Beastly Beauty

Scholastic. May 2024. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338809442.
Gr 8 Up–With this novel, Donnelly has written a familiar but unique story. Beau is a thief who relies on his good looks to get away with his crimes. While working with other thieves, he stumbles upon a castle that seems to have magically appeared. It is too tempting for the thieves to ignore, so they go in, but are almost killed by a beast. Beau lives but is trapped at the castle where he meets Arabella, the head of the house. Arabella’s ladies-in-waiting carefully guard her, and they are only one of the mysteries surrounding the castle. Beau’s main concern is getting out of the castle, but he also wants to learn the secrets that everyone is hiding. Arabella and Beau, different as can be, are drawn to each other. From the start, it is easy to like Beau’s charming character, while Arabella is initially a harder character to discern. Via painful flashbacks, readers see how Arabella, who once had a mind of her own and spoke up for what she believed, has been reduced to a character who cannot even remember what she loves. By the end, readers will be rooting for her. Along with setting a beautiful scene, Donnelly has written a story where readers will be turning pages to see the main characters find each other.
VERDICT Middle and high school librarians will want this in their collections.

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