The Beast is an Animal – Peternelle van Arsdale (Review) + Book Mail!

Title: The Beast is an Animal
Author: Peternelle van Arsdale
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017 (March 7)
Genre: YA Fantasy

**I received a copy of this book free from and the publisher in exchange for reading data**
This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

(Stay tuned for the awesome Book Mail I won!)

So I got to choose books for the reading program, and I also chose The Beast is an Animal, thinking it would be like a fairy-tale retelling. The cover is delish, and the blurb is super-interesting…

I was super-excited to read this and it doesn’t come out until March, so I was stoked. Let me tell you a little about this mysterious ARC that came out of nowhere from an unknown author:

We first read of the twins, Angelica and Benedicta. They are born with strange markings that the townspeople associate this with the Beast, a legendary creature that lives in the fforest (yes, I’m not misspelling this…that’s how she spells forest in the book). The twins must be moved, with their mother, to the fforest. The father stays behind, and eventually the twins become ghostly…and feed off the souls of the adults in the neighboring town as vengeance. 

Alas wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep. At seven years old, she’s not supposed to go out at night, but she does. She sees the twin girls and they touch her, but leave her alone. The next morning, all the adults are dead, the children left behind. 

When a traveling salesman comes to town and sees the damage, he takes the children to the neighboring town: a town so afraid of soul eaters and the Beast that they make the children who come watch at night for the evil outside the gates. As Alys grows, she and the other children from the ghost town are ostracized. And then…

They start to disappear.

Alys knows that Angelica and Benedicta are to blame. But she can’t say anything: the people of the new town already think it’s suspicious that she was awake the night of her parents’ deaths while all the other children were asleep. As she grows up and watches the children disappear slowly, she knows she needs to do something. But when a chance encounter leads her to be called a witch, Alys might not be able to do anything to help the children, or herself, at all.

Is It Classroom Appropriate?

Yes, it’s kind of like a boogeyman story. No swearing, no sex, just a story about a strange girl who feels little love and identifies more with the soul eaters than her peers. It’s a creepy tale, but I can’t see much academic merit in using it in class. I’ll be brief in this regard because I am not exactly over the moon with the book to begin with. I had finished this book days ago and still it took me this long to write a review.

Age Range:

As it’s an ARC, it’s not going to be on, so I won’t even check. I would say that it’s okay for as young as 12 SO middle graders shouldn’t shy away from reading it. Though the book might be too slow moving for younger readers, it still isn’t too advanced for them or too mature. I can safely say 12 and up and not feel uncomfortable about that recommendation.

End Result:


I wanted to like it…I really did. But I couldn’t connect with Alys because she was so strange. In one scene she meets the Beast, and she practically lists after him in a weird, nonsexual way. She thinks about him and how he smells. He is described in a very grotesque way, but she finds the twins and the Beast beautiful. We are told she is like them, but “not like them.” Actually, the most entertaining part of the book was the creepy nursery rhymes about the Beast. 

The Beast is an animal

You’d better lock the gate

Or when it’s dark, It comes for you

Then it will be too late

The Beast is an animal 

Hear it scratch upon your door

It sucks your soul then licks the bowl

And sniffs around for more

The Beast is an animal 

It has a pointy chin

It eats you while you sleep at night 

Leaves nothing but your skin

–Old Byd Nursery Rhyme

I liked that, and I thought this book would have a lot of promise since that’s the first thing you read. But it just wasn’t relatable. Alys wasn’t someone you champion for. And then when you get to the end it’s kind of anti-climactic. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. I have actually struggled to remember most of it. 
And that’s the worst: when a book is forgettable. 

I’m not saying it was a bad read, but it wasn’t a great read. I’d give The Beast is an Animal ★★★☆☆. Until my graphic is bigger, I’ll include the key to my ratings underneath all my reviews. Soon I’ll figure out how to make it bigger. Especially now that school is done.

So…would I recommend it? Yeah, I guess. I would say go ahead and add to your TBRs if you really want to read it, but don’t put it at the top. Read it if you have spare time (lol, I know we as book bloggers mean that as never since we never have spare time). But if you do read it, I hope you enjoy it more than I did. And I usually enjoy most books. I have a low bar set. So that should tell you something: that, and the fact that I don’t really rate under three stars. That’s my lowest unless the book is garbage. And it wasn’t garbage, but it wasn’t stellar. 

Here’s the key:

Onto some exciting news! 

Recently I entered a Twitter contest where you retweet to win…and I won…AN ARC OF HEARTLESS!!!!

Heartless! The one book I’ve wanted from the get…and it’s an ARC! ::squeaks::

Here’s some pics so you can enjoy with me…if you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve already seen this. 

