New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly delivers an explosive reimagining of a tale as old as time! Think Beauty and the Beast meets Inside Out in this gender-reversed retelling, in which the beast is a mysterious noblewoman named Arabella, and the beauty is a handsome and cheeky thief named Beau—who stumbles into Arabella’s castle when he’s on the run after a robbery goes wrong.
by Jennifer Donnelly
Scholastic, May 2024
(via Writers House)
A roaring fire and a grand feast await Beau when he arrives at Arabella’s domain, but it abruptly ends when a golden clock strikes midnight and a savage beast emerges. Beau escapes the vicious creature but becomes a prisoner in the castle. The next day, he meets the beautiful, disdainful Arabella, her tight-lipped servants, and a collection of sinister courtiers who behave very strangely, including the smile-until-your-face-cracks (literally) Lady Elge; the shuffling, mumbling Lady Iglut; and the rampaging Lady Rega.
Determined to escape, Beau steals a master key and lets himself into the cellar, where he hunts for a way out, but instead of finding the tunnel he’s certain must exist, he finds a child who’s been locked away. Her name is Hope. She appears to be a pitiful creature, but it’s a ruse. She steals his key, then leads him on a chase through the castle as she searches for her lost sisters, Faith and Love.
With Hope’s help, Beau learns that Arabella was cursed to turn into a beast every night when the clock strikes twelve,
and that the one who cursed her is none other than the forbidding Lady Espidra—the most fearsome of all Arabella’s courtiers. He also discovers why Arabella was cursed—and that the wounded, gifted young woman is as much a prisoner in the castle as he is. As he begins to fall in love with Arabella, Beau becomes determined to help her break the curse, but what he doesn’t know is that the golden clock is ticking—and time is running out.
BEAST is a story about two damaged people learning to love and forgive, but it’s also about how we all get trapped in prisons of our own making—and how we need to learn how to tear down walls and build bridges if we’re ever going to escape them.
Jennifer Donnelly is the author of A Northern Light, which was awarded a Printz Honor and a Carnegie Medal; Revolution (named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and nominated for a Carnegie Medal); the Deep Blue series; and many other books for young readers, including Lost in a Book, which spent more than 20 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.