The meanest of the mean girls, Rebekah Austin rules her school with sharp outfits and an even sharper tongue. She has a way of eviscerating even the most beautiful and brilliant girls in her class to maintain her cold grip on the high school social hierarchy. But underneath the queen-bee façade is someone who feels ugly, repulsive… beastly.
An edgy thriller from a dynamic new voice on the YA scene, Beastia by Zoe Cruz [March 17, 2017, Createspace] joins best-selling novels like Cinder and Princess of Thorns in the buzzy canon of modern fairytale retellings that explore deeper themes of the original story.
More than an exploration of Beauty and the Beast, Cruz flips the script by challenging the mainstream media representation of conventionally beautiful women falling in love with not-so-attractive men (in this case, literally a beast) when the opposite is so rarely portrayed. Love and friendship aren’t exclusive to the conventionally attractive, which is a subjective standard to begin with. As Rebekah learns lessons about beauty, love and self worth, the reader finds their own assumptions and prejudices challenged.
Chapter 2, Pg. 9-10
“Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.”
“Move it, freak!” I yell at the girl in my way. Everything feels like it’s racing faster and faster out of control today. Every day feels like one step closer to my parents getting a divorce. Will I see Daddy even less? Will Mom completely fall apart?
I didn’t finish my English paper last night. Instead, Evie and I worked until after midnight on decorations for the party. Evie has it easy. As long as she doesn’t burn the house down, they don’t seem to care what she does while they’re away.
I hate feeling out of control. I hate screwing up, and I still have to manage to get an English paper written before third period. I’m going to have to skip Calculus and sneak into the library this morning. Ugh.
I see Jo-Ann coming down the hall toward me, and right before she passes me, I shove my shoulder into her.
Jo-Ann. From her ripped-up, patched-over jeans to her fake bullet belt and band shirt, I loathe her. There’s something about her big boots and dark eyeliner, the way she walks, what she says in class. Even though she’s at the bottom of the food chain, she doesn’t seem to care. She can be whoever she wants to be.
“Freak,” I snarl.
“Get over yourself, Rebekah.”
I turn around and flip her off.
At my locker, I hear my phone bing and my heart flutters when I see it’s Brett. He’s the only thing going right in my life. He’s in college and plays soccer. We met through Evie’s last boyfriend, Josh. Brett and Josh are best friends. Evie doesn’t think he’s that into me. She thinks it’s just because he thinks he can score faster with me, but I know the truth. He really likes me and not just for my body. He likes me because I’m smart and ambitious too. We both have big dreams about what we want to do with our lives. We’ve only been dating a few weeks, but he’s perfect.
Miss you, babe. A week is too long without seeing you. Can’t wait until next Monday. I shiver imagining his blond hair and sharp blue eyes. He can’t come to the Halloween party tonight, because the soccer team had something going on. He wanted me to come, but I promised Evie I would help her with her party. He was cool with it.
That’s another reason I like Brett. He totally gets when I need to help a friend out for something and doesn’t get all clingy like a high schooler.
I smile, despite everything. I’ve got Brett, someone who makes me feel special and not like the biggest loser in the world.