Review: Beast by Brie Spangler


Title: Beast
Author: Brie Spangler
Pub. Date: October 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality.

As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?

The Review

Despite the fact that there were barely any characters that were likeable, I enjoyed Beast so much!

I hated JP from the beginning until the end. I didn’t care for Dylan/Beast too much either. Dylan just seemed very whiny and woe is me. I know part of that woe is me is a premise behind the book, but it just bothered me every time I read him degrade himself and the whole relying on what someone – including himself – looks like for happiness.

Of course I really loved Jamie’s character . . . she was real from the beginning to the end, didn’t take anyone’s shit, and could handle her own. Not once did she want Dylan’s help at all, despite his constant offering of protection.

Sometimes I felt like Dylan was trying too hard. He was obviously trying to prove something to himself and to Jamie, and it just felt forced. However, I could really tell it was all because of his internal struggling with everything that happened with Jamie. Having never dealt with this particular situation myself, I could completely understand his mentality.

The main topic of Beast is something I really think needs to be addressed more frequently, especially in YA! It’s something that’s not widely understood and it definitely should be. If more people took the time to understand and weren’t so close minded, maybe there wouldn’t be so much ignorance and hate.

If you or someone you know needs more information on transgender equality, please visit the National Center for Transgender Equality or visit GLAAD for further resources.


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