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by Libba Bray

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 24th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-439-89597-2
Publisher: Scholastic

This inventive satire mocks celebrity culture while celebrating the resilience of teen girls.

Printz Award–winning author Bray (Going Bovine, 2009) plunges into cultural criticism with her latest teen novel. The plane carrying the 50 Miss Teen Dream Pageant contestants crashes on a remote desert island, and the survivors must channel the skills that made them successful on runways to keep themselves alive until they can be rescued. (“From Ladybird Hope’s I’m Perfect and You Can Be Too, Chapter Three: ‘A lady’s quick thinking can save a bad situation.’ She was talking about putting nail polish on a runner in your hose, but I think the same rule applies here.”) Unfortunately, their sponsor decides there is better press in avenging their deaths than in mounting a rescue and sets that scenario in motion. An encounter with the stars of a pirate-themed reality-TV show highlights their vulnerability. By now, though, genuine survival skills have been honed, and the teens foil the dastardly plot. While the foibles of today’s media/celebrity/political culture are the clear target of this stinging satire, the teen cast is funny and endearing in its own right. As the story unfolds, each girl’s back story and actions under duress reveal a unique character.

The humor is both dark and madcap, including footnote asides and commercial scripts that keep the laughs coming. (Fiction. 14 & up)