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Beast by Brie Spangler

Sunday, March 17, 2019

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?

Goodreads Summary

I still don't know what to think of this book. I don't think it had a lot of Beauty and the Beast in the plot which was sad for me because that was a huge selling point. The author toed the line in several circumstances of transforming our fun, spunky trans character into a character whose most defining characteristic is her gender. I would have liked Jamie's character with or without the trans addition. She was a foil for Dylan, who needed her down-to-earth rationality and good sense of humor to get through high school. Dylan's character experienced gender dysphoria. His appearance, tenor of his voice, muscular frame, etc...all make people view him a certain way and he isn't comfortable with how they view him. He isn't sure if he fits the mold of what people expect.

I liked Dylan's character generally, but I was happy that his plot-line didn't take over or cast a shadow on Jamie's. The book followed a fairly predictable plot and ending. I wouldn't have minded more of the premise the book promises in the summary actually in the book. I generally liked the author's tone and way of writing. This book would be ideal for young adult/adult readers.

4 Stars

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