Beast by Brie Spangler

beastTJ Burns — October 10, 2016

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Beast is a creative and original twist on the traditional “Beauty and the Beast” story. In the original story, Belle is able to overcome physical barriers and fall in love with the person inside, “the beast.” In this story, both Dylan and Jamie need to overcome the physical and psychological barriers if they are to fall in love with the person underneath.

I really love the descriptive metaphors Dylan uses to weave this story. Entertaining and clever. I really feel I know Dylan well and I understand where he is coming from. Although this is written first-person from Dylan’s POV, I also feel that I know where some of the other characters, especially Jamie but also Dylan’s mom and JP, are coming from. Beast is very well written.

I could easily empathize with both Dylan and Jamie.

Jamie thinks she’s finally found someone who accepts her for who she is. Who is decent and totally cool with everything. And… who could possibly been more than a friend, could be someone special.

Dylan thinks a girl (a beautiful one at that!) has finally been able to see past the exterior to see the real him. She has seen past “the beast,” past the stereotypes and found a sensitive, smart, and genuinely decent human being. Dylan also thinks that Jamie could be his girlfriend, someone special.

Jamie is honest with Dylan from the get-go, playing no games. She lets her defenses down with him, so the disappointment, anger, and hurt must be exponential as a result.

Dylan doesn’t know how to react to the fact that he is so attracted to someone he considers to be “a boy” – at least at first. He knows he’s not gay, so what does this mean? I can understand his disappointment too – he thinks he’s an idiot to have thought a beautiful (or any) girl would be interested in him romantically.

I was extremely curious to see how this plays out. I wanted there to be a “happy ending” to this story. I wanted both beauty and the beast to see past the exteriors and into each other’s hearts. I thought it would be wonderful if they could fall in love, but I was skeptical.

In the end, Dylan and Jamie are just two people who are attracted to each other, who make each other feel good when they are together. Dylan is attracted to Jamie physically and emotionally. Jamie is attracted to Dylan… (maybe not physically, but at least emotionally). Why do we even need to label their relationship or them? Terms like homosexual, heterosexual, and transgender just box people in. People are so much more than a label. And love is universal.

Expected publication: October 11th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

I received a copy of this book from Random House Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can find this book at:

Amazon: Beast by Brie Spangler

Barnes & Noble:

Teen and Young Adult Books at Amazon

TJ Burns Goodreads Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1689008602

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