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Beast by Brie Spangler
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Showing 5 of 5
This book didn't really deliver what it promised. The hype around it indicates that it will be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which never really materialized. Even ignoring this, I found the romance uncompelling because the main character seemed incapable of seeing other people as people. Dylan hardly ever considers other people's thoughts and feelings, other than, in moments of self-flagellation, saying to himself, "Ugh I'm so awful, it's terrible how I never consider other people's thoughts and feelings." But these moments are illustrations of his depression and self-loathing, not periods of reflection and determination to change. Even in the climax of the book there seem to be no real changes in Dylan's consideration of others. It's great that he's able to work on his depression and problems of self-worth, but he never stops being completely self-centered. Not to mention, this book is focused on struggling through transphobia, but even after learning acceptance in that area, Dylan sure seems like one heck of a misogynist. I'm not clear on why Jamie should have to settle for him. It honestly comes off like she's a prize he gets for learning to value himself. ( )
  bibliovermis | Aug 24, 2017 |
I got a review copy/e-galley of this book and was so excited to read it! YA with trans characters is close to my heart, and we need more of it (and we need it to be good). Sadly, I had to drop this book about halfway through. The protagonist, a troubled teen boy with an anger problem, has spent half the book angry at the world, then in love with the first girl who was nice to him. He wasn't listening when she told him about herself when they met, so halfway through the book when someone points out that she's a trans girl, he flips out. He's cruel to her, smashes up his basement including the trains his father collected for him before he died of cancer when the protagonist was young. The anger and hurt at being 'lied to' by trans people is SUCH a toxic meme that centering the experience of a cis dude getting angry and violent about a trans person's identity, EVEN THOUGH the book is clearly intending on him learning a ~lesson~, is something I can't get behind. It's potentially damaging for trans kids to feel that they should expect this reaction and be patient/hope to ride it out if they experience it, and it validates a reaction that is dangerous to trans women. There are lots of YA books with trans protagonists out there that actually center their feelings and experience--try one of those instead of this one. ( )
  Gretchening | Jul 20, 2017 |
This is the most original retelling of the Beauty and the Beast that I’ve seen. 15-year-old Dylan is huge and hairy. When he “accidently” falls off the roof of his house, he ends up in a support group of self-harmers. He’s never had a girlfriend and when he meets Jamie in the group, he is smitten. She’s tall. He doesn’t have to lean way over to hear her, but there’s so much more to their friendship. And then he discovers Jamie isn’t really who he thought she was. It’s a great story about learning to become yourself even when you don’t meet social norms. ( )
  brangwinn | Apr 16, 2017 |
Genre: Realistic fiction/classic retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Plot: Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn't look like your average fifteen-year-old, he is the butt of jokes and scorn. Dylan goes up on his roof falls and has to attend group therapy for self-harmers. He meets Jamie. She's funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. But she’s more then she seems.
Conflict: How Dylan is force to confront his own bias when presented with something he views is more disgusting then his facial and weight issues. ( )
  cay250 | Mar 30, 2017 |
I had the privilege of being asked to give this book an early read. I had some minor issues which kept it from being a five-star book for me, but they are things that aren't likely to be an issue for the majority of readers.

I found both Dylan and Jamie to be endearing characters for whom I wanted only the best, even if that meant them not being together. The novel is told from Dylan's POV, which allowed me to sympathize with him in a way that would likely not have been possible had the story been being told by Jamie. And, so, when he turned into a dickish fifteen-year-old boy, it was both horrifying and pitiable. When he finally starts to realize that his "best friend" is actually a toxic force in his life, it made me want to cheer. (Or buy him a cookie, as I am so not the cheer type.) And, when he tried to mend things with Jamie (see above re: dickish fifteen-year-old), I wanted her to take him back, but also kind of didn't. These two kids, with their physical challenges, are going to face so many obstacles to a successful relationship, and I couldn't help but wonder if they wouldn't be happier apart. But, in the end, I really want them to make it work and to face whatever may come together. ( )
1 vote BillieBook | Mar 1, 2016 |
Showing 5 of 5
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