Study Guide

Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens Summary

Reader, be warned! This book is a roller-coaster of wacky and snark. Like the beauty pageant passengers on the plane that's about to nosedive, you're in for a ride.

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.

Adina (Miss New Hampshire) and Mary Lou (Miss Nebraska) find each other first on the beach. Soon a girl with a Texan twang calls for all the survivors' attention. She is Taylor Rene Krystal Hawkins, and she is extremely bossy and even more perky. Which is worse? You'll just have to wait and see.

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. After they both almost get killed by a giant snake, Jennifer learns that the girl's name is Sosie, and she's Miss Illinois. Sosie leads Jennifer to a ruined temple where she's found military rations, plus several jars of Lady 'Stache Off, a hair removing product. 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. Uh-oh: turns out it's hallucinogenic. 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. It's pretty existential.

Back to Agent Jones. He's dealing with a dumb intern named Harris, the son of the company's former CEO. They go into a meeting, and Agent Jones describes Operation Peacock. The gist is that The Corporation wants to set up shop on the island of a crazy dictator, MoMo ChaCha, and he's cool with it but wants explosives in exchange. There's a ban on trading with him, so the operation is covert (um, like a peacock?). The Corporation has hidden explosives inside jars of one of Lady 'Stache Off.

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?). But to make it less dull, they'll treat finding ways to survive as a pageant category. 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.

The whole group (except Taylor, who keeps practicing) has a campfire where they talk about what they miss and don't miss about their former lives. They decide that instead of a beauty pageant, they'd love to hold a Girl Con where they could lead workshops on things they're good at (but have makeovers too—can't go too far astray). Taylor admonishes them for giving up on Miss Teen Dream, but they say that after all they've built, they're beyond beauty pageants.

They're turning out to be beyond other things they took for granted, too. Mary Lou loses her purity ring, which is supposedly her protection against the curse of being a "wild woman." Right.

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. She kisses him, because that's the natural response to bird students. The next day, Tane tells her the truth: his people are actually from the island. A company called The Corporation kicked his people off the island and now he's trying to find The Corporation and spy on it.

Nicole heads out into the jungle and finds the ruins and temple. Shanti, who has followed her, accuses her of trying to get ahead. When Nicole asks why Shanti doesn't like her, Shanti admits it's because she sees Nicole as competition. Um, aren't they all competition in this pageant thing? But specifically, Shanti thinks the judges will only allow one non-white contestant into the top five.

Getting too real? Well, that's when she starts to sink into quicksand.

As she calls for Nicole to help her, her voice changes from a British-inflected Indian accent to straight-up Valley Girl. Shanti admits that she pretended to be more like the judges' dream version of an immigrant to be more likeable (social commentary alert!). Nicole tries to help her but gets pulled in, too. But after that much racial awareness, the two main characters of color—and more social commentary—can't be killed off, so eventually the girls find a root and pull themselves out.

When they return to camp, Jennifer has fixed the radio. The contestants listen to an interview with The Corporation CEO Ladybird Hope, who says that they've called off the search, presuming the girls dead. Taylor can't believe the pageant would abandon her, so she runs into the jungle.

Taylor comes across some men in black shirts talking. They say they're going to kill the Teen Dream contestants because they don't want any rescuers arriving and observing their activities on the island. Taylor reveals herself and beats them up like a ninja (seriously? Tay Tay?), but as she runs away, Agent Jones shoots her with four tranquilizer darts, which are full of juice from hallucinogenic fruit.

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. Needless to say, they don't realize Taylor's been beating down on black shirts who keep trying to sneak toward the beach to kill the girls.

Adina takes charge of the group. Mary Lou tells them about Tane, but when she tries to lead the girls to him, he isn't there.

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. This paragraph sounds like a joke, but it's not.

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. She cries to Mary Lou, and Mary Lou punches Duff out. Fair.

Adina finds a body in the water. The pirates, who are on the run from The Corporation after witnessing human trafficking, worry that they've brought danger to the girls. 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. He pretends he's rescuing them and takes them into The Corporation's volcano-building, and tells them Mary Lou has gone home. Suspicious. They feel like something's wrong, so they don't tell him about Taylor.

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 sneak around to try to figure out what's going on. They're caught by Harris, who tells them The Corporation is going to kill them during their pageant and blame their deaths on MoMo ChaCha. The Teen Dreams tie up Harris and find Mary Lou and Tane. They leave Harris in the caves and come up with a plan.

The girls practice their "pageant" while Adina goes into the jungle to ask Taylor for help, but Taylor doesn't seem to be coherent enough. MoMo ChaCha hears about the pageant when he arrives on the island and insists on watching.

The pageant starts out normally until it's time for the interview portion. Adina asks the questions, and Shanti casually brings up how corporations have treated the island's native people. Burn. Speaking of burn, their plan is to ignite Lady 'Stache Off bombs at the audience with a flame-thrower, but the flame-thrower gets stuck and they can't activate the bombs. Bummer.

Then Taylor's sculpture shows up—which is a perfect distraction, and also a bomb. 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.

Mary Lou and Tane commandeer MoMo's yacht in the meantime, and Mary Lou finds a tape of MoMo and Ladybird having sex. This is definitely the climax (and we're not just talking MoMo and Ladybird).

Everyone takes cover in The Corporation break room. Ladybird Hope appears onscreen, telling them she has enough footage to frame MoMo for their death. She presses a button and MoMo's shoes explode, killing him. 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.

There is what feels like an eruption (it's not the volcano: it's the Lady 'Stache Off bombs going off) and Nicole comes to on MoMo's yacht. She's just in time for the Teen Dreams to call into the talk show where Ladybird had planned to announce their deaths. On the air, they wave, blame Ladybird, and release the sex tape.

So they're home free, except for one weird thing. The sex scandal ends up overtaking all other news, including the fact that The Corporation tried to kill them and deal arms with ChaCha, which you'd sort of think would be even more serious. 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.

