cover image Beast


Brie Spangler. Knopf, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-101-93716-7

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. [em]Agent: Mackenzie Brady, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Oct.) [/em]