I was sent a copy of BEAST from Brie Spangler herself. I am forever grateful that I was able to get my hands on this book. I remember stumbling upon this book one day on one of those “Goodreads most anticipated” and I read the review and Signal boosted the mess out of this book on my then tumblr account. I mean it read as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, of course I would want this book. ( Confess: I’ve never seen Beauty and the beast the movie, but I love the concept.)
I knew walking into this book, that the main character was trans, but I wasn’t sure how the book was going to maneuver around that topic. Surprisingly it did it,( to my opinion and take my interpretation of the trans experience with a grain of salt cause i’m a cis blk gay person.) really well.
The main character, Jamie does deal with transphobia and transmisogyny, along with other darker elements of the story that really make you feel for Jamie, which is good. Humanizing a main character and not making their oppression seem like the only dimensional aspect of them is boring, this book is not.
The story is told through the perspective of Dylan (Beast) who ends up in a self haring program after falling off the roof and breaking his leg, he meets Jamie then things happen. We poke a lot of fun at Manic-Pixie dream girl troupes and Jamie runs a close line of being a manic-pixie herself as she exist it seems at time to be the person to help him through his own cognitive dissonance and understanding of the politics surrounding gender and sexuality. he is after all a teenage boy.
The book is both parts light-hearted and also dark, it is honest and represents people honestly. I enjoyed reading it and I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.