  • Prologue

    A Word From Your Sponsor

    • This prologue gets right to the point: "This book begins with a plane crash." (P.1)
    • It follows this promising line up by telling us, the readers, not to worry. Whew.
    • 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." (P.2)
    • The Corporation also hints that there may be the threat of war, and in the same paragraph, tells us "This is a happy story." (P.4) Encouraging.
    • 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. We learn that Adina is Miss New Hampshire and the other girl is Mary Lou, Miss Nebraska.
    • They're both pretty dazed. They keep talking about their designer shoes while lifeless bodies and evening dresses float by them in the water.
    • A girl with a southern twang calls for the survivors' attention and has them arrange themselves in a horseshoe formation. How very organized. She's Taylor, Miss Texas, and she's pretty bossy. 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. Besides Adina, Mary Lou, and Taylor, the girls include Shanti (Miss California), Jennifer (Miss Michigan), and Petra (Miss Rhode Island). 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. Inspirational.
    • 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. Sounds, um, wild.
  • Chapter 2

    • The Lost Girls set out toward the jungle to search for survivors. We get a snapshot of the island: a beach with white sand, the jungle, mountains, and a volcano in the distance. It would be a nice vacation spot, if not for the whole plane crash thing.
    • The Lost Girls eventually stop at a clearing. There are totems there, which scare the girls.
    • A girl emerges from the jungle. She's black, and everyone mistakes her for an island native. It turns out she's Nicole, Miss Colorado. Hi, racism.
    • Nicole tries to convince the girls she's friendly, which reminds her of her childhood spent trying to seem non-threatening in an all-white neighborhood.
    • She makes Shanti nervous, because Shanti "hoped to have the ethnic thing all sewn up." (2.25) They share their talent portions: Shanti is doing traditional Indian dancing and Nicole is doing traditional Nigerian drumming. Apparently "traditional" is a winner. Anyway, Shanti's competitive drive ramps up.
    • The girls find a body of a flight attendant. Taylor makes them drag it into the fire so it won't attract predators.
    • Petra is worried because she only has seven days of medication in her overnight case, which she needs to find.
    • They don't find any other survivors. Or the medication.
  • Chapter 3

    • Both groups meet back up on the beach. The Lost Girls report that there are no other survivors. All the adults are gone. The Sparkle Ponies show the group what they've salvaged: a weird mix of blankets, airline pretzels, and beauty products.
    • Taylor wants to keep practicing for the pageant, but Adina thinks they should focus on food, water, and shelter. They compete for Team Captain by giving impromptu speeches, and Taylor is elected. They'll start pageant prep the next morning.
    • Miss New Mexico panics because there's an airline tray stuck in her forehead and Nicole (who is pre-pre-med) says they can't remove it without surgery.
    • Nicole notes the ominous clouds and thinks they should find higher ground in case of flash floods. The girls set out to find firewood and a place to camp for the night.
  • Chapter 4

    • Mary Lou tells Adina that she didn't win Leader because wasn't modest enough when she talked about her accomplishments. What about being proud of what you got?
    • Adina makes fun of Mary Lou's purity ring, and Mary Lou mumbles, "some girls need protection." (4.21) Um, okay.
    • The girls make a fire and go to sleep, except for Adina, who has first watch.
    • At the end of the chapter is Adina's pageant questionnaire. It says that her mother is on her fifth stepfather, Adina's anti-misogyny, and she secretly intends to take down the pageant.
  • Chapter 5

    • This chapter shows Adina's point of view, because the questionnaire in the prior chapter introduced her. See how this works?
    • We learn more about the anti-pageant plan. She originally entered because her mom and stepdad promised her a base guitar (she's in an all-girl punk band) if she made Miss New Hampshire. Now, she's an aspiring journalist who wants to write an exposé of the pageant industry.
    • Present-day Adina sees flashes of light near the volcano and worries they aren't alone.
    • Scene change alert! In a section titled "Classified," an agent watches the girls sleep. We learn that he isn't happy because something called Operation Peacock is six weeks away.
    • He turns to go somewhere. A giant snake almost attacks him, but he kills it.
    • The agent walks into a secret compound inside a volcano. It has an elevator and conference room. So much for a deserted island far from all civilization. In the room, he tells someone on a screen about the girls.
    • The voice on the screen doesn't want a rescue mission to attract attention to the Operation Peacock thing. It tells the Agent that the official word is that there are no survivors. The voice is sure there's no way the girls will survive the island.
    • This ominous warning is followed by a commercial break. It's a script of a commercial for Lady 'Stache Off, a product that's a combination of moisturizer, tanner, and hair remover. Gross (but effective).
    • Then there's the same pageant questionnaire, filled out by Petra. We learn that she sews, loves Old Hollywood movie glamour, and can do all the dance moves to a Boyz Will B Boyz video. Guess we'll see the island through Petra's eyes next.
  • Chapter 6

    • Bingo. Petra wakes up before the other contestants and searches the sand for her overnight bag.
    • She flashes back to her childhood trying on her mother's makeup, and to a more recent memory of her mom in chemo, telling her to go after her dreams. Deep.
    • The other girls wake up. Adina tells them about the flashing lights, but Taylor shrugs it off as "battle fatigue" (6.20).
    • Petra goes off to search for her overnight bag, and the rest of the girls practice their dance steps. They don't gel well.
    • Adina is appointed to ask the questions so the Teen Dreamers can practice for the interview round. She asks Miss Alabama if the pageant promotes an unrealistic too-thin standard of beauty, but Alabama misses the memo. Miss Ohio practices trying to get noticed by being the "naughty one." (6.66)
    • Adina asks Nicole if she thinks the pageant is racist, since Nicole is the only Black contestant. Nicole secretly resents being asked to speak for her whole race, but deflects the question by naming all the non-white contestants who have been runners-up.
    • Miss Michigan gets hostile with Adina. It's her first pageant circuit; she was enlisted as part of a program for at-risk girls. Yikes.
    • As Tiara (Miss Mississippi) botches her answer, Petra runs into the water for something. The others think it's a ship, but it turns out to be her overnight bag.
    • Ominously large waves start coming in, chasing the girls into the heart of the island. Nicole, Shanti, Tiara, and Petra climb a tree, but the tree breaks as Petra clings to her overnight case, and the girls are washed over a waterfall. What is up with this island?
    • Jennifer goes her own way, while the rest of the girls climb a mountain, but fall in a mudslide. Seriously, no wonder this place is (mostly) uninhabited.
    • Scene change! A script for the show Barry Rex Live is next, and Ladybird Hope is being interviewed. She says they're doing everything to find the girls and bring them back.
    • She also rebuffs Barry's insinuations that the plane belonged to the Corporation. She blames the incident on a terrorist attack. She seems to be running for president? Okay.
    • The chapter ends with a questionnaire filled out by Jennifer Huberman, a.k.a. Miss Michigan. Jennifer is mechanical, a comic books fiend, and used to be in juvie.
  • Chapter 7

