Forbidden Book Club – A Great and Terrible Beauty – Post #2

13 Mar


This month we are reading A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.  Hopefully everyone was able to read through the first nine chapters. We’d still love your thoughts even if you are not yet quite there.

Having read this book before, I’m trying to be very careful to not include any spoilers.  I love this series and it’s a little hard to curb my eagerness to talk about the whole book.  But I’ll give it my best effort.

1. First, what do you think of the book so far?

You all know what I think, so I won’t repeat myself. But I’m really interested to see what others think of this book.

2.  Have you read any of Libba Bray’s other books (Going Bovine or Beauty Queens)?  If so, how do you think they compare with A Great and Terrible Beauty? I’ve read both.  While I thought Going Bovine was very well written, it was also hard to read.I found it very confusing, but the main character is confused and the story is told from his point of view.  Beauty Queens was a riot. I’m originally from Texas and Miss Texas had me in stitches.  At the 2011 Texas Book Festival I told Libba that I laughed my butt off while reading Beauty Queens. She laughed back and said she laughed hers off while writing it.

3. Despite her visions, Gemma is not so unlike the other girls at Spence in her feelings of alienation and her yearning for acceptance. Gemma’s need to fit into her new school leads to her being locked in the chapel in the middle of the night. Would you have made the same choice? Have you ever done something you didn’t want to do, to get someone to like you? Have you ever taken advantage of someone who wanted you to like him or her? I’m a “woman of a certain age” – a nice way of saying I’m old and so while I do remember as a teen wanting to fit in very badly, I can’t recall any of the less than wise things I did just to get people to like me or to fit in.  On occasion I did stand up for myself and refuse to do some things (I refused to drink until I was of legal drinking age – but my friends didn’t hold that against me. They liked having a designated driver.)

So! What are your thoughts? Inquiring minds want to know.

For next week, lets read through the end of Chapter 17 by Tuesday, March 20th.  Is this pace OK for everyone?


Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Forbidden Book Club – A Great and Terrible Beauty – Post #2

  1. Karen W

    March 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve read this book before as well, but every time is like the first for me. It’s such a thoroughly enjoyable series, the writing is engaging and the characters are so well drawn out. Every time I read it I’m as engaged and delighted as I was before.
    I really want to read Beauty Queens, but I’ve read Going Bovine, and I loved it. It’s the craziest road trip ever. My only complaint is that it is a bit confusing, but I love the over-the-topness of the book. However, in comparison to AGATB this series is much more structured, the plot is more concise and the writing is a little less…insane. I’d love to get into Libba Bray’s head and see what’s growing there lol
    I can totally relate, I did massive stupidities in order to fit in, of which drugs and cutting class on an almost regular basis were the less damaging. I remember one thing I never did though was what Cecily does, which is try to keep others down in an effort to look better. I never tolerated it, and my friends didn’t do it around me either. I tried to never taken advantage of anyone apart from older boyfriends with cars from whom I needed rides (but I don’t think that counts)
    I think Libba Bray does an amazing job of capturing the feeling of Gemma’s alienation and the quiet desperation of many of the Spence girls. I find myself relating to characters that I don’t even like.

  2. readingteen

    March 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I love reading books in this time period. I think that Libba does a really good job of capturing the feel of the time, but kind of adding a modern touch to it (in the attitudes of the girls). I read this book a long time ago, so it’s fun to revisit it!

    I haven’t read any of Libba’s other books, but I’d like to. I met her at BEA last year, and she was hilarious. I actually have a picture of her trying to eat my head…haha.

    As far as your question 3……as an adult, I think, oh I wouldn’t be so irresponsible, but knowing how I was as a teenager….yeah. I’d make all the bad decisions. haha.


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