Book Reviews

Review: Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale

As someone who might be described by some as ‘too much’ you know, I adored Beauty and the Besharam. Frequently told she’s too much, Kavya spoke to my inner soul. I fell in love with Kavya basically from the beginning and only fell more in love as the book progresses. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.

Summary

Seventeen-year-old, high-achieving Kavya Joshi has always been told she’s a little too ambitious, a little too mouthy, and overall just a little too much. In one word: besharam.

So, when her nemesis, Ian Jun, witnesses Kavya’s very public breakup with her loser boyfriend on the last day of junior year, she decides to lay low and spend the summer doing what she loves best–working part time playing princess roles for childrens’ birthday parties. But her plan is shot when she’s cast as Ariel instead of her beloved Belle, and learns that Ian will be her Prince Eric for the summer. [Cue the combative banter.]

Exhausted by Kavya and Ian’s years-long feud, their friends hatch a plan to end their rivalry by convincing them to participate in a series of challenges throughout the summer. Kavya is only too eager to finally be declared the winner. But as the competition heats up, so too does the romantic tension, until it escalates from a simmer to a full-on burn.

Review

(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: mentions of colorism, anxiety (side character)

Kavya is probably a character that resonated almost perfectly with who I was as a teen. As someone who’s tried to embrace her ‘too much’ness, Kavya and her competitiveness, her passion, and her relentlessness instantly charmed me. Her dedication felