Audiobook Review: Beauty Queens

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Beauty Queens
Written and narrated by Libba Bray
Ⓟ 2011, Scholastic Audio
14 hrs and 37 mins

Beauty Queens is an amazing book: fun, satirical, and containing a lot of important messages about being a girl/young woman today, dealing with body image, impressions, sexuality, and relationships. A planeload of American teen-aged girls on their way to a beauty pageant crash and end up on a tropical island with its inherent dangers of a volcano, very large insects, lack of supermarkets or spas… The island itself serves as a crucible within which the girls must hone their instincts and prove their mettle in order to survive. In listening, The Lords of the Flies, Survivor, and Miss USA pageants all come to mind; but without the viciousness. Or talking pig’s head.

The narration was akin to a one-woman show. Libba Bray  does the entirety of the material and is obviously enjoying herself! It’s quite the parade of regional accents; but there are a couple of issues stemming from plosives at the beginning of the recording (“puh” sounds when the narrator gets too close to the mic and pronounces words beginning or ending with “p”); a couple of the characters lose their accents in a couple of places; and the narrator doesn’t take one of her own textual cues (e.g. One of the girls was to have a had a “slight” British accent that ended up being a full bore accent.) For all that though, you mostly know who is speaking during any given dialogue; and overall the performance is impressive.

It’s marketed to girls 11-13; but may find a better audience in a slightly older demographic (13-17) both for the content and writing level. There is an interesting interview with the author at the end of the audiobook; which is also relevant to the messages in the book and should not be missed.

 I listened to this audiobook on recommendation from @BethFishReads and you can read her review of Beauty Queens on her blog,

I purchased Beauty Queens (written and narrated by Libba Bray) from I receive no monies, goods (beyond the audiobook) or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.