Study Guide

Beauty Queens Plot Analysis

By Libba Bray

Plot Analysis

Exposition (Initial Situation)

Please Stay Calm

The conflict in this book is pretty immediate, but we do get a prologue told in the voice of The Corporation. It describes the pageant queens travelling, excited, toward their competition, and the pilots' content. At least, right up until something goes wrong.
But it keeps telling readers not to worry, which, naturally, makes us do the opposite. Time to panic.

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

I Will Survive

Few things say immediate conflict like a plane crash. The surviving Teen Dreams find themselves on a (seemingly) deserted island, and so must figure out how to survive. The struggle gets even more real when they have to survive not only the elements, but also The Corporation black shirts who want to kill them. Not to mention giant snakes, hallucinogenic fruit, sexy pirate men, and most dangerous of all, lots and lots of self-reflection.

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

You Held Me Down, But I Got Up

This book pulls no punches building up suspense to the climax: the scene of the beauty pageant, where the beauty queens will either be killed by disguised corporate drones, or somehow not. There's even a section called A Word from Your Sponsor right before it happens, which tells us, "The world has tuned in. It is watching." (33.35) Yeah, that's not ominous at all.

Falling Action

Scandal Afloat

The Teen Dreams manage to escape the black shirts, and being locked inside The Corporation facility while it was set to self-destruct. They set sail away on MoMo ChaCha's luxury yacht, and in an immensely satisfying scene, call in to the show where Ladybird Hope was planning to announce their deaths and release a sex tape that incriminates her. You know what they say about karma.

Resolution (Denouement)

Dance Dance Revolution

The final scene is a dance number where each girl gets to walk the runway, dancing to her own beat. It's a big uniqueness-beats-conformity moment. When they pose, the narrator gives us a glimpse of how they will turn out. A lot of entrepreneurs, political leaders, and happy mothers in this group. Survival, and then some.

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