    • This chapter begins with…you guessed it—Jennifer! We're told that she doesn't mind being alone because she has been ever since she stopped spending time with her grandmother. Grandma told her that God didn't like her because she's a lesbian.
    • A girl emerges from the trees with a cut-off sash that reads Miss Illin. Jennifer introduces herself, but before the girl can respond, she is swallowed whole by a giant snake.
    • The snake turns on Jennifer, who tries to get to a spear that happens to be lying there. Meanwhile, the bulge that is the other girl is struggling to get out of the snake.
    • Jennifer gets the spear and stabs the snake while the other girl lodges something between the snake's teeth and climbs out. The snake bites down on the jar between its teeth and explodes.
    • The girl introduces herself as Sosie. She's hearing-impaired, so Jennifer has to repeat herself a few times. Sosie teaches Jennifer a few simple signs.
    • Looking at the snake's insides, Sosie and Jennifer realize the snake was sick. The jar the snake bit down on was of Lady 'Stache Off. Sounds sick to us…
    • Sosie leads Jennifer to what looks like an ancient temple. They find a radio and military rations. Sosie and Jennifer share a chocolate bar. Mm.
    • Next questionnaire! This one's filled out by Shanti, who's Miss California. Shanti has a wide range of skills. She also mentions her Indian heritage a few times, and says her biggest fear is failure.
  • Chapter 8

    • Shanti, Petra, Nicole, and Tiara wake up in a lava field. They start walking back to the beach.
    • Shanti gives Petra a hard time for clinging to her case, but Petra explains that her medicine was in there. She says she has a hormonal condition. Tiara doesn't know what that is and thinks Petra has an STD, which she calls "an STP." (8.13) So much for challenging beauty queen stereotypes.
    • The girls entertain themselves by singing Boyz Will B Boyz (a former boy band) songs. Except for Shanti, who walks ahead of them.
    • Shanti used to love winning and hired a coach, Mrs. Mirabov, to help her win the Miss Teen Dream pageant. Mrs. Mirabov said her ambitious personality wasn't likeable. To make her likeable, they decided to present her as an assimilated immigrant, a mix of Indian culture and American interests.
    • Shanti feels like a huge fraud.
    • The girls fall asleep. Shanti wakes up and realizes Tiara is missing. They find Tiara in a bush, having eaten a lot of fruit.
    • She seems okay, so the other girls try it. Unfortunately, the fruit is hallucinogenic, and the girls start tripping out big-time.
    • Shanti thinks she's a kite. She tells Mrs. Mirabov to hold onto her, but the wind wants her to let go of Mirabov's grasp. Mrs. Mirabov reminds her that she isn't likeable, but Shanti gives in to the wind and lets go.
    • Petra feels like she's part of the bedtime story her mother used to tell her when she was little. In the story, she's a frog who thinks she's a princess, but then she meets a real princess, who makes her look at her reflection in the river which shows her as a frog. Frog-Petra seeks the Wise Witch of the Woods, who takes her to a dark part of the river and tells her to make a wish and jump.
    • Deep.
    • Nicole enters a gingerbread house full of three sassy black sidekicks from TV. She realizes they used to be beauty queens with individual interests. Her mother is there and tells her a giant is coming, and Nicole runs out of the house but is overcome by a white space.
    • This fruit could make someone bank.
    • Scene change! Back to the classified section.
    • Agent Jones, seemingly the agent from the last Classified scene, is in a company building inside the volcano. He has to deal with the former CEO's son, Harris, who is there as an intern. And not the brightest intern. Harris just rigged the volcano's override system to respond only to PowerPoint.
    • Jones and Harris head to the conference room. Jones gives a presentation on how The Corporation's island resources are running low, so they're covertly giving MoMo B. ChaCha, aka The Peacock, explosives in exchange for letting The Corporation set up shop in his country.
    • Momo is the insane dictator of a nearby country. Crazy as in having a stuffed animal named General Good Times as his advisor. He's supposed to come to the island soon for the trade.
    • The U.S. levied sanctions against him, so The Corporation has to trade with him secretly. So they've hidden explosives inside Lady 'Stache Off. At least that explains the snake explosion from last chapter.
  • Chapter 9

    • Taylor and her group reach the beach. They're so hungry that they're turning on each other.
    • Mary Lou comes up with the idea to make spears for fishing out of sticks and pumice stones. Nah—it would take them forever to whittle down the pumice stones.
    • Taylor nominates the complaining Adina to eat a grub. She refuses, and Taylor says her problem is she doesn't have any trust. The girls chant her name, and then cheer when she eats the grub.
    • Meanwhile, on another part of the island, Tiara wakes up to Petra singing. She sees Petra bathing naked in the water, and when Petra turns around, Tiara sees that she's biologically male. Surprise!
    • Petra has to explain to the group that she's transgender. (Oh, and also the fun fact that she used to be J.T., a member of Boyz Will B Boyz. Or won't B, as she's there to prove.)
    • Tiara's mom says transgender people are going against God's will, and Petra points out her mom isn't so great for making her compete in beauty pageants since she was a baby.
    • Petra tells the group that she joined Miss Teen Dream because her transgender activist group gave her hormones and said they'd pay for her sex reassignment surgery if she competes and then has a press conference revealing that she's transgender. Good deal.
    • Shanti wants to report her for breaking the rule that you have to be female to enter the pageant. Spoilsport.
    • Nicole doesn't know what to do. Neither does Tiara.
  • Chapter 10

    • All the girls eventually make it back to the beach. Jennifer introduces the group to Sosie and tells them what they found. She promises to try to get the radio running.
    • Taylor leads a meeting, passing a baton back and forth to each speaker. And she actually agrees with Adina that they need to get organize and figure out how to survive.
    • The contestants make plans for creating an irrigation system, building and decorating huts, and sewing fishing lines.
    • Shanti asks for the baton, saying she needs to tell everyone something. Nicole tries to divert her. No such luck.
    • Petra takes matters into her own hands and pulls off the Band-Aid herself, telling everyone she's transgender.
    • At first, Taylor thinks Petra should live separately. It's against the rules for them to fraternize with boys.
    • Mary Lou points out there are no rules against a transgender contestant. Adina, Nicole, and Jennifer say that if Petra's forced to leave, they'll leave too. That's what solidarity's all about.
    • Taylor introduces a vote that they all stay together, and the ayes win.
    • Shanti tries to apologize, and Petra responds that everyone lies about who they are. This hits Shanti pretty hard.
    • Scene change! This time, we get to see the dictator MoMo ChaCha himself. Geez, what a name.
    • He really is crazy. His room is plastered with photos of Ladybird Hope, and he has a cutout of her that he talks to. He and his Ladybird cutout watch a reality TV show about pirates called Captain Bodacious. Yeesh.
    • Another scene change. Benny, a scientist in The Corporation, is trying to let some other company know about the weaponized Lady 'Stache Off.
    • He is confronted by someone else with a gun, who turns out to be Harris.
    • Harris asks who his contact is, but the gun goes off and kills Benny before he can answer.
    • But it's not totally Harris' fault. Because next, we have the script for a commercial. For something related: Git R Done guns. The guns have had a recall because—you guessed it—they fire too early.
  • Chapter 11

