Study Guide

Beauty Queens What's Up With the Ending?

By Libba Bray

What's Up With the Ending?

The final number is almost a montage. In their getaway yacht, the girls are partying. While Shanti DJs, each beauty queen gets to walk the runway in their own ensemble, dancing their own way. While they pose, the narration tells us how they will turn out.

Hint: really well.

For a book that discusses a lot of huge, societal problems, it sure seems to wrap up with a nice, neat bow.

But think about what came before: not much societal change. The girls exposed The Corporation's crimes, which included serious stuff like treasonous arms deals and human trafficking. That's serious stuff. But all the media can focus on is Ladybird Hope's sex scandal. Sigh.

In the end, the world is not a better place. Sure, Ladybird Hope has to face justice, but all those arms deals and human trafficking problems? Not solved.

Okay, back to the happy stuff. The individual girls in the book are better and happier than when they started.

So what does it all mean? Could Bray be telling us that even if societal change is out of our control, embracing ourselves and taking charge of our own lives is? The final runway number does feel really optimistic, almost like a utopia, like Bray is saying: this is who you can become. Just don't get too depressed when you can't change the world around you, too. At least, not right away.

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