Title: The Beast is an Animal
Author: Peternelle van Arsdale
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017 (March 7)
Genre: YA Fantasy
(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…
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.
As it’s an ARC, it’s not going to be on Lexile.com, 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.
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.
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? 😉)