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?
I feel cheated. I stumbled into this book a few days after I read If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, and I saw that she had loved the beast, so since her book was one of my favorite reads in a long time all I could think about was getting my hands on Beast.
Not only that, it has everything one would think it makes it for an incredible book; unattractive main character, trans love interest, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST RETELLING! I was out of my mind ready to fall in love with this book. Well, I think it’s safe to say that I not only didn’t get that, but I disliked it so much that I almost gave up on it at multiple parts.
When I got to around 70% of the book I remember thinking, ‘how can every character in this book be so horrible?’. Now, looking back, I see that’s not exactly true. Jamie was a nice character, a somewhat silver lining in the midst of this mess. She was decent and although she annoyed me sometimes, overall I think she was great and maybe, if the book had dual povs or if it was from her pov, I wouldn’t have disliked it so much.
My biggest problem was the main character, Dylan. I thought he’d be relatable, because who hasn’t gone through a phase of not accepting yourself and the way you look? But he was the furthest thing from it. He was a whinny and pathetic white boy who thinks he drew the short end of the stick because he’s big and hairy. Boo freaking hoo. He walks around thinking he’s a ‘nice guy’ and everyone should admire him for being so nice even though he looks rough on the outside, and then he turns around and judges everyone on their looks. He sees everyone’s problems as insignificant compared to his when in reality, they’re a lot bigger and more relevant than anything in his life.
Now let’s talk about the side characters, JP and Dylan’s mom. There are no words for how much I loathe JP, his actions are disgusting, he treats everyone like they’re in the world for his use and amusement. Dylan’s mom is so manipulative and the way she blames Jamie for her son being an asshole is ridiculous.
The writing isn’t bad exactly, it’s just vapid and bland. The transphobia and disregard of self-harm are things that bothered me a lot, but I, as a cis woman, don’t feel entitle to comment on it. Looking at it now, I don’t know how I managed to actually finish this book, it was truly horrible and I don’t recommend it at all.