    • Taylor tells the Teen Dreams to treat survival as another skill in the competition. It's a pretty good method, really. Their new goal: to use the supplies they have to create shelter and materials for catching and cooking food.
    • Nicole and Shanti take the stage. They try to introduce an idea of creating an irrigation system for drinking water, but it's too complicated to get done.
    • Tiara tells a long story, but there's an actual idea at the end: to stretch an evening gown over a trench to sift the water. They do so, rain falls, and they actually have clean water to drink. Cool story, Tiara.
    • The other girls deliver, too. Brittani and Tiara catch fish with straightening irons and Miss Ohio creates a solar grill from plane wreckage to cook them. Impressive. Plus, Petra makes a banner out of evening gowns and sequins that will catch the sun's light and draw the attention of passing planes.
    • Jennifer puzzles over fixing the radio. It's hard for her not to doubt herself when no one has counted on her before. Sad.
    • Meanwhile, Mary Lou and Adina are trying catch fish. Or rather, Adina tries to catch them and Mary Lou just points them out. (She's a vegetarian.)
    • They trade stories about past boyfriends. Adina had one that she didn't like much. Mary Lou won't say much about her ex-boyfriend, Billy. She remembers almost having sex with him, but the boy got freaked out by the intensity of her desire. Kind of the opposite of what you'd expect.
    • Anyway, her mother bought her a purity ring the next day. Still, Mary Lou thinks she's cursed.
    • Later, Taylor challenges the Teen Dreams to create weapons in case of predators. She offers them goodies from her makeup bag as rewards. Her makeup must be bomb.
    • Misses Montana, Ohio, and California build a missile launcher from bamboo, coconuts, and DiscomfortWear. Nicole and Brittani make a splat gun out of bamboo and foundation. Jennifer and Sosie make arrows from wood, tree sap, and melted jewelry. Adina, Petra, and Mary Lou create a hammock and dig a trap.
    • Taylor, always the one to be on top, says she's her own weapon.
    • Finally, everyone helps Petra hoist her banner.
    • The scene switch to a script for a commercial for two Corporation Shows: called Patriot Daughters and Captain Bodacious, a show about pirates who don't do much but look good.
    • The chapter ends with Sosie's questionnaire. She hates having to say things like "I hear with my heart" (11.209) to make able-bodied people feel okay with her. The thing she wants most is a best friend.
  • Chapter 12

    • Sosie's trying to catch a bird. She thinks about how disabled people aren't allowed to be angry, because it messes with people's sympathy.
    • She used to know a girl named Fawnda who was angry about having cerebral palsy. She was sent to a special school.
    • Jennifer comes by and Sosie shows her a dance she made up about girl superheroes. When Sosie dances, she feels powerful.
    • Sosie tries to get Jennifer to dance with her, but Jennifer is self-conscious. So she pretends to be a robot, which makes them both laugh.
    • They fall on top of each other, laughing. Then they go quiet. Oooooh.
    • Sosie jumps up before anything can happen, and both girls start chasing the bird.
  • Chapter 13

    • The girls tell Petra they need her because Tiara is in a hut with a machete, having a meltdown. They think only Petra can talk to her.
    • Tiara is cutting her hair and even cuts herself once, on her arm. She tells Petra that she's been doing pageants since she was two weeks old, and the one time she protested, her mom told her that no one loves a bad girl. Thanks a lot, Mom.
    • Petra admires the flowers on the wall of the hut. Tiara says she's always wanted to be an interior decorator.
    • Petra cuts Tiara's hair into spikes and tells that her it's warrior princess hair. Sweet.
    • That night, the girls sit around the fire, roasting their food and talking. They chat about scary movies, and name about five movies where girls are tormented by killers. Uplifting.
    • They start listing things they miss, and then turn to things they don't miss. Including, ironically enough, things having to do with pageants, and never being allowed to get angry. They talk about how girls apologize too much and decide to ban the word sorry from their vocabulary.
    • They fantasize about having a Girl Con instead of Miss Teen Dream. They would lead workshops and have makeovers.
    • Adina thinks makeovers are degrading but everyone else reminds her there's nothing wrong with wanting to look good. Only so much progress at a time, Adina.
    • Taylor marches in, disappointed that they aren't focusing on Miss Teen Dream. But everyone else tells her they're past the pageant and want more. More!
    • Mary Lou loses her purity ring. Everyone looks for it, but it's gone.
    • The chapter ends with Mary Lou's questionnaire. She's scared of letting go, and her favorite show is Captain Bodacious, because she and her sister used to want to be pirates.
  • Chapter 14

    • Mary Lou has a sexy dream about the pirate show Captain Bodacious. She thinks it's because she lost her ring and that's letting loose all the desirey stuff.
    • She remembers having a similar feeling about the show when she was younger, and later, trying to have sex with her boyfriend until he was alarmed by her wildness and asked "What's wrong with you?" (14.10) She went crying to her mother, who bought her the purity ring.
    • Her sister Annie used to be similarly wild. Annie ran away with the circus and came back pregnant. Mary Lou thinks that's part of the curse.
    • Back to present-day Mary Lou. She's running through the island naked. Maybe there's something to that purity stuff after all.
    • Then she spots a guy sleeping. She tries to hide, but gets caught in a trap. Oops. Plus, it wakes him up. Double oops.
    • The guy cuts her down and she hides in a bush. He says his name is Tane and he's a university student trying to find a rare bird.
    • Mary Lou tells him she's a wild girl and unlike Billy, Tane just says, "Okay." (14.105)
    • Mary Lou tells him he's dreaming and kisses him. Aww?
  • Chapter 15

