting journey into the world of beauty pageants and challenges societal norms surrounding beauty and femininity. With its unique blend of satire, comedy, and exploration of social issues, Beauty Queens has become a popular choice among literature enthusiasts.

The Storyline

The story revolves around a group of beauty pageant contestants who find themselves stranded on a deserted island after their plane crashes during a violent storm. These young women, from diverse backgrounds and with distinct personalities, must adapt to their new surroundings and embark on a journey of self-discovery.

As the story progresses, the contestants face numerous challenges: battling the elements, finding food, and protecting themselves from unknown dangers. They have to rely on their individual strengths and work together to survive. This unexpected turn of events tests their resilience, determination, and friendship, revealing the true essence of beauty that goes beyond physical appearance.

Critical Acclaim

Beauty Queens has garnered critical acclaim for its thought-provoking narrative and engaging characters. The novel has been praised for its ability to tackle important social issues such as sexism, beauty standards, and empowerment with both humor and sincerity. Bray’s writing style masterfully balances satire and deeper reflection, making the story both entertaining and insightful.

Awards and Recognition

Beauty Queens has received several awards and nominations since its publication. It was named a Junior Library Guild selection and featured on various notable book lists, including the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults list. The novel was also recognized as a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award, which honors exceptional young adult literature.

Memorable Characters

Within the pages of Beauty Queens, readers will encounter a diverse cast of captivating characters:

1. Adina Greenberg:

Adina is a driven and intelligent contestant who dreams of becoming a successful businesswoman instead of conforming to societal expectations of beauty.

2. Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins:

Taylor is a pageant veteran known for her ambition and perfectionism. Throughout the story, she discovers her inner strength and questions the values she once held dear.

3. Nicole “Nic” Colt:

Nic is a lesbian pageant contestant who struggles with her identity and finding acceptance. Her journey towards self-acceptance and love is an important subplot in the novel.

4. Shanti Singh:

Shanti is an Indian-American contestant who experiences discrimination and racism. She emerges as a resilient and outspoken advocate for equality, challenging prejudices and stereotypes.

5. Petra West:

Petra is a transgender contestant who faces societal prejudices but remains unapologetically herself. Her storyline explores themes of transgender identity and acceptance.


Beauty Queens is an extraordinary novel that challenges societal norms and provides a refreshing take on beauty and femininity. Through a compelling storyline and well-developed characters, Libba Bray invites readers to question preconceived notions and embrace their own unique qualities. With its critical acclaim and thought-provoking narrative, you won’t want to miss out on this page-turner!

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