The small image in the bottom left talks about how it’s an uncorrected proof. It’s not on the cover so that’s super cool. It even talks about the marketing campaign inside! Eek! As you know, I’ve only recently been getting any physical ARCs, and every one is like gold to me. I do this for the love of books, not the ARCs. It’s just a cool benefit of blogging.

I now have a small collection: my signed ARC copies of Unplugged and The Body Market by Donna Freitas, my ARC copy of Misfit (see Instagram), my lucky and highly coveted ARC copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses (both Misfit and ACOTAR were found at a local antique store for $2 each), and Jas got me an ARC copy of Gilded Cage coming. That’s it for ARCs. I also have a signed copy of Replica (finished copy) and a signed copy of Summer Warriors (because my Uncle wrote it, lol).

I’ll be starting to write to publishers as my Netgalley titles get reviewed. I finished my buddy read of Ever The Hunted today and am posting that tomorrow. I’ll be posting some of my RaRs to get them up before the titles come out. And then the requesting comes…and luckily Flavia and Jasmine have been more than helpful with advice on how to ask for ARCs so that my Roseblood dilemma never happens again (I can’t get my hands on a copy of that book for the life of me). I’d also like to solve the constant denials by HarperCollins. I got denied for a book I requested on Netgalley today.

I’ve been slacking. But I’m back…

HEREEEEEE’S JOHNNY!” (Anybody know where that quote comes from? Hmmm? 😉)

Happy Reading, my blogger bunnies! 😘😘😘 I’m back, and no more school! 😱🙌😱🙌

55 thoughts on “The Beast is an Animal – Peternelle van Arsdale (Review) + Book Mail!

    1. Well, I hope you like it! I’m eager to read Heartless so much that it hurts to wait and read the others that are due first! Everyone has been saying it’s good! But I have Children of Eden and I want to read it before the Overdrive app from the library takes it back!


    1. You might like it…it has a very otherworldly vibe. I’m starting to think I just wasn’t the right audience for this book, but I know there’s others out there that did love the book.
      I think van Arsdale is a good writer…I just wish I could connect to Alys more. But maybe that is the point? Maybe she’s meant to be distanced from us? 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ava!
      I can’t wait to read it! I wish I could crack it open now but I have some ARCs to read and some library books to return soon. Once I’m caught up (from school making me fall behind, argh), I’ll be all over Heartless!
      Have you read it? I’m behind in my emails so I might not have seen your review yet…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh, I know! I am such a sucker for a pretty cover!
      I love it and the paperback cover with the watercolor depiction of the queen. I would own both if I could! I just need a bookshelf now! My books are teetering precariously in stacks and it sucks!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I actually saw The Beast is an Animal somewhere recently and was intrigued. I still am even though it seems to have fallen short for you. But you mentioned weird, and I am a fan of odd, so I will not write it off completely. I am sorry it didn’t work for you though. Love your review!

    Congrats on winning Heartless! I ended up pre-ordering and still have not found the time to read it. But I am very excited to do so soon ❤ I hope you enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m very excited to read it, as I am still 9th on the list on Overdrive, and at that rate I would never get to read it!
      I think this book might be loved by certain people. It just fell flat for me. I wanted to like it, and it wasn’t bad, so I think it’s just a case of wrong reader wrong book! 😉
      I’d love to see your thoughts on it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Megan @ bookslayerReads

    Ok so I haven’t heard of that book, but it does sound really creepy. And I’m not gonna lie, it sounds pretty interesting. I can understand about not connecting with the main character though. I always like to connect with the characters, so it may not be for me either, but I’m willing to give it a try. Three stars isn’t too bad! And congratulations on winning the ARC of Heartless! I think I entered that same giveaway, so I’m thrilled to hear you won it! I really want to read Heartless sometime in the near future. Maybe we can buddy read it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is super creepy. And three stars for me is the lowest I can go, because it did keep my interest. It just wasn’t my flavor, you know? Def think others might like it though!
      I would love to buddy read Heartless with you! It’s a blogger buddy read date! 😊🙌

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That totally would have messed with me to see fforest like that, and I would always wonder if my eyes were playing tricks on me. I was debating about this book, but now seeing your review, you definitely gave me a lot to think about it. Great review and congrats on Heartless!!


    1. Thank you!!
      Sorry, I found this in my Spam folder for some reason so I apologize if this is late!
      I’m totally psyched for Heartless and I just know I’ll love it!
      With this book, the spelling of forest was the first annoying thing…it just was mediocre and not very good. I didn’t hate it but didn’t love it either. I think you might be okay leaving this one on your TBR for awhile…unless you are desperate to read this book. It starts strong and then just drones on and on.
      Have a happy holiday, hon!! 😘


