Hey everyone! Super excited to share this sweet contemporary with you all today. Brie Spangler is a local author for us and Christy is moderating a panel that includes Brie at Hicklebee's for #SmallBizSat! Be sure to come on down and check it out. For now, here are our thoughts on Brie's debut, Beast.
Alright, let's get down and dirty. Beast is marketed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. How does the story hold up to the one we all know and love?
NS: Hmmmm....Other than Dylan's hulking size and Jamie's beauty I don't get the feel for it being too much of a retelling. It does hit on some points but the story is solid and stands on its own quite well. I have to admit Beast had one of my favorite "ships" for this year. I truly enjoyed this story and Dylan and Jamie.
CJ: I'd say Beast is Beauty and the Beast light. It rings true about there being a boy who is ~misunderstood~ and feels like an outcast due to his appearance and a girl who he falls in love with. It is sweet and heartwarming, lots of "aww" moments. I mean, I found myself saying "aww" aloud many times when reading it.
What about our two main characters, Dylan and Jamie? What's up with them?
NS: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Dylan. In his eyes everyone feared him due to his size and no one seemed to give him a chance because of that. So, that was a lot of baggage to for him to constantly carry and it colored his outlook on life. Then enters Jamie, someone that could look past his surly bravado and find the true person inside and for Dylan he just sees he as a girl that he really likes. Initially I worried for how things were going to "blow up" once Dylan found out about Jamie and I liked how I got to witness everything that was going on inside his mind and how he dealt with Jamie's gender identity. He went through a myriad of well placed emotions but in the end he realized that he loved Jamie for who she was on the inside and the rest they would work on together. That made my heart smile because they both had issues about their bodies, their home life and relationships in general and these matters all seemed to reach a satisfying decision that made me smile.
CJ: Dylan is exactly what I wanted to see in his character. I love that the story is written in his voice and that he's challenged for his thoughts throughout the story. I was concerned that Jamie would become somewhat of a manic pixie dream girl, which is the opposite of what I would want in a story that focuses on Dylan coming to terms with Jamie's gender identity. He's not perfect and his issues get confronted, which I appreciate. Jamie knows who she is and is not going to tolerate any BS. They're both facing a body that doesn't agree with the way they wan to be seen by others. Their resolution made my heart happy.
We share a laugh! Time to buy prom tickets.
What was your favorite part of the story?
NS: I adored how both Jamie and Dylan came to terms with their relationship and how they were together despite what the world may think of them. They made each other happy and that is all that really matters. It was a well done story that tackled some issues quite well with a bit of romance. Who doesn't love a romance?
CJ: Besides loving that this is a well done story about a cis-male falling in love with a trans-girl, I loved the part where he worked things out with his family. YES!
Have any of you read Beast? Leave us a comment with your thoughts!
Nancy & Christy
by Brie Spangler
Published: October 11th 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
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?