Over the summer we read The Uglies Quartet by Scott Westerfeld and it had very mixed results. Part of our book club really liked the first three and most stopped at part four, while others actually thought part four was more intriguing. We’ll have a review of the books up soon and in the meantime we’ll tell you what books to read next! You’ll also find some discussion questions near the end to use for your own book club.
We thought it would be interesting to delve into another YA author’s take on body image and who better to do that with than Libba Bray.
In Beauty Queens , a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island’s other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.Written by 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.
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
This novel deals with a dystopian future as well, but not one forced upon us by the government, but by ourselves. The book deals our relationship to our bodies and turning it into a commodity. A very different view on our obsession with being pretty.
A woman known only as A lives in an unnamed American city with her roommate, B, and boyfriend, C, who wants her to join him on a reality dating show called That’s My Partner! A eats mostly popsicles and oranges, watches endless amounts of television, often just for the commercials— particularly the recurring cartoon escapades of Kandy Kat, the mascot for an entirely chemical dessert—and models herself on a standard of beauty that exists only in such advertising. She fixates on the fifteen minutes of fame a local celebrity named Michael has earned after buying up a Wally’s Supermarket’s entire, and increasingly ample, supply of veal.
Meanwhile, B is attempting to make herself a twin of A, who in turn hungers for something to give meaning to her life, something aside from C’s pornography addiction. Maybe something like what’s gotten into her neighbors across the street, the family who’s begun “ghosting” themselves beneath white sheets and whose garage door features a strange scrawl of graffiti: he who sits next to me, may we eat as one.
Possible Discussion Questions:
– Are the books a warning of a future we’re headed to or do you see them as a critique on our current society?
– Does Tally ever learn that being ‘pretty’ on the outside doesn’t matter?
– Are you Team Shay of Team Tally? Would you decide to become pretty or prefer to leave for the smoke?