This Side of Salvation had a lot going for it. Sports, school, religion and romance — all things that are important to a sixteen-year-old. David had a bright future ahead of him in baseball. He trained just as hard for it off-season as he did during his seasons. College scouts were on the look-out for him and his high school coach had taught David all he could.
What do you make of a book that everyone has already loved to shreds? How do you pick up those pieces and see what others saw before you? Hype has a way of bringing awareness to certain books. At the same time, it can negatively impact one’s enjoyment. Without the hype I wouldn’t have loved Lola and the Boy Next Door. With the hype, I came to feel indifferent.
One thing to be said about Beauty Queens is that it’s way over the top. As much as many have referred to the book as satire, I think it got lost in trying too hard to be funny. Some events were just so ludicrous, they were too far removed from social commentary. Maybe it’s because of that that I was hard pressed to enjoy Beauty Queens. “Give it a chance. Things will get better after a while,” I kept thinking. Things didn’t get better—at least not in my opinion.
Music effectively tied all four main characters together despite all their differences. Trudy, Harumi, Cassie and Esther had very different musical backgrounds, yet they came together to form a punk band. Each one of the girls had something to bring to the table, which also led to a lot of conflict. I think that is one thing I particularly appreciated. They didn’t always get along, which added a facet of realness that I often find lacking in books.