    • Mary Lou doesn't care about her ring anymore. She finds Tane the next day and tells him all about the crash on the island and her family history.
    • Tane tells her he's really an eco-warrior. The island used to belong to his people before The Corporation kicked them off their land. He's planning to go to the other side of the island to check out the volcano, and then leave, where he'll send help Mary Lou's way. Thanks, Tane.
    • Mary Lou and Tane do a lot of making out and "exploring," (15.23) but they don't have sex.
    • Meanwhile, Jennifer wakes up from a dream and decides to draw it in comics. In the dream, Jennifer and Sosie are superheroes, and Jennifer tells her she loves her.
    • Sosie grabs the comic from Jennifer and reads it. Jennifer tells her she's gay.
    • Sosie likes boys and girls, and doesn't feel like she should have to pick a side. But she does like Jennifer. So she kisses her. That's lucky.
    • After a while, Sosie runs out overwhelmed and lies in the sand. Jennifer joins her. They cuddle. Aww.
    • Aside from Taylor, who still practices her pageant routine, the girls are becoming freer—more themselves.
    • Mary Lou suggests to Adina that unlike the fighting boy characters in Lord of the Flies, girls need an island where no one is watching to find themselves.
    • In the next scene, The Corporation apologizes to readers for the active, empowered sexuality in the prior pages. It suggests silly alternate scenes in which Mary Lou is punished, or the girls all take off their tops, are bisexual, and sell corporation products. Thanks for dashing the dreams of agency and empowerment, Corporation.
    • This chapter ends with a questionnaire. It's Nicole's. Remember, Miss Colorado? Her motto is "You Gotta Go Along to Get Along" (15.97) and she's most afraid of her mother.
  • Chapter 16

    • Nicole leaves the group to explore by herself. She finds herself by the old totems in the ruined civilization. She starts looking for materials to make a drum. Why not?
    • She thinks about her mom while she creates. A former Lakers Girl, her mom had her try several activities with the goal of her becoming a star. She also submitted her to beauty treatments like hair relaxing and whitening cream. Not cool.
    • Nicole wants to be a doctor like her Aunt Abeo. She entered pageanting to get a college scholarship.
    • She runs into Shanti, who has been spying on her. Away from the other girls, Nicole gets Shanti to admit she doesn't like her because the pageant judges will probably only let one non-white girl into the top five.
    • Then Shanti gets stuck in quicksand. Literally.
    • As she sinks, her voice changes to like, a total Valley Girl. Nicole gets her to admit that she's made up much of her immigrant story to get a leg up with the judges. Only then does Nicole get a vine to pull Shanti out.
    • Shanti tugs too hard and pulls Nicole in instead. As they sink, they lament the movie stereotype that "The brown people die first." (16.94)
    • Then they go under.
  • Chapter 17

    • Oh no, maybe it's okay after all. At the last minute, Nicole and Shanti find a root and pull themselves out.
    • They find a hot spring and bathe in it to wash the sand off. They share why they entered the pageant: Nicole because of her mother, Shanti to prove herself.
    • Shanti admits that she secretly wants to be a DJ, because it's not goal-oriented. That, and to start an ethnic beauty product line called Shanticeuticals. Slightly more goal-oriented.
    • They return to camp. Jennifer has finally fixed the radio. After fiddling with the stations, the Teen Dreams hear an interview with Ladybird Hope, saying she has called off the search for the beauty pageant contestants, and that they are victims of terrorism.
    • Taylor can't believe that they did everything right and they still gave up on them. She runs away, upset.
    • The final questionnaire is hers. Her mother left when she was six. Taylor considers her mother weak. Another one of her answers: "I am not weak. I don't need your pity." (17.100) Solid.
  • Chapter 18

    • When Taylor's mother left, she was scared until she saw Ladybird Hope on TV. She got her dad to sign her up for the Little Miss Perfect pageant, and loved the attention. She learned that "If you did everything right, they had to love you." (18.15) Kind of creepy, but at least it got her back on her six-year-old feet.
    • Taylor sees a flash of light and follows it, only to find men in black shirts. They don't look like military, so she hides and listens. She also watches some of the men go into the volcano.
    • Agent Jones explains to Harris that they can't rescue the beauty queens because then people might take a closer look at their operation, and maybe find out about their deal with MoMo ChaCha.
    • Taylor steps out of hiding and kicks them, then runs to warn the other girls. Agent Jones chases her. He can't keep up, but he throws darts at her.
    • Taylor manages to yell "Danger!" before she's taken down.
    • The agent stuffs the hallucinogenic fruit in her mouth and puts some in her hands, hoping to keep her nonsensical long enough to form a plan.
    • The chapter ends with a commercial for a plastic surgery center called Breast in Show. A harrowing end to a tense scene.
  • Chapter 19

    • The other beauty queens bring Taylor to her hut, but Taylor steals away to a cave.
    • She's in a hallucinogenic haze. There are unicorns who talk to her. It's like that Ke$ha video, but more.
    • She sees a man in black in the distance. She's taken out five such men so far.
    • She steps into the open. The man says he'll take care of her.
    • At first, Taylor's mind bends and she thinks it's her dad. Touching moment. But then she focuses, breaks the man's neck, drags him away, and takes his supplies. Kudos.
  • Chapter 20

    • The girls find Taylor's hiding place two days later, but Taylor is still babbling nonsensically. That's a whole lot of hallucinogenic fruit.
    • They watch her adorn a busted-looking beauty queen sculpture with a sash that reads Miss Miss, and then they watch her kill a snake.
    • Adina calls a meeting, assuming the role of Team Captain. The girls agree that something isn't right on the island. They almost turn on each other, but Adina stops it.
    • Mary Lou tells them that she met a boy, but no one believes her. She tries to lead them to Tane's campsite, but there is no trace of it or him. So much for telling the truth.
    • A storm blows in, but the Teen Dreams are prepared this time. They hoist their supplies into the trees and run for higher ground.
    • Once they've climbed a mountain, they see a ship rolling in. With a pirate flag. Could this get any weirder?
    • The ship bangs into some rocks and starts filling with water. The girls run out and rescue the crew. Mary Lou realizes they're the cast of Captain Bodacious. Okay, so it got weirder.
  • Chapter 21

