Book Reviews: “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” and “Beauty Queens”

Hey guys! Sorry for not posting on Friday. Having the day off on Thursday threw me off schedule. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance my time with my new job, so please forgive me. Anyway, today we have a book review post. I posted a Youtube video with my monthly book reviews as well, I’ll link that at the bottom if you prefer an audio-visual version instead. Let’s get into it!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The first book is The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. My friends got this for me for my birthday. I’ve heard so many good things online so I was excited to read it. I also heard that the book was sad and was going to give me an existential crisis. And the people on the internet weren’t kidding.

This book follows Addie LaRue, who makes a deal with the devil to live forever. The thing is that no one remembers her. Addie lives over 300 years before she meets someone who does remember her. This is a New Adult historical fantasy.

This book is written so well. There is a nice balance between being straightforward and being poetic. And the poetic sections aren’t pretentious in any way. The writing is very effortless and flows well. The beginning is very strong. It hooked me right away and wasn’t confusing. The book is a little slower-paced. Addie’s life story unfolds throughout the full novel. While it’s slower-paced it’s not boring. I was intrigued by the whole book.

Addie LaRue is a very philosophical book. It dives deep into themes such as the purpose of life, our impact on society and being liked and accepted, to name a few. It can be quite sad at times. I received some personally sad news around the same time I was reading this book, so I think that just amplified how I was feeling. I was sobbing after I finish the book and felt pretty sad and numb the next day.

I didn’t necessarily love this book but I think it still deserves 5 stars. First I don’t think there is anything I would change about the book. V.E. Schwab had a story she wanted to tell and I think she executed it perfectly. Second, while I didn’t love the book, it elicited strong, sad emotions from me. I think the fact that i tcreated such strong emotions shows that it’s an impressive book. So I give it 5/5 stars. I would recommend the book but just be prepared to feel sad and question life after reading the book.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

After reading such a sad book I needed something happier. So I decided to read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I bought this book back in middle school (it was published in 2011). I’ve read Bray’s Gemma Doyle series and Going Bovine, and liked both of them. Going Bovine is a whacky book and I had a feeling that Beauty Queens would be similar so I was prepared going into this book.

Beauty Queens follows a group of teen beauty pageant contestants who get stranded on what they think is a deserted island. They must work together to survive on this island, but really weird things keep on happening to them. This is a YA contemporary comedy.

This book is a whacky satire that is poking fun at many things include late 2000s media and pop culture, capitalism, big corporations, beauty standards, sexism, racism and many other things. It’s full of late 2000s references (like I said published in 2011). Since I grew up during this time I knew all the references so I found it super funny.

This also might be a random comparison, but it reminded me a lot of the kid tv show Phineas and Ferb. That show was pretty whacky and if you took it at face value it wouldn’t make sense. But if you just go along with the wackiness it’s pretty funny. Same thing with this book. The book has footnotes, fun facts section, commercial scripts that add to the storyline.

I think how this book talked about some serious topics in a fun and light-hearted way. It’s a great way to start a conversation on difficult topics. There was also lots of diversity, with an Indian immigrant, an African-American girl, a trans girl, lesbian and bi characters, and a deaf girl. And they weren’t just side characters. Bray discussed how their identities affected them personally and also related to the world of beauty pageants. Great to see such diversity in a book, because there are books published today that don’t have this level of diversity in them.

There was some romance but it wasn’t the focus of the novel. The book was more about the girls learning to be friends with each other and banding together instead of fighting with one another. And I love novels with good female friendships.

Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars, but I can easily see why people wouldn’t like this book. If satire isn’t your thing or you don’t know much about 2000s pop culture then you might not like this book. Comedy is so subjective so this book isn’t going to be for everyone.

And those are my book reviews for today guys. If you read either of these books let you know what you thought about them. And as always, feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments! Always willing to add books to my endless TBR list haha.

xoxo

Lea

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