Review: Beast by Brie Spangler

Monday, October 2, 2017


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'm a sucker for the concept of "it's what's on the inside that matters, not what's on the outside". This book is a modern day Beauty and the Beast. Dylan is huge and hairy AKA he's the big, hair, scary beast. Jamie is our Belle and she is trans. How freaking great is that!!

  • I love that Jamie was transgender. As a non-transgender person I can't speak as to how accurate Jamie was as a character the same way I might be able to with an African American character, but I loved her. She was tough, honest, straight forward, and she wasn't taking any crap from JP or Dylan. 
  • I liked the dynamic between JP and Dylan. It would have been easy for Brie Spangler to make Dylan the evil villain of his high school with his large muscle, but that wasn't quite what happened. JP was "that kid". He had money, he was popular, beloved by adults, people fought with each other to enter his orbit. He was also a bully, but instead of harassing kids himself, like any self respecting bully would, he sent Dylan to do it. The crazy thing was, Dylan hated being the enforcer of their duo. Like I said, and interesting dynamic. 
  • I like that this book didn't have a neat and tidy ending. As with real life, sometimes you don't know what the next day will bring. You don't know if you'll be able to forgive and forget, you don't know that your friendships will last, but you go to sleep, wake up the next day, and hope for the best.
  • Small spoiler..................................There is a moment when Dylan and Jamie end up naked and in bed. Sex can be hard enough as it is, even when you're an adult, but when you're a trans girl and you still have male genitalia I imagine it can be even more difficult. I really appreciate the way Bri Spangler didn't eliminate this slightly uncomfortable moment for Dylan from the book. That's all I say about it. Read it yourself.   
  • My only issue with the book was with the mom. I didn't like her. She was a worrier as many parents are, but something about her felt fake and over done.
Read this book. That's honestly all there is to say. 


  1. Oh my goodness, this book sounds AMAZING! I'm surprised I hadn't heard of it earlier! Jamie sounds like such an amazing character -- she sounds like such a badass! I'm adding this one to my TBR right now :)

    Awesome review, Kym!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!

    1. I stumbled across it while attempting to finish a reading challenge. I was shocked I hadn't heard of it either!! It's a worth while read. Thanks for stopping by!


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