Audiobook Review: Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens.jpg

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

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.

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

I purchased Beauty Queens (written and narrated by Libba Bray) from audible.com. 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.

Shiver

Shiver

by Maggie Stiefvater
narrated by Jenna Lamia and David LeDoux
Ⓟ 2009, Scholastic Audio
10.75 hours
As a little girl, Grace is attacked by a wolf pack. She miraculously survives, carrying with her afterwards the memory of one wolf in particular. Afters years of spying the wolf in the woods at a distance, and developing a deep-felt passion for wolves’ survival as a whole, Grace and the wolf finally edge closer; And then Grace meets Sam, with his intense yellow eyes…
Shiver is a love story about a girl and her dog. Okay, not her dog, but a boy who happens to be a werewolf. And they are both teenagers, which means plenty of angst and earnestness expressed by words spoken, words unspoken, song lyrics and meaningful looks. The story recalls all the adolescent fervor in which everything is a matter of life and death. Of course, in this modern fairy tale, this is quite literally true. There is the obvious body count as victims of wolf attacks appear; but there is also the slide away from human life into a final change into the lupine form after years of lycanthropy. The whorl of emotions and the immediacy of the pace recall the classic story of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Like R&J, the drama of Shiver plays out between the principals, young lovers who determine their own fates, driven by the force of their own feelings. Their worlds devolve around them, relegating others to the roles of supporting characters and; the reader becomes mesmerized by the ephemeral nature of each moment between the the two paramours.
Jenna Lamia and David LeDoux are the narrators of Shiver, reading passages from their characters’ respective points of view as Grace and Sam. Each voices their character with the all the whiny pathos the characters warrant. At times, David LeDoux sounds a bit more experienced than an eighteen-year old should; but overall Jenna Lamia and David LeDoux strike all the right notes, recalling what it was like to be young and in love and; trying to take control in the maelstrom of their lives.
Other Stuff: I dnloaded Shiver from Audiobook Community’s SYNC YA program this past summer (2011.)
This post is part of the Murder, Monsters, Mayhem feature being hosted by Jennifer L. at http://www.jennsbookshelves.com.


This book also qualifies for the Where Are You Reading? Challenge hosted by Sheila at her blog, Book Journey. Shiver takes place in Mercy Falls, Minnesota.

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