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beauty queensWhat: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Who: Allen & Unwin

When: June 1st 2011

How: Purchased.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Beauty Queens was really … weird. It took me a while to get into it, and there was a moment or two when I considered DNFing. But I had heard so many good things about it, I thought there must be a reason to keep reading.

And there was. And that was the diversity. Compared to the majority of YA books out there, the diversity in Beauty Queens was pretty on point. There was a lesbian character, a bisexual character (although I don’t really agree with how this character’s sexuality was portrayed), and a trans character (Petra, my darling). It’s always great to see one LGBTQIA+ MC in a book, let alone three. So all the diversity points to Beauty Queens.

Sometimes the satirical humour was lost on me, and I think there were two reasons for this. The first is that it is very hard to make me laugh in a book (or movie, for that matter). The second is that the critique of women/girl beauty standards were not new to me. I am very critical of the fact that the world presents women and girls with a certain picture, and expects us all to live up to it. So it wasn’t eye-opening or new for me. I certainly appreciated it, but I felt like some of it was lost on me because I am already so aware of this aspect of our society.

Overall, I did enjoy Beauty Queens, but I was left a little bit wanting after hearing so many wonderful things about it.

trigger warning: Racism, transphobia, fatphobia, plane crash causing death, sexism, abduction, physical assault, and murder in this novel (there are a lot of trigger warnings for this book because of its satirical tone, so i may have missed some)


dangerous girls

What: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Who: Simon & Schuster UK

When: August 1st 2013

How: Gifted.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I had heard pretty darn amazing things about Dangerous Girls, so I was more than a little excited to read it. But also a little scared because sometimes the hype gets to me, and I end up not liking a book because of high expectations. But I’m happy to say that I LOVED Dangerous Girls. It was everything I wanted, and more.

It was everything I wanted because I wanted a creepy murder mystery. And Dangerous Girls was hella creepy, and had me second guessing every character when it came to trying to figure out who the killer was.

It was more because there was an f/f romance *cheering* Literally NO ONE has mentioned the fact that Anna and Elise were in love (which was proven on many occasions, don’t even try to deny it), but I guess that’s a discussion for another day. It made me so happy to see a bisexual character at the helm of this novel, and an incredibly messed up and interesting m/f/f love triangle at its heart.

If you’re unsure about whether to read Dangerous Girls, it’s fabulous. What everyone says is true.

trigger warning: murder, excessive drug use, stalking, death of a parent by cancer, romantic cheating, bullying, and physical assault in this novel


two linesWhat: Two Lines by Melissa Marr

Who: HarperCollins e-books

When: August 23rd 2011

How: Purchased.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Yet another book where a bisexual character is erased from every review. Eavan is interested in both guys and girls, and I just want to shout that from the rooftops because EAVAN IS BI AND THIS BOOK IS LGBTQIA+ AND STOP WITH BOTH THE LGBTQIA+ ERASURE IN GENERAL, AND ALSO THE BI ERASURE.

I felt like I could have read an entire novel about Eavan, and the storyline of Two Lines. I feel like there could have been so much more to explore, especially in terms of her relationships. The ending was incredibly abrupt, and I felt like I had just gotten settled into the story, and was waiting for a lot of stuff to happen, and then it was just finished.

It was interesting to read about a mythological creature I didn’t know much about, and Eavan’s struggle between her human/mortal side and her glaistig/immortal side was one of the best aspects of this novella.

trigger warning: murder, forced drug use, sex slavery, domestic abuse, and sexual assault in this novel

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Posted on: March 29, 2016 • By: Chiara

20 Responses to Mini Reviews Volume #8

  1. I had to finish Beauty Queens the first time I read it too. It was weird, unusual, I didn’t “get” the humour or even the storyline… but I picked it up again last year and loved it so, so much. I mean, diversity galore right? And it was amusing and delightful. I didn’t get that the first time around, at all.

    And I haven’t had good experiences with Marr’s works before, but I love the sound of Two Lines. I definitely plan on check it out.

    Great reviews, Chiara!

    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you loved Beauty Queens the second time around, Rachel! I really loved the diversity, as well. I might read it again in the future, now that I know what it’s like. I think I went in expecting something very different to what it was!