  4. My eyes would have thought they were playing tricks on me if I kept seeing fforest like that instead of the regular way. Interesting thoughts and you’ve definitely given me a lot to think about since I was debating about this one. Great review! And congrats on Heartless!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      Yeah, I’ll be honest: I totally thought it was a typo. But it kept coming up. Fforest. I got used to it, but it was weird. My eyes at first wanted to rebel against the injustice of misspelling forest!
      I would honestly put it on the low part of any TBR, bc there are much better ones out there. Like Heartless, for example, which I haven’t read but already know I’ll love! 😉


  5. Great review Stephanie. Honestly this book sounds so dark and creepy, I actually thought it would possibly be a fairytale retelling as well just because of the title (I didn’t read the blurb until I read your review). It’s shame you didn’t connect with Alas at all, I guess the author wanted to make her stand out and different from her peers but it was a little too much I guess.
    Also that’s great about the Heartless and ARC, and good luck with writing to publishers as well, that’s something I want to start doing in the new year as well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, you’ll be great at it! Maybe we should pick some ARCs together of what we want and write to the companies! I’m so psyched for it!
      You might like this one, but I’m thinking you might agree with me that it’s slow moving and not as easy to care about. I just don’t know how you’d feel about this. It was like Vassa for me: it was ok, but it wasn’t my cup o’ tea.
      And I don’t drink tea.
      Guess what? I won a signed copy of Truthwitch today too! I can’t believe it! I feel like Christmas seasons have started now! I’m getting so excited and now I really need a bookshelf! Quoththebooklover has an envious setup of four huge bookshelves placed next to each other with some Funko Pops (I don’t own any but told my mom about them and I think she’s starting to get it). I just have too much furniture in my small room for any bookshelves so I’m thinking of doing some floating ones or something: right now all my beauties are inside a cabinet all stacked up and hard to get to!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like a great idea, we’ll probably have different companies we’d need to write to given I’m in the UK and you’re in the US but it would be nice to have someone to share the process with!
        That is a shame, both about the book and the tea (I’m British, pretty much all we drink is tea!)
        That’s amazing, I think I saw it on one of your posts. I definitely need to get a Twitter account so I can enter some of these giveaways, I feel like I’m missing out on some great book getting opportunities! I hope you enjoy Truthwitch as well.
        I really need to sort my bookshelves out a little as well, they’re a mess at the moment but I do think that’s going to be a job for after Christmas, too much to get done at the moment to do it before.
        I have a small selection of Funko Pops and they are adorable! I have some more on the way and honestly they look amazing on my bookshelves so I hope you manage to get some as well Stephanie! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well, I can write to the US company, and you can write to the UK branch. Like Macmillan and Pan Macmillan or HarperTeen and HarperTeen UK. It’ll work! I think…
      Yes, you are missing out on some Twitter giveaways! I can’t believe I even won any, let alone two! I never win anything. Lol. And out in the US, tea has never been a thing. I try to drink it when I’m sick…and iced tea isn’t so bad if it’s flavored, but it’s funny how it’s totally a thing there and it’s more of a coffee place out here. Speaking of which, I prob got to go get my ma’s coffee about now. (My mom is sick and running a low fever: she had to cancel her trip to Connecticut for work and she still wants coffee and to go to work. I’m like…I’ll get you coffee, but you’re not working, nope)
      I think the Funko Pops are adorbs! I went to B&N and they have so many diff ones! I bought one for Anne’s SFATW box (gotta mail that puppy today): I got her Flame Princess from Adventure Time! Lol.
      I wish I had some bookshelves…I wish I had a larger room! I don’t know where to put them: I’ve got a dresser, desk, bed, and tv stand, and that takes up a lot of space as it is. Even the bed is a day bed! One day soon, hopefully…
      But I will clean out my TBR for NY Resolution!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like a good idea, and it sounds like you have a better idea of where to start than I do as well!
        In that case maybe I should get a Twitter account sooner rather than later! Tea is a big thing over here, and for some people coffee is but everyone has their favourite tea and I can pretty much say with certainly none of them would be iced tea. I don’t even know if we have that out here!
        Oh that sucks about your mum, but it sounds like you’re taking good care of her and I hope she gets better soon as well! ❤
        Funko Pops are always a good gift idea! I've ordered a few for myself and a few for gifts and people have always loved them. 😀
        I need to buy a new bookshelf because one of mine is falling apart, but that's on my list for around Christmas as well. My NY resolution is to sort my books out too! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Aww your shelf is falling apart? That’s a bummer! (Yes you need Twitter bc I use messenger on that thing to talk to Jas and Sammi and Gretchen and Anne and it’s awesome. Plus it’s super low maintenance and it updates your timeline with your posts so that you make sure people see your posts when they happen. Plus I mean the giveaways!!
      I guess if I was raised drinking tea I might enjoy it: it just tastes so bitter to me, lol!
      Once I get this email under control and after the holidays, we are gonna compose our first ARC letter together!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’ve had it a while and I think it’s time to get a new one. I ordered it today and it will be delivered boxing day so I feel that’s motivation enough to get around to finally sorting through all my books!
        In that case I will try and get around to a Twitter account ASAP. Honestly right now the low maintenance thing is the real draw, and the giveaways and talking to you guys as well of course! 😀
        See I feel the same about coffee.
        Sounds fun! And I guess it will be nice to get some ARCs as well, I know there are plenty of books I definitely can’t wait for! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Can you – as a UK person – tell me about Boxing Day? I know nothing about it!
      Is it like Christmas?
      I’m excited to see you on Twitter and to request ARCs with you! We will be able to message in real time. It’ll be nice. 😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, funny story, I actually looked this up about a week or so ago because I was curious about boxing day as well. From what I read (on Wikipedia so who knows if this is true) Boxing Day was originally celebrated the first day of trade after Christmas and it was when people like mailmen, milkmen, other general service providers would go around with a box collecting money from homes as a kind of thank you for their year of service. Kind of like Halloween but with money, and for people who had provided a service all year around.
        Now it’s just an extra day off work for most people! 😀
        Hopefully soon, I’ll be sure to create a profile ASAP, very excited to request ARCs and message in real time as well, something that’s kind of missing on WordPress if you think about it! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    5. Yes, I agree! If WordPress had those options I wouldn’t need another app! Lol! 😂
      The Boxing Day info was interesting: I thought it was like Christmas Day but it makes sense that now it’s just an observance of a day…and who can complain about an extra day off??
      Can’t wait to message u via Twitter and have a convo about books!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! Congrats on the Heartless win!! You are on the winning streak! I have to join some twitter giveaways now hehe I requested this book on edelweiss but hopefully they reject me seeing how you only gave it 3 stars! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s not something I liked, and you know I like lots of stuff. So I don’t think you’ll be missing out on much if they turn you down. But you’ll probably get it bc the book needs buzz!
      I AM on a mini-winning streak! I’ve never been a big contest or giveaway winner, so getting a Heartless ARC AND getting a signed copy of Truthwitch is a dream come true. That and Donna’s books make me feel awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I won one Goodreads giveaway for Red Rising. It’s a popular book! I haven’t read it yet, though, because you know me: my purchased or owned books sit by the wayside while I’m reading all the borrowed and ARC copies! Next on my list is Children of Eden which is due back tomorrow through Overdrive, so I may have to buy it just to finish it bc it’s pretty good so far. Then I have a couple of Netgalley ARCs that come out in January, so I wanna get those read and get my stats up!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Wait…you’re reading Children of Eden too? Or you mean our choices are similar?
      I have one person ahead of me and I was so into it, and now I have to wait again! Ugh. I also checked out The Secret Horses of Briar Hill but it’s middle grade and I didn’t realize it when I checked it out. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get into something that doesn’t have some sort of love story, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like books that have some sort of love stories too but not pure romance 😊 I meant we both read the same way, only read ARCs and library books even though we do own books 😂 I don’t recognize those titles you mentioned there.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Yeah, we def read the same type of books, AND the same genre. My books must have love or I get bored. Completely agree with you on that. And middle grade just doesn’t have that in there.
      My library book was taken back. Sob. Now I have to move on to another book while I wait for it to be available again! Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and yes! You are THE ONLY ONE who answered the question! You should get a prize!
      You get: my undying love forever! ::cheers::
      Yeah I saw that gif by accident while looking for other images, and I thought, “Oh, I def have to use this!”
      The ARC was the bright spot in my life! I never win anything, so it’s awesome! Yay! 😍🙌

