Queen of the Universe: Love, Truth, Beauty

Tuttle. Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9780804856959. pap. $16.99. F
DEBUT Cleo Walter is determined to prove herself as more than the daughter of a renowned film director by becoming a top model and lead actress. As she desperately tries to succeed in Metro Manila’s film and TV industry to outgrow the shadow of her famous father, a cold man who left his family behind, Cleo discovers she must first find her true passion to follow the right dream. Upon unearthing her mother’s past, Cleo’s path becomes clear: to represent Filipinos by winning the Queen of the Universe pageant title. The book is packed with characters of different backgrounds and personalities, some of whom readers get closer insight to than others. Protagonist Cleo is admirable in her ability to tackle challenges with great resolve, especially as she’s introduced to beauty camp, a pageantry organization that trains potential beauty queens. Amid the glamour and grit of stylish gowns and high-heeled powerwalking, this debut novel is an interesting peek into the Philippines’ pageant scene as well as the local way of life portrayed through food, city culture, and familial bonds.
VERDICT Purchase where fiction about celebrities or books about fashion, entertainment, and beauty are often requested.
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