      Two Lines was super interesting and intense, and I really wish it was a full novel. I feel like there was so much more that could have been explored. I hope you like it if you read it, Rachel!

      Thank you, lovely <3

  2. Kayla says:

    Adding these to my TBR! So happy to see more books with bi characters. I don’t understand why people erase these things from their reviews. They’re the kinds of things I always mention so that people looking for those books, or who just want more diversity in their reading, know what to pick up!

    • Chiara says:

      Yay! I was super happy to read so many bi books so close to each other :D I really don’t know why, either. But I’m glad you mention these kinds of things! It’s so important.

  3. YES DANGEROUS GIRLS. I really liked Beauty Queens, actually – but then I LOVE satire. OH and with Dangerous Girls I think some people thought it was a bit homophobic that all the messed-up stuff happens with lesbian couples in stories? Which, I mean, I don’t really know enough to comment.

    (We totally need more happy f/f stories but I’m just glad to see any, honestly!)

    • Chiara says:


      I think maybe satire isn’t really my thing :O But I still appreciated Beauty Queens!

      Ah, that IS a thing, but I haven’t even seen anyone mention that kind of thing, either. I read so many reviews that just completely left out any kind of mention of the fact that Elise and Anna were semi-couple. We definitely do need more happy f/f stories, but I was still super happy for this one anyway, because we need more bi characters in general, especially in non-contemporary stories!

  4. I love your mini reviews! There are quite easy to read esp. when I’m in a hurry. :)

  5. I really loved Dangerous Girls as well, so yay! I’m glad it lived up to the hype for you. I really do want to read Beauty Queens. I’m glad the diversity was done well overall.

    • Chiara says:

      I’m so glad, too! I hate it when hype gets to me, so it was great to fall in love with Dangerous Girls anyway :D I hope you like beauty Queens if you get around to it, Lauren!

  6. Okay, so I have been very tempted to add Dangerous Girls to my tbr, and I have a couple of times, but I just don’t think I could deal with the creep. I am pretty darn sure I couldn’t. It does sound thrilling and amazing and I believe you, since you’re asserting the facts, but I think it would freak me out and leave me anxious and sleepless. Which I mean, Mara Dyer gave me nightmares (only the last book, but still) SO YOU KNOW IT WOULD HAPPEN.
    I feel like I definitely egged you on re: Beauty Queens hype AND I’M SORRY! I hate being over hyped for books because I almost always end up being underwhelmed, and yet I still gushed about it. But I’m so happy you read it and we could discuss it, even if it didn’t completely click. xx

  7. Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that the satire in Beauty Queens was not your cup of tea – that was actually one of my favourite parts of the book (along with all of that lovely diversity, of course!). But so happy to hear that you enjoyed Dangerous Girls. I’ve heard a lot of hype around it, but I’m going to wait until it all calms down till I pick up the book – I feel like there is less of a chance of being disappointed that way, no? xx

    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you loved that aspect! It just didn’t mesh with me, I’m afraid. Ah, I see. I think the hype has died down quite a bit – it’s going on three years old now – so hopefully you can read it soon <3

  8. Beauty Queens sounds interesting but I’m glad it was diverse and you appreciated that in the novel! I’m so glad you loved Dangerous Girls, one of my favourite books! I hadn’t heard of Two Lines before and yay, I’m so glad it talks about a bi character which you don’t read about often. Lovely reviews Chiara!

    • Chiara says:

      The diversity in Beauty Queens was amazing! And I am so happy that I loved Dangerous Girls :D It started me on my mystery/thriller binge, haha! It was nice reading Two Lines, but I wish people talked about the fact that the main character is bi. Thanks, lovely <3

  9. I’ve read Beauty Queens and, yes, it’s weird, but I really liked it! I’ve heard that all of Libba Bray’s books are pretty out-there, especially Going Bovine, which I have yet to read. I do want to pick up The Diviners someday, only the size intimidates me, haha!

    • Chiara says:

      It was super weird, haha. I don’t think anyone had told me QUITE how weird it was, so it was a big surprise. I’ve read all of her other books except Going Bovine, which I may skip, because I think its in the same strain as this one, so I’m not sure if I would like it XD The Diviners books are my favourite Libba Bray novels! They are so gorgeous, and you hardly realise how long they are!

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