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After Beau LeFrancois’s mother wrecks Bett Diaz’s luxury SUV, his family faces an impossibly large bill—with no car insurance to help pay it. To pay off the debt, Beau spends his weekends working at the Diaz Ranch.
Beau’s prepared to work, but he’s definitely not prepared for the infamous temper of Bett Diaz, also known as “The Beast” at school. As Beau learns the secrets behind Bett’s tough exterior, he finds himself falling for her . . . until he catches Bett in a lie.
I had just finished a book and was browsing NetGalley because I don’t have any self control, when I stumbled upon this book. It looked really sweet and I can’t resist a retelling, so when I saw I could read it right away, I just did that and started reading. Now I have to be honest that I wasn’t expecting much, it seemed like a standard retelling, with no Fantasy references whatsoever.
I did notice how I always expect the MC to be female though, the start of the story doesn’t share whether we’re dealing with a male or female MC (or non-binary but to be honest I didn’t expect that in this book at all), and since the name ‘Beau’ can be given to both male and female humans (also pets, let’s be honest here, but that’s not what the story is about), I naturally assumed it was about a girl. When I finally realized that the MC was male, I looked back on what I had already read and thought.. well, everything that just happened could happen to a girl aswell, so it didn’t really matter to me. Honestly, I thought the same way after I finished the book. The only way you could know the MC was a boy, was that some people called him ‘son’ I think? So. Yeah. Can I just imagine Beau being female? I just find it more interesting that way :’)
The rest of the story was quite uneventful, since Beau has to work at the Ranch, most of the story revolves around his weekends, giving us little to no insight on the rest of his life (granted, there is some backstory about his parents and siblings which was very cute – these were actually my favourite parts). And then Bett.. I’m sorry, but I didn’t feel anything for her? She was called ‘The Beast’ at school, but for reasons that were explained really badly. I don’t think that the reasons people called her that were severe enough to actually earn her that nickname..
In the end, both characters felt really flat, and other characters that were added as Beau’s friends didn’t really add anything to the story. There were certain aspects of the characters that were really in your face, Beau was loyal to his family, something that was repeated again and again. Bett was shy, had no filter.
All in all, it was kinda sweet, but very shallow. When I started reading it, I thought it was what I wanted, but the story and the characters didn’t really develop themselves. I would definitely not say this was YA, more Middle Grade. Maybe the fact that it was said to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling made me not like it in the end. There was barely anything there, aside from Beau (Belle) having to work at the Ranch, and Bett being called The Beast, there was no real connection to the fairytale. All this considered, I think it might be a really fun story for younger readers, as long as they don’t expect too much from the retelling side.