This book is a roller-coaster of wacky and snark. The Corporation starts us out by talking to readers directly, telling us not to be afraid. Yeah, okay. Then it describes a plane crashing. On board are teen beauty queen contestants from all 50 states. She is Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins, and she is extremely bossy and even more perky.
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This book is a roller-coaster of wacky and snark. The Corporation starts us out by talking to readers directly, telling us not to be afraid. Yeah, okay. Then it describes a plane crashing. On board are teen beauty queen contestants from all 50 states. She is Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins, and she is extremely bossy and even more perky. Which is worse? Taylor wants everyone to practice their pageant routines, while Adina protests that they should be focusing on survival—you know, trivial things like finding water and shelter.
They decide to elect a group leader, but unfortunately, Adina brags too much in her campaign speech very unladylike and Taylor wins by a landslide. The girls go to sleep by a campfire, with Adina taking first watch. She sees lights flickering in the distance. Turns out those lights are coming from a corporation inside a volcano.
Yeah, you read that right. The scene switches to a man named Agent Jones video-chatting with his boss about the girls on the island. The boss says that nothing can interfere with Operation Peacock, and the official word should be that the plane crash had no survivors. The plot thickens. The next morning, the girls are in pageant prep mode. At least, until a monsoon starts and waves chase the girls back into the island. As they run, they scatter into three groups.
Jennifer runs deep into the jungle. She encounters a new beauty queen carrying a spear. Good combo? Meanwhile, Petra, Nicole, Shanti, and Tiara are walking back to the beach, and Tiara eats a star-shaped fruit. She seems okay, so they all eat the fruit. They each go into weird dream-states that show their insecurities: Shanti about not being in control or likeable, Nicole about becoming nothing more than what her mother and society want her to be, and Petra about becoming her true self.
Back to Agent Jones. They go into a meeting, and Agent Jones describes Operation Peacock. Everyone eventually makes it back to the beach, and the Teen Dreams have a meeting. They decide this time to focus on survival ya think? The teen dreams create fishing lines, find fish-cooking methods, and build huts.
They also all construct weapons using beauty products. And they do it all with those prize-winning, pearly-white smiles. Mary Lou loses her purity ring, which is supposedly her protection against the curse of being a "wild woman. With it off, she runs naked through the jungle and encounters a boy name Tane, who claims to be a student studying the science of birds on the island. The next day, Tane tells her the truth: his people are actually from the island.
Nicole heads out into the jungle and finds the ruins and temple. Shanti, who has followed her, accuses her of trying to get ahead. But specifically, Shanti thinks the judges will only allow one non-white contestant into the top five. Getting too real? As she calls for Nicole to help her, her voice changes from a British-inflected Indian accent to straight-up Valley Girl. Nicole tries to help her but gets pulled in, too.
When they return to camp, Jennifer has fixed the radio. Taylor comes across some men in black shirts talking. Taylor reveals herself and beats them up like a ninja seriously?
Tay Tay? Thinking she ate the fruit, the girls find Taylor and carry her back to camp, but Taylor, mind-addled, sneaks into the jungle. They find her babbling to herself and constructing a fake sculpture of a beauty pageant contestant.
Adina takes charge of the group. Time for another twist. A boat sails toward them and hits a rocky cliff, tearing a hole in its side. The girls rescue the boys on the ship, who turn out to be the actors on Captain Bodacious, a reality TV show about good-looking British schoolboys-turned-pirates. The captain, Sinjin, likes Petra, while a crew member named Duff chases after Adina.
The beauty queens and pirates get to know each other as they repair the ship. Sinjin and Petra pair off, and that seems to work out. Duff, on the other hand, convinces Adina to have sex with him, but Adina finds out the next day that he filmed it, which puts him up there with The Corporation in terms of bad eggs.
Adina finds a body in the water. They secretly sail away in the night. Way to not take responsibility, guys. Are we feeling the critique on gender relations yet? In the morning, Mary Lou searches for Tane. She witnesses men going into the volcano, but a gun is put to her head before she can return to tell the others. The rest of the Teen Dreams wake up, and after dealing with their disbelief that the pirates left with the ship, they look for Mary Lou.
Agent Jones finds them first. On the bright side, the girls are fed and allowed to shower. Then they Skype with Ladybird Hope, who asks them to do a pageant on the island to show their gratitude for the Corporation. The girls reluctantly agree. Later, in bed, they start suspecting that something is wrong. Why would they let Mary Lou leave and ask the rest of them to stay for a pageant?
They leave Harris in the caves and come up with a plan. MoMo ChaCha hears about the pageant when he arrives on the island and insists on watching. The girls run into the jungle as it goes off, and have several face-offs with Corporation black shirts. Harris almost kills Tiara and Petra, but a giant snake swallows him just in time. Thanks, giant snake. Everyone takes cover in The Corporation break room. Ladybird Hope appears onscreen, telling them she has enough footage to frame MoMo for their death.
Then she locks all the doors and programs the building to self-destruct. During the countdown, Agent Jones, who has been shot with his own hallucinogenic darts, tells them they have to make a Powerpoint to shut down the self-destruct.
Microsoft Office to the rescue! Luckily, they know how to stack a good slide deck. On the air, they wave, blame Ladybird, and release the sex tape. But the girls are pretty tough by now, so they move on. The novel ends with a montage. The empowered Teen Dreams all dance, and we get little "where are they now" sketches of their futures. Hint: they all do pretty well. The voice of the prologue is that of The Corporation, which seems to sell beauty products, but does a little more, too.
It encourages us to report anything suspicious, and defines suspicious as "an idea that challenges the status quo. A scene is set: a plane carrying 50 beauty pageant contestants, a pilot in the cockpit noticing flames coming from the engine, one girl leading the rest in a comforting song about Jesus.
The engine cuts out, and the plane nosedives toward an island. Chapter 1 This chapter starts with Adina waking up on a beach while another girl leans over her with concern. They keep talking about their designer shoes while lifeless bodies and evening dresses float by them in the water.
How very organized. She leads the girls in a prayer except for Adina, who is Jewish. Adina suggests a role call to see who has survived. Twelve girls identify themselves. At least, those are the ones worth knowing about. The girls are organized into two teams: one to tend to the wounded and salvage supplies, and the other to search the jungle for survivors.
They name their teams the Sparkle Ponies and the Lost Girls. To encourage girls to join the search party, Taylor invokes the pageant sponsor Ladybird Hope, a former pageant winner whose platform is Being Perfect in Every Way. Ladybird had saved the Miss Teen Dream pageant by securing sponsors to prevent it being replaced by a reality show about Amish girls called Girls Gone Rumspringa.
Early life[ edit ] Libby Bray was born in Montgomery, Alabama. She and her family moved to West Virginia for a brief period, then to Corpus Christi, Texas and finally to Denton, Texas , where Bray attended high school. She had to undergo thirteen surgeries over six years to reconstruct her face, and has an artificial left eye because of the accident. As a budding playwright , she felt it important to be in New York City. When her childhood best friend, already living in Manhattan , called saying she was looking for a roommate, Bray moved to New York. Before this, using a pseudonym , she had written three books for 17th Street Press a publisher of romances.