    • Captain Bodacious star Captain Sinjin explains that he and his castmates had drunkenly taken the boat out for a sail and it blew off course. He also starts asking the girls for food and water, which they jump to get him.
    • This really pisses Adina off. So much for female solidarity.
    • Adina goes to check on the fishing lines and meets a pirate she thinks is cute in spite of herself. His name is Duff. They like the same music. Uh-oh.
    • The girls and pirates drag the boat ashore and repair it over the next few days. They realize that they have to wait longer for the wood to dry before trying to escape.
    • Taylor briefly shows up at camp, but she's still crazy. She steals some supplies and runs away. Oh, Taylor.
    • Miss Ohio finds rum in the captain's room and the group takes it. Petra and Sinjin start flirting, but Petra's scared to tell him she's transgender.
    • Another pirate, Charlie, gets stung by a jellyfish. Nicole says someone needs to pee on the sting to neutralize it. The pirates fight over who has to do it, until Petra gets frustrated and does it.
    • Captain Sinjin's response? "Bodacious!" (21.299)
    • Back to another classified section. Agent Jones is dipping his darts in liquid Mind's Flower (yes, the hallucinogenic plant). This explains why Taylor has gotten so crazy.
    • Agent Jones decides not to tell his boss about the pirates. He heads toward a detention cell to question Tane.
  • Chapter 22

    • The pirates and beauty queens (some of them) get drunk. Especially Adina.
    • Nicole notices something between Petra and Sinjin, and steers the party away to give them privacy.
    • Petra tells Sinjin her story, and then asks for his. He doesn't know what to say, so he combines several Charles Dickens stories, using lots of puns in the process. This makes Petra laugh.
    • The truth is, Sinjin has no big trauma in his past. He's lived a happy life. Lucky boy.
    • After getting him to promise he's not into her because of curiosity, Petra kisses Sinjin. Then she decides to give him a makeover.
    • Nicole's end of the party (the non-drinking end) hangs out, making music, while Shanti raps.
    • Sinjin calls everyone over to show off his makeover, which includes a feather boa, teased curls, and black eyeliner. Foxy.
    • The makeover makes him spill the beans about the real reason the pirates wound up on the island: they were trying to take the boat out to boost their ratings, and saw The Corporation trafficking humans. The Corporation shot at them, and they were on the run when they were blown off-course. The plot thickens.
    • Adina and Duff go for a walk.
    • They talk about their tragic wounds. Duff's sister died of leukemia. Adina tells him about her mother and the many boyfriends, and Duff says that his dad's the same way with girls. They go skinny-dipping.
    • Then they're in Duff's cabin on the ship. They're about to have sex, but Duff doesn't have a condom. He promises to pull out in time, which Adina tells him is really messed up. Stand up for yourself, girl.
    • Duff steals a condom from Sinjin's cabin, and then it's a go.
    • Back on the beach, Sosie is dancing alone. She's craving time away from Jennifer, but isn't about to tell her that.
    • Back in the volcano-building, Agent Jones is in a bad mood because Tane didn't tell him anything. Harris leaves the ship, having planted a bomb in there.
  • Chapter 23

    • Adina returns to the beach the next day and tells Mary Lou all about her adventures with Duff.
    • Then she heads back to the ship to get some ramen. Good thinking. But in Duff's cabin, she notices a camera. Turns out he has a video blog called Pirate Casanova, and he'd secretly recorded them having sex. Scumbag!
    • She smashes the camera to pieces. Mary Lou finds her crying.
    • Adina says she's stupid and just like her mother, but Mary Lou tells her she didn't do anything wrong. Which is a good trigger to make Mary Lou realize that her curse isn't about sex: it's about whether you let yourself feel ashamed about it.
    • Mary Lou finds Duff and punches him out in front of everyone. Good response.
    • Petra and Sinjin have their own confrontation afterward, and Sinjin promises her he isn't live-blogging about them. She believes him.
    • Sosie and Jennifer are trying to wash pitch from the ship off their hands and talking about the situation. Sosie realizes that while she isn't as bad as Duff, she's still going hurt Jennifer because she doesn't like her enough. She breaks up with her.
    • She asks if they can still be friends, but Jennifer can't imagine that.
    • There's a script for a commercial at the end. It's for a movie called Wedding Day 3: Third Time's the Charm, a movie where a woman named Charlie learns to settle for a guy who isn't that great. Inspiring. (Not.)
  • Chapter 24

    • Back to Taylor and her hallucinogenic state. She's attaching wires and a Lady 'Stache Off explosive to her Miss Miss statue. Contemporary art at it's finest.
    • She sees a bunch of black shirts heading toward the beach and the other girls. She does a "silent somersault" gymnastics move, snaps the men's necks with her feet, and pulls their bodies into the ravine.
    • Whoa.
    • The whole time she talks to herself and an imaginary Ladybird Hope. And the end of the chapter, she cries about breaking a nail.
  • Chapter 25

    • Duff tries to apologize to Adina while she fixes the fishing lines. In the middle of it, a dead body washes toward her. If you're ever struggling with an apology, a corpse is a good way to get through it.
    • Petra and Sinjin are kissing, but Sinjin's trying to figure out what's wrong on the island. He asks Petra if they're on some competing reality show, or if they're obstacles on his show.
    • Then Nicole runs by, telling them about the body.
    • There are no identifying marks on the body besides his black shirt. How mysterious.
    • The next scene is a call between MoMo ChaCha and Ladybird Hope.
    • Momo is worried that Ladybird wants to get rid of him. He says he has an incriminating video of her.
    • Ladybird assures him that she will marry him after their deal, which is set to happen in three days.
    • In the next scene, Agent Jones talks to Ladybird on a screen. Ladybird tells him that The Corporation has decided to kill MoMo and take over his country. Sounds like a solid political move.
    • And there's more: in order to get America to approve the action, she wants to frame MoMo for killing the Teen Dream contestants on live TV.
    • Agent Jones considers not doing it, but then Harris taunts him. Instead of early retirement (tempting), he decides to carry out the mission so he will be respected.
  • Chapter 26

    • Mary Lou sets out to find Tane. She passes Taylor, finds Tane's backpack, and then watches men dragging Tane, shackled, into the volcano. Bingo (ish).
    • Unfortunately, a gun is put to her head before she can tell the others.
    • That night, Sinjin calls a secret meeting of the pirates. He thinks the black shirts are after him, and wants to leave and get help rather than putting the girls in danger. That's nice, sort of.
    • The pirates agree and leave with their repaired ship.
    • Harris watches them, pleased. He's left a bomb in their ship. Not so nice.
  • Chapter 27

