Review: Beast by Brie Spangler

Title: Beast
Author: Brie Spangler
Genre: YA Contemporary / Retelling
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: October 11th 2016
Page Number: 336
Rating: 3.5/5


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 the two things that let him hide, his hat and his long hair, 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 during 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 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, a true romantic hidden inside a realist, and a devoted friend, who is also transgender. Will Dylan’s hang-ups about himself cause him to lose the best girl he’s ever known?

I've had my eye on Beast for quite some time now and when I finally sat down to read it I was left feeling a little deflated. My goal for 2017 is to read more books that feature diversity. Whether that be in sexuality, religion, ethnicity. I just want to be more open minded that I am. I was hoping Beast was going to educate myself and other people on what it means to be transgender and transgender issues in regards to dating, however, I felt like the way the author portrayed the issues was in a way that felt under valued and not all there.
At least it did to me.
Dylan and Jamie should be seen as a guy and girl in love but it's continuously brought up, even by Dylan that she's just a girl with a penis and it left me feeling uncomfortable. I wanted to see acceptance even though I know not everyone is. I just thought Dylan would have had a more positive attitude towards it even after he accepted it the first time. Two steps forward and a hundred steps back is how you'd describe their relationship. So naïve.
However, what I really enjoyed about the book was the loving support from Dylan's mother. She embraced it, knowing all the hardship Dylan would go through and went and educated herself on gender and sexual identity. That warmed my hard as I know so few LGBT people get that in their life times. I also really loved how passionate Jamie was about life. She never let anything get in her way, she stood open and proud, which paired with Dylan's strong personality despite his insecurities really endearing.
I know my review is slightly negative but I'm trying to get the point out there that transgender issues are so important to portray correctly. I'm passionate about gender identity, always will be. I want people out there who want to educate themselves a little by reading fictional works to be a little educated with each book they read.

No comments