Book 21: Beast by Brie Spangler

I had heard a lot about this book before I began, and it was all great. I can now add to those great things. This book is worth picking up tomorrow and binging. You will laugh and scream possibly at the same time. It is infuriating and endearing.

This book is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it has two major twists: giant high school male and trans high school girl. Even though this book follows a similar plot to the original story and is laden with little Easter eggs for every to find, it is stays true to the real meaning behind Beauty and the Beast: you must learn to love yourself.

Dylan, or the Beast as his high school friends call him, is a giant kid with hair everywhere. He is our main character and our POV. His character is of course the one that is supposed to develop the most within this story. It does (kind of). He has been treated like a beast for so long that he is more than just externally beast-like. He is cruel and selfish.

Jamie is our Beauty. Dylan is immediately taken with her from first sight, but he is too wrapped up in himself that he doesn’t even know that she is trans (even though she told him the day they met). It is so refreshing to see her character in a light that is not just explaining what being trans is. It is about not always having to explain what trans is. It is about being a normal girl and not being a warrior for the cause. Even though her character doesn’t develop as much, her character is the one we want to have happiness.

The mom.. My God. I have never met a character as annoying and terrible. Helicopter moms are the worst. They are even worse when you have a smart, responsible son. This is the part where the books does not develop well. The mom makes some BAD decisions, and she is the real reason for all of the turmoil. This is not touched at all. We just skip over her “punishment” and go straight to the “happily every after,”

I really did like this book a lot. I have to say that I did not LOVE it. I will recommend it to anyone looking for a good read, but I will most likely never read it again.

For readers, pick it up, learn something, and enjoy this great read.

For libarians, this NEEDS to be in your armory of books. It is a perfect pairing with If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. It is also a great thing to show teens that they are allowed to live in peace without having to be a martyr for the cause. Something many teens in the LGBTQ+ community need to know.


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