Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5
What did you like about the book? Beauty and the Beast is a beloved fairy tale that is soon to get more attention with the upcoming live-action film release. Best-selling author Jennifer Donnelly has penned a new magical adventure for Belle as she struggles to find her place and recognize the love of her friends. The story’s characters, both friend and foe, are unique and enchanting in their own way. The nostalgia of the original Disney film and the familiarity of the fairy tale will draw readers in; the action of each chapter, especially as Belle becomes further entwined in the mysterious pages of “Nevermore” will keep them reading until the end.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The idea of Love and Death creating a wager on the story of the Beast and Belle adds a new twist and higher stakes to this classic story, but the poetic elegance of these characters is often overshadowed by Belle and other characters spouting moral lessons every few chapters in a way unsuited to natural conversational flow. The story itself is also predictable, eliminating much of the suspense.
To whom would you recommend this book? Teens who have enjoyed fairy tale re-tellings, particularly Liz Braswell’s “Twisted Tales” or Danielle Paige’s “Dorothy Must Die” series. This is a quick and sweet read for those looking to escape into a book, much like Belle. Though the quality of the story is modest, this is a good recommendation for reluctant readers as it speaks to both childhood nostalgia and teenage insecurities (granting it 3.5 stars, as noted above).
Who should buy this book? Teen library collections (public and school) as a supplemental purchase
Where would you shelve it ? YA fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No. This is a book that will be great to have for those who need a quick read, but the story lacks originality to appeal to everyone.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: March 6, 2017