A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Rainbow Book List selection
A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection
A witty, wise, and heart-wrenching reimagining of Beauty and the Beast that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan.
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?
Praise for Beast:
"Writing smartly in Dylan’s voice, Spangler artfully represents both main characters: the boy who feels like a freak and the witty, imperfect, wise trans girl he loves. Very lightly borrowing on the classic fairy tale, she allows them to fail and succeed without resorting to paper villains or violent plot points to manipulate compassion. A believable and beautiful human story.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred review
"Spangler’s captivating portrayals of Dylan and Jamie offer piercing insight into the long, painful battle to shatter stereotypes in order to win dignity, love, and acceptance.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred review
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Brie Spangler recharges a classic fairy tale with a modern LGBTQ spin. After a not-quite-accidental tumble off a roof, Dylan—known as “the Beast” because of his height and hairiness—is assigned to group therapy. During sessions, Dylan admires the long legs and sharp tongue of Jamie, a major beauty who he later learns is trans. That revelation throws a wrench in their budding romance, and Spangler goes deep into the complicated emotions that follow. She doesn’t sugarcoat issues of transphobia, depression, bullying, and body image, but she doesn’t sermonize either. The result is a sensitive and thoroughly believable love story.
Picture book creator Spangler (Peg Leg Peke) turns to an older audience with a thought-provoking novel about two shunned teens who struggle to make sense of the world and themselves. At nearly six foot four and covered with hair, 15-year-old Dylan Ingvarsson has been nicknamed the Beast, but he doesn't feel like one. Mostly, he leads a quiet life, earning top grades in his class and supporting his widowed mother. When Dylan breaks his leg falling off a roof, perhaps not entirely accidentally, and ends up in therapy for self-harmers, he meets an intriguing girl named Jamie, a talented photographer, who seems to like Dylan for who he is. For the first time, Dylan finds himself falling in love, but then he learns something he missed while he was zoning out in therapy: Jamie is trans. Sharply drawn relationships and true-to-life dialogue make Dylan's interactions with Jamie, his mother, and his friends feel breathtakingly real. Spangler's captivating portrayals of Dylan and Jamie offer piercing insight into the long, painful battle to shatter stereotypes in order to win dignity, love, and acceptance. Ages 12 up.