Study Guide

Jennifer Huberman (Miss Michigan) in Beauty Queens

By Libba Bray

Jennifer Huberman (Miss Michigan)

Panther Out of Water

Jennifer isn't like the other beauty queens, and it's obvious right from the start. She's described as having "real curves and a pantherlike walk" (6.112). She grew up poor and she's been in juvie. She's doing the beauty pageant as part of a program to help kids with bad pasts turn their lives around. She didn't even win her state competition—she came in third. She's only there because the top two couldn't come.

In short, she's a fish out of water. And in more ways than one.

Jennifer loves comic book heroes: larger-than-life characters who kick butt. Not your typical beauty queen material. But even with those role models, she doesn't have much faith in herself. She doesn't even ask Sosie out even though she likes her. Sosie finds out Jennifer's interested by seeing her draw a comic of them in love.

Getting Down with her Bad Self

The big turning point for Jennifer is about fixing the radio. It's sounds small, but it's an important job because it's the girls' only possible connection to the outside world:

"They were counting on her. That in and of itself was an odd feeling. Nobody counted on her. Back home, she'd been written off so many times and by so many people, she'd begun to feel like a comic book character who'd died but wouldn't stay down." (11.64)

Jennifer takes the fact that the other girls (especially Sosie) believe she can do it seriously, and keeps working on the radio until she gets it up and running. That's how she changes from someone who doesn't quite fit in to a useful member of the group.

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