Monday, June 18, 2012

{Review} Bookended By Beauty Queens by Victoria Marshal

Bookended By Beauty Queens
by Victoria Marshal
Publisher: Before the Fall Books
Released: February 28th 2012
Genre: Fiction- Adult: Contemporary
How I got it: received an audio copy from the author.

Angie Palmer likes her life just the way it is–private. She has no desire to entangle herself in complex friendships, and her relationship with her two beauty queen sisters is safely distant.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go as planned.
When disaster strikes her Grandmother, Angie takes her into her home. A life with Grandma comes a world full of changes, and new friends, including Val, a drag queen with hopes of being the next US-Gay Beauty Pageant winner. Angie is determined to keep Val at a distance. Val has an instinct for knowing what is in Angie heart.
Just as Angie gets comfortable with Grandma living with her, a budding friendship with Val, and a new romantic interest, everything takes an unexpected turn.
Val becomes the victim of a violent crime and ends up in a coma. Angie begins a struggle against Val’s family who wants to remove their son from life support.
Suddenly her private life becomes very public, and her world becomes a media circus. Angie is caught in a clash between religious beliefs and gay rights.
Through many twists and turns, Angie discovers a new appreciation for family, friends, and love.
In the end, Angie learns that a life filled with people to care about is never too crowded.

Review:  I have to say this isn't my usual reading fair, but sounded so interesting I couldn't pass it up.
Angie is the middle child, over shown by her beauty queen sisters. She's built up defenses to keep people at arms length. When a fire destroys her grandmother's apartment her life is turned upside down. She now has a housemate, and a drag-queen best friend. Angie struggles to make adjustments for the new situation life has thrown at her. When she finally thinks she has her life back on the right track, it takes a sharp left turn tossing her into a whirlwind legal battle.
Watching Angie come out of her shell, so to speak, was a great part of this book. She learns to deal with things many people will never have to go through. Ms Marshal created a very real character and I felt my heart go out to Angie. The book is full of emotional up and downs, with Val in the coma, Angie dealing with his family and people literally out to get her for her beliefs. There were some surprisingly action packed moments. I'm really not sure if I was surprised by the out come of the court hearing as it made sense yet was still disappointing. Angie is tested again and again in this book and seems to come out of all the conflict a better person for having to deal with it all.
The plot will sweep you up and carry you along in a tide of emotion and colorful characters. Val alone is a hoot, at least when she's awake that is. While it has it's humorous moments the book takes on some very real issues such as gay rights and removing life support. Angie's resistance and strength even at the lowest of times, makes this a very inspiring read.


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