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Beauty Queen Paperback – September 18, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1st edition (September 18, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006205161X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062051615
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #934,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When we first meet 19-year-old Samantha, she sounds like a normal teenager, writing in her diary about an ex-boyfriend: "I will never fall in love again, never, ever! Why is life so cruel? Why do people like to hurt each other?" But a mere three months later--after moving into her own apartment, taking a job as a topless dancer, and becoming addicted to heroin--her tone takes on that of a grizzled drug abuser: "I've been shooting in my bony hip area... toward my groin, so no one can detect the needle points on my rear when I wear my G-string, and I'm getting terribly numb there." Samantha's story is told entirely in the form of her journal entries, which vividly reflect this young woman's rapid descent into the seedy world of addiction.

Author Linda Glovach creates a likable, believable character in Samantha: we recognize her humanity as a girl genuinely troubled by her mother's alcoholism (as well as by her mom's lascivious boyfriend); we feel the unconditional love she harbors for her diabetic Maine coon cat; we shake our heads as her greed for money and flippant attitude about her addiction cause Sam to make naive decisions. As Sam spirals further downward--still unaware of how far gone she really is, even though she can't complete a journal entry without shooting up--readers will feel the remorse of what could have been, and may learn a valuable lesson in the process. (Ages 13 and older) --Brangien Davis

From Publishers Weekly

Reading this diary of a heroine addict is like watching someone fall into an abyss: knowing a crash is inevitable, but wondering how soon and how hard rock bottom will be. The narrator, 19-year-old Samantha Strasbourg, seems doomed from the beginning, living with an alcoholic mother and her mother's abusive boyfriend, and working a dead-end job at a fast-food restaurant. When Sam moves into her own apartment, she appears to be taking a positive step; however, new-found independence breeds a different set of problems, like raising enough money for rent. Sam starts dancing in a topless bar to raise more cash?and starts using heroin to release her inhibitions on stage. Her downward spiral gains momentum as the drug begins to take over her life. Although "skin popping" makes Sam feel like she is in "heaven," her existence grows increasingly hellish as her health deteriorates and her sense of judgment rapidly declines. Glovach pulls no punches describing the seductive power of heroin ("I felt this great peace, at last, a warmth and I knew that everything was going to be okay") as well as identifying its destructive effects ("I'm always just waiting for the next high and now I use it to do every little thing, and every little thing becomes harder to do"). Unlike the cumulative portrait of the drug's devastation through the layering of perspectives that is found in Smack! (Children's Forecasts, Apr. 27), Glovach's guileless first-person narrative has the effect of sucking readers into the tiny world inside Sam's head, where choices are few, and good and evil are indiscernible. The novel (too intense for younger teens) offers a shocking, thoroughly credible glimpse of addiction, which forces readers to draw their own conclusions about Sam's tragic life. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) FYI: Glovach is a co-author of Go Ask Alice.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

She writes that she loves the way the drug makes her feel and dance.
Deborah Sporich
And is not at all freaked out by shooting up, because her CAT is DIABETIC so she's cool with needles.
Laural H. Bourque
It is one of those books you will want to read over and over and over.
Sarah Ali

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on February 2, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Written as a young girl's diary, the book immediately immerses you as Samantha's best friend, the one she will tell everything to. I found myself liking Sam right away, I imaged her as having an innocence, or gullibility to her that was sweet but not annoying; and right away we see that her feelings run deep beneath the surface of her pretty face.
Sam starts her diary immediately following her break up with her boyfriend, who she cared deeply for and who abruptly informed her that he was seeing a woman 15 years his senior. He broke her heart, and so at her psychiatrist's suggestion, she begins to write down her feelings for us. In light of being her only confidant, right away we discover that her mother is a well-off alcoholic, a former model falling into her decline, with a handsome boyfriend who would like nothing more than to get to know Sam a little better while her mother is passed out. Right away we glimpse Kevin Reed's intentions as Sam returns home to find him in her bedroom watching porn flicks and asking her to join him.
Sam knows she needs a change in her life, but her low self esteem tells her she is not smart enough for college, that no one could possibly love her, and that she will never be able to even take acting classes to become the actress she dreams of being. She and her best friend Nicole do find a nice place and move in, taking Sam's diabetic cat with her. Then Sam decides to take a job in a topless club, leaving behind her low paying fast food job. She is very nervous at first, and a fellow dancer turns her onto the "relaxing" effects of heroin, telling her that her modesty and uneasiness will dissolve, making the job more tolerable. Which it does.
And so begins Sam's decline.
Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
A review by Allison
This book is about a naive 19-year-old girl named Sam. Sam has several problems in her life. It begins when Sam's boyfriend breaks up with her and she gets depressed about it. Sam has problems with her alcoholic mother and her mother's boyfriend. She finds an apartment to move into so she can get away from her mother. She also gets a new job as a topless dancer. Working at her new job, Sam is introduced to the drug heroin. It is her "magic potion" while she is dancing. The author gives vivid descriptions of Sam of how she feels when she shoots up. "As soon as he left, I danced another set, then went into the bathroom to shoot up again. And I did too much! My heart was racing like mad, almost jumping out of my chest, and I had to lie down on the floor to get myself back together. I felt like I was going to die. My ears closed up and my head felt all fuzzy. Then it slowed down and it was like I was fading away, leaving my body. Then I started to come to." (Page 101.)
Linda Glovach, the author, does a great job writing this book. She makes it seem so real with each and every journal entry. She pulls you into Sam's world and makes you feel empathy for her. (...)
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By RET on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Beauty Queen" is not particularly impressive, even by the standards of a teen anti-drug novel. The protaganist, Sam, is archtypal - a teenaged girl with low self-esteem, from a broken home with an alchoholic mother. Her therapist advises her to move out, and she winds up stripping and being introduced to drugs.
While I know that sometimes things do happen this way, the entire plot came across as incredibly contrived. The way she gets into heroin in the first place; the mobster with a big heart looking out for her; the loser, drug-dealing cop lover. She even has a diabetic cat, and is therefore already familiar with needles. Without revealing too much, one can see where everything is going and the part everyone plays in it almost from the start. It is less a self-destructive roller coaster ride than a plunge straight to hell from the very minute she moves out of her Mom's house: Sam literally cannot go even a journal entry without shooting some smack from the very day she starts using.
If you are looking for anti-drug "smack fiction," then go with "Smack." The novel is much more sophisticated in terms of its character development and its plot, and furthermore one can learn a lot about 1980s British punk while reading it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book--I really did especially after having read the diary, "Go Ask Alice" which had been a powerful book when I was a teenager. Glovich's character, Samantha, however, comes across even more insipid that the "anonymous" author of "Go Ask Alice."
Samantha comes from a broken home; her divorced mother is an alcoholic who lives with a greasy ex-con who is always making sexual advances to Samantha. To escape from this nightmarish world of abuse and neglect, she becomes a stripper who quickly spirals downward into the seedy world of heroin addiction. What makes her entries so pathetic is that she continually refers to her drug as her "magic potion" and continuously gives herself injections in almost every entry. She does so much heroin that I was genuinely surprised that she didn't die about halfway through the book. I found myself feeling nothing for her or her predicament. Her insipid ramblings got so bad that I wanted to stop reading more than once, but I continued to read it in the hopes that it would get better, but I was wrong.
The back cover features a quick note from Glovich which details her own struggle with heroin addiction as she wrote this book in order to experience the Hell that her young character experiences. It's too bad that Glovich didn't chronicle her own experience rather than try to attempt writing this YA novel. If _I_ were a young adult reading this book, I'd probably laugh all the way through it--_that's_ how poorly written it is. It's unfortunate that this book is so poorly written because its premise sounded so good.
As a Children's Librarian I try to read as many Young Adult and Juvenile fiction as I can. I certainly wouldn't recommend it for _my_ library due to its poor quality.
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