    • The Teen Dreams wake up to find the ship gone. Plus Mary Lou.
    • They head to the jungle, intending to round up Mary Lou and Taylor and then build their own ship and rescue themselves.
    • They find Taylor's hideout, which is camouflaged to blend into the earth. Taylor tells them not to believe lies and adds, "They don't want to save us." (27.27) Then she swings away on some tree vines. Classic Taylor.
    • They find Mary Lou's St. Agnes medal and start to get freaked out.
    • Then a jeep drives up to them. A man jumps out, saying he's happy to find them. Where'd he come from?
  • Chapter 28

    • The Corporation people give the Teen Dreams water and drive them to the compound. Harris gives them cookies and tries to tell them not to eat too much, but the girls wolf them down.
    • Nicole asks if they've seen Mary Lou. Agent Jones says they found her and sent her home. The girls think it's weird that Mary Lou wouldn't stay to help rescue them, but the promise of a shower distracts them. It's the first trick in the book.
    • Post-shower, Agent Jones takes the girls into Corporation headquarters. They head into a meeting room, where Ladybird Hope is on-screen.
    • The girls try to tell her how they survived, but Ladybird only calls it "cute." (28.70)
    • Ladybird tells them she wants them to do a pageant on the island. The girls would rather return home, but Ladybird guilts them into it. Then she sends them away to sample beauty products.
  • Chapter 29

    • Mary Lou and Tane are tied together, dangling from a hook over a tank of piranhas. They are slowly being lowered in.
    • Tane points out that their death is like something out of Greek mythology. He mentions two stories where humans are punished for trying to break out: Prometheus for bringing Zeus' fire from earth to enlighten mankind, and Princess Andromeda getting sacrificed because her mom bragged about her beauty. Luckily, Andromeda was rescued by Perseus.
    • Mary Lou gets annoyed that only the pure girls get rescued. (Plus, why can't girls do the rescuing themselves?)
    • Tane tells Mary Lou he loves her even though she isn't pure. That's sweet.
    • Mary Lou decides to quit waiting to get recued and to try and swing them both toward shore. Which is more than Andromeda could say for herself.
    • The rope almost breaks, but they manage it.
  • Chapter 30

    • Harris shows the beauty queens around. Adina hears the passing black shirts say, "Tane Ngata." Everyone gets suspicious when she points that out, so she pretends she's just doing vocal exercises. Lucky for her everyone just buys that a beauty queen would do something like that.
    • In their room, the Teen Dreams feel like something's off. They're sent French fries and soda, but can't enjoy themselves.
    • Tiara asks why Mary Lou would have been sent away if they want the girls to do a pageant.
    • Agent Jones enters and asks them where Miss Texas is, but Adina pretends she died. Agent Jones talks about his daughters, which would be kind of cute, except he changes their ages from when he mentioned them last time.
    • When he leaves, Adina, Petra, Tiara, Nicole, Shanti, and Jennifer sneak out to figure out what's going on.
    • Men guard the volcano's secret door, and the girls try to figure out how to distract them and get inside.
    • Tiara walks out and asks the guards if she can go in to get some gummy bears from the vending machine, and the other girls join her, playing dumb.
    • It works! Either they think the girls are really dumb, or they agree that gummy bears are delicious. The guards let them in.
  • Chapter 31

    • The girls take some gummy bears and a few beauty products for good measure, and head to the fifth floor. They spot a guard walking by.
    • Tiara tells him he's lost. Jennifer tries to pinch the guard's neck but gets the wrong spot. Then Petra shows her where it is. Nighty-night, Mr. Guard. Girl knows how to defend herself.
    • The girls swipe the guard's card and find themselves in a weapons arsenal.
    • Harris finds them. He locks the door and swings his gold club at them until they're cornered.
    • Nicole thinks quick and sprays hairspray in his face like mace. While he's busy being in pain, the girls tie him up with panty hose and gag him using a maxi pad. Nice.
    • Harris tells them that they'll be killed during the beauty pageant so that The Corporation can frame MoMo for their deaths and start a war with him. Well, that answers that question.
    • The Teen Dreams force Harris to take them to Mary Lou. They see the broken hook and think she died, but then Mary Lou and Tane show up. Sup, guys.
    • The girls fill Mary Lou in. Mary Lou and Tane plan to commandeer MoMo's yacht once he arrives. Good plan. The girls will have to pretend to do the pageant and somehow make their way back to the docking cave.
    • The Teen Dreams (minus Mary Lou) tie Harris to a rock and head back to the entrance.
    • The chapter ends with a commercial for a new product: Maxi-Pad Pets. Sounds only slightly less cool than maxi-pad gags.
  • Chapter 32

    • The Teen Dreams plan their pageant. They decide to peel away a few at a time during the final dance number to get to the yacht.
    • The agents cut down the girls' huts and use the wood to build the stage for the pageant. They didn't ask first. So much for the huts they came to call home.
    • The girls practice loudly to give cover while Adina looks for Taylor.
    • Adina asks Taylor to help them, but Taylor is really messed up. She says, "I just wanted to be somebody." (32.46) Adina assures her she is somebody, but Taylor keeps talking to an imaginary crowd instead of to Adina.
    • In a classified section, MoMo dons an Elvis outfit as his yacht sails into the docking center. Fashionable. Agent Jones meets him at the dock.
    • A black shirt asks Agent Jones about pageant lighting, and MoMo demands to watch the pageant before he gives them the weapons. Agent Jones is forced to drive him to it.
  • Chapter 33

    • The Teen Dreams are about to go onstage. Their plan is for the girls not in the Top Five to go to the volcano control room to show the world what is going on. The rest will peel off during the dance number.
    • They try to drum up their courage as the curtain opens.
    • A Word From Your Sponsor shows us all the players getting ready, including MoMo and Ladybird. It ends with, "All of This Brought to You By The Corporation." (33.36) Oh, the suspense.
  • Chapter 34

    • The Miss Teen Dream pageant begins. During the interview portion (questions by Adina), they answer in the usual way, until they get to Shanti.
    • Shanti talks about her platform: FemPowerMe and drops hints about The Corporation's exploitation of female workers.
    • Petra talks about how The Corporation took down her banner because it had the word "bitches" in it, and Adina reveals that Petra used to be a Boyz Will B Boyz star. The secrets are spilling out.
    • This makes Agent Jones nervous. He tells Adina to skip ahead to the dance number. Uh-oh: the schedule change doesn't allow the girls to go to the volcano and expose The Corporation. Time for a new plan.
  • Chapter 35

    • Meanwhile, Mary Lou and Tane take out one of MoMo's yacht guards and board the boat.
    • It's a baller yacht. It's got TV, a Jacuzzi, and lots of snacks.
    • Mary Lou asks Tane if he would travel the world with her, and he says yes. Weird timing, but aww.
    • Mary Lou heads off to find instructions on how to sail a yacht. She finds a video labeled Yacht Systems, but it turns out to be a sex tape of Ladybird and MoMo. Well that's special.
    • The yacht's radar beeps and another ship starts firing at them.
  • Chapter 36

    • During the dance number, the flare gun that the girls aim at the Lady 'Stache Gun won't fire because of the humidity. Oh, the humidity! They keep dancing, and start silently panicking.
    • The fake rebels stand and aim at the girls.
    • The curtains part and Taylor's Miss Miss statue appears and rattles down the runway. Taylor's voice monologues nonsense. At last—the perfect distraction.
    • There's a message on the back of the sash just for the beauty queens: Run.
    • So they run. And the statue explodes.
  • Chapter 37

    • The girls scatter in groups in different directions. The beach is on fire in the background. It just keeps getting more intense.
    • Shanti and Nicole run toward the ruined temple and hide from the black shirts chasing them. It seems like they'll be found, but Shanti whispers to the spirits of the temple in a sort-of prayer. A strong wind blows, driving the black shirts back and away. That's a new twist.
    • On MoMo's yacht, Mary Lou waves at the firing ship. Turns out it's Sinjin and his crew. Good timing, right? They stop firing.
    • Misses New Mexico, Ohio, Montana, and Arkansas fire at black shirts with their homemade weapons. Then they take the guys' guns and head for the compound.
    • Jennifer and Sosie make up. You'd think they'd be busy with the trying-to-survive thing, but Sosie doesn't want to go down angry at each other. That's nice.
    • Taylor leads Adina to her arsenal. She tells Adina that being alone has made her love herself. They disable a lot of black shirts, but Agent Jones aims for Taylor. She leaves, luring him deeper into the jungle.
  • Chapter 38

    • Harris has escaped. He grabs an AK-47 (funny that's just lying around) and raises it at Taylor and Petra. He tries to make Tiara say, "I'm dumb," (38.21) but then a giant snake swallows him and slithers away.
    • How do these snakes know the most convenient times to show up?
    • Adina takes a wrong turn and winds up on the beach, where she finds Duff. Time for the lovers to make up?
    • No. They're stopped by MoMo.
    • Duff lets it slip that he's on the show Captain Bodacious. MoMo is a giant fan and wants to play like he's on the show. How? By trying to make Duff and Adina walk the plank.
    • They get out of it by telling MoMo that Ladybird Hope is there, and that they'll take him to her. Lucky he's crazy enough to believe them.
    • Taylor steals Agent Jones' hallucinogenic darts and shoots him. Payback.
    • The pirates and girls make it to the corporate conference room and are joined by Adina, Duff, MoMo, and a hallucinating Agent Jones. Let the party begin.
    • Ladybird Hope appears on the screen and tells them she's about to go on Barry Rex Live and announce their deaths. Then she locks the doors and adds that she rigged the compound to blow up.
    • Agent Jones dreamily says that they have to create a PowerPoint to override the system. Who knew office skills could save lives?
  • Chapter 39

    • Luckily the Teen Dreams know a thing or two about Microsoft Office, and they make a PowerPoint presentation. It lists all the bad things The Corporation has done on a few quick slides.
    • The doors open, but then the building rumbles. Smoke is coming from the volcano. Uh-oh.
    • Mary Lou yells, "Run!" (39.48) and everyone takes off.
  • Chapter 40

    • Nicole has a sensation of floating in a haze.
    • Then she dreams of winning the crown in a pageant. She walks down the runway and sees her family cheering for her.
    • She starts to remember the events on the island and sees the other beauty queens standing beyond the auditorium, near a school bus.
    • She gives her crown to Sherry Sparks and joins them. Then Shanti is standing over her, calling her name.
    • What? Guess that's the wake-up cue.
  • Chapter 41

    • The girls and pirates fill Nicole in on what happened.
    • The volcano, as it turned out, had not erupted. The jars of Lady 'Stache Off inside it exploded, and Nicole was thrown by the explosion. Once again, the brown girl is the one to go down (at least she survived).
    • Duff tries to get back together with Adina, but she's having none of it. She realizes that she isn't like her mother because she won't date a boy to help her love herself. Bye, Duff.
    • Mary Lou announces that she and Tane will co-captain. She even lets herself brag a little. Self-confidence boosts all around.
    • Jennifer gives Agent Jones, who is recovering from the darts, some hazelnut coffee. Wasn't he a bad guy a minute ago?
    • Shanti says they have one last thing to do.
    • Cut to the script of Barry Rex Live! Ladybird is prepared to announce the girls' deaths. But she's in for a surprise: the girls appear, waving, on the live feed. Not Ladybird's best moment.
    • They leave the show with their PowerPoint and Ladybird's sex tape, which starts playing.
  • Chapter 42

    • The Teen Dream pageant was highly rated, but then cancelled because it lost sponsorship from The Corporation.
    • Everyone is focused on Ladybird's sex scandal, not the other terrible things The Corporation has done. Guess some things are more interesting than corporations trying to make money, kill people, and generally take over world politics.
    • Adina thinks about Taylor. They'd looked everywhere for her but eventually left without her.
    • Taylor isn't dead, though. The narration cuts to her. There's a giant snake draped over her shoulders and she's ready to clean up the mess on the island and start a new life. Powerful.
    • There's a commercial break, this time showing beauty queens on an island advertising Bitchin' Babes lipstick. There are technical difficulties, and the commercial cuts out before it can end. Finally, enforced beauty standards shut down.
  • Epilogue

    • Shanti DJs a Teen Dream-style runway walk. As each of the girls pose, we get a snapshot of their futures from the narrator.
    • Mary Lou marries Tane and becomes an adventurer. Petra marries Sinjin, who also wears heels. Progressive.
    • Sosie lives out her dance dreams and helps kids with disabilities. She's dating a boy, for now. Jennifer, on the other hand, co-owns a comic book store with her wife and runs Girl Con. It came true!
    • Nicole becomes surgeon general, Tiara becomes a part-time interior decorator and a mom, Adina becomes a journalist, and Shanti becomes the CEO of Shanticeuticals and a weekend DJ. If only getting stuck on an island always led to such success stories.
    • In the present, the girls all dance together, happy and proud of themselves. And the path to future is paved.