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The Beast is an Animal sounds like an interesting premise and I love dark tales , so I think I might give it a try, though I’ll be going in with low expectations haha. Great review! And congratulations on winning an ARC of Heartless! I LOVE that book, so I hope you will too 🙂 As for the question: The Shining!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All right! Only the second person to know what I was talking about!
      Yeah…just go in with low expectations and that way you won’t be disappointed if you don’t like it! That’s what I do when I hear some books aren’t as good as you would like them to be!
      I have a feeling I will love Heartless. I went to B&N today to get books for some ppl and I found a signed copy of Heartless that was the only one, so I snagged it though I own it already! 😂😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay! And you’re completely right. Having lower expectations for some books might save me from a whole world of disappointment haha.

        And I totally get you LOL. I’ve done that before. A signed copy is so cool! It’s so hard to pass up! Plus, it was the only one. So, I fully support your decision 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It DOES make me feel better when someone tells you they would’ve done the same thing in your shoes. So thank you!
      I’m keeping all my expectations low from now on and I’m going to try to ignore any book hype! If you’re brought up so high, it’s only a matter of time before you’re gonna fall from lost expectations…you know?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries and so very true! Haha, it’ll be hard to not have high expectations for a hyped book though, especially if it’s from a well-known author. My expectations are so high for Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, and Sarah J Maas. I hope they con’t to release such amazing books 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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