Wednesday, August 31, 2011

RTW: Summer Lovin' Take Three!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:

What was the best book you read in August?

My August reads:

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Abandon by Meg Cabot

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Sent by Margaret Peterson

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

Freefall by Mindi Scott

Monster High by Lisi Harrison

The Ghoul Next Door by Lisi Harrison

Favorite book in August? Don't they mean books? Look at that list! Shut Out is beyond amazing. Freefall has been added to my Best Boy Books Ever list. Thanks to Mandy Hubbard I want to read every siren book available. And then I Am Number Four...GAH! And Stolen? Double GAH!

Okayyeah, August reading was amazeballs. But even in that reading bucket of awesomesauce, one clearly stood out as Best August Read.

Here's the Good Reads blurb...

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

Why do I like this book so much? What made me choose it above Shut Out and geez, I didn’t even mention the awesomeness that is Abandon.

Maybe it’s Libba Bray’s snarkasm. Maybe it’s because I watch (and thoroughly enjoy) Miss Congeniality every time it’s on television. Maybe I just like bodacious pirates. But this book had me at hello. I mean, if the cover’s not enough to get you to read, the opening Word from Our Sponsor will. And then the crash where you meet the survivors. And then…okay trust me, the story starts out awesome and proceeds to superfabulicious.

Oh, and PS—I haven’t LOLed so much since will grayson, will grayson.

So here’s the real deal with our Teen Dream contestants. They crash on an island secretly and privately owned by The Corporation, the Teen Dream Pageant sponsor and maker of all things glamorous. The Corporation is responsible for every beautifying product, every hot reality TV show, everything any consumer could want. And, of course, they’re also responsible for a few shady things too.

But the surviving beauty contestants think they’ve just crashed onto a remote desert island and that they will be rescued very soon. After all, how can life possibly go on without Miss Teen Dream? They absolutely must keep up their pageant practice and eternal beautification. But very soon does not come soon enough, and the girls learn to survive, learn to lean on each other, and most importantly, they learn to embrace who they really are.

Yes, it’s billed as a satire, and it is a hilarious dig at modern society and its values, but it’s so, so much more than that.

To close out my review, I leave you with some of my favorite characters, footnotes, and Corporation hilarities (all courtesy of Beauty Queens):

Favorite characters (and their Fun Facts! Yay!)

The feral Mary Lou aka Miss Nebraska: “The most important quality in a friend is to be yourself. Unless you’re not a very nice person. Then you should try to be somebody else.”

The snarktastic Adina aka Miss New Hampshire: Her favorite Corporation show is the news. If you can call it that.

The ambiguous Petra aka Miss Rhode Island: Her favorite novel is Orlando, by Virginia Woolf (side note: Pageant official says she should change this to something more “relatable,” like I Love You So Much I Forgot To Have a Real Life.)

Miss New Mexico: because she has half of an airline serving tray lodged in her forehead, er…permanently

And I really have another fave, but I think it would spoil things for you. You’ll just have to read the book, and then see if you can read my mind.

Best Corporation Product (Courtesy of Commercial Breaks):

New Maxi-Pad Pets: Accessories for your period. Brought to you by The Corporation: In your home and in your pants.

Discomfort Wear: shapewear designed to eliminate rolls, ripples, and muffin tops. In some cases known to eliminate circulation and breathing. If you’re not uncomfortable, it’s not Discomfort Wear.

Favorite Quote:

“Do you think my new feminism makes me look fat?” Tiara aka Miss Mississippi (PS—don’t ask her to spell her home state. Or douche bag. Just sayin’).

Favorite math-y thought:

His bare chest was an advertisement for living shirtless. Oh God. She was objectifying him. Reducing the sum of him to the hotness of his parts.

Favorite Footnotes:

Babez Dolls: the most popular toy for girls ages 4-10. Known for their over-size heads and fabulous accessories, including the Babez Peacock-Feather Sports Bra and te Babez Rockin’ Doc Cubic Zirconia Stethoscope Microphone and Peel-away Lab Coat. Total sales annually: one billion.

UConnect: a social networking site perfect for wasting your time posting quizzes and party pics, until you discover that your mom and dad are on there reconnecting with old high school friends and leaving you hideously cutesy messages on your wall.

Best personal motto: WWWWD (What Would Wonder Woman Do?)

Favorite Corporation sponsored reality shows:

Trollin’ on Delaware Beach (Trolls reveling and enticing college girls to their place under the bridge)

Girls Gone Rumspringa: reality show about Amish girls rooming with strippers

Favorite TV Title:

Your Blood is Like, So Hot: the premium cable TV series about small-town predatory hemophiliacs who lie around looking anemic and sexy while trying not to bruise. Based on the French drama Le Monde C’est La Mienne (rough translation: Life is pain. Here is some soft cheese.)

Favorite bad guy:

MoMo B. Chacha, ruler of the republic of ChaCha. Infatuated with Elvis and LadyBird Hope, the most famous Miss Teen Dream who ever lived. He has a stuffed lemur named General Good Times.


I love this book. I’m buying it for myself for my birthday.

PS—my fabulous writer friend Tracey Neithercott is hosting an online book club. I’m in! If you want to be a part of the fun, check it out here.

How about YOU? What was your favorite August read?


  1. I started reading this a while ago but wasn't able to get into it. maybe I'll have to pick it back up now! :)

  2. Okay so, I was ROTFLMAO-ing just reading the little tidbits you chose to share with us :) I would likely not even pick up this book--probably scared off by the bikini bod--BEFORE reading your post. Now I think I might just have to check it out...Hilarious!

  3. How was Ripple? I've been dying to get my hands on it just don't have the time to sit down and read it!

    The cover also made me wary of picking this book up but those tidbits from the Corporation have me rethinking this.

  4. You read tons of books this month! I can't wait to read Beauty Queens. It's there. With everything else.

  5. Okay, I'm sold. I can no longer wait and have to read this book right now.

  6. I'm going to admit that I skipped your review, but only because I'm only 75 pages in to BEAUTY QUEENS and I want to experience the rest of its awesomeness unaware. :) Your list of books read is impressive!

  7. HA HA HA HA HA. I actually have BEAUTY QUEENS but haven't read it yet. But I'm dying with those quotes. This book seems like so much fun.

    Thanks for the shout out! The more the merrier. :)

  8. Ah, a fellow teacher! Pop in and let me know what you thought of Twenty Boy Something. This is fun isn't it?!

  9. Withering Tights looks interesting. What did you think of that one? I just finished up James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet's WITCH & WIZARD. It was a bit light on setting, but made up for it in action. I can't wait to pick up THE GIFT. Apparently, WITCH & WIZARD is being made into a movie, too!

  10. The best book that I read in August was American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

  11. I've heard so many mixed things about this book, but your quotes sold me. Have you consdered writing copy for the Corporation?

  12. You had a month full of awesome reads! I've been wanting to pick up Beauty Queens--Libba Bray is genius. What a great concept. I have a theory that it's going to end up being Truman Show-esque, but with Libba Bray, who the f knows? Haha...

  13. That book sounds hilarious. And you gotta love snark.

  14. Holy crap did you do tons of reading last month! I'm impressed! Love your review of BEAUTY QUEENS and all your "favorites." It WAS a really fun read!

    Oh, and I'm glad you liked STOLEN and FREEFALL. Love both of those!

  15. I loved the politics of Beauty Queens. She is such an amazing writer.

  16. Busy reading month! They all sound wonderful, though. Glad you made it through the hurricane! :-)


  17. All of those books sound awesome! I've been wanting to read some of those. Loved Miss Congeniality and may just have to read Beauty Queens.

  18. Wow that's a lot of reading. I love anything funny, you've pitched it really well. The Doctor's Lady is by far best August read and The Minpins by Roald Dahl was pretty good too :)

  19. I like the sound of this. Will keep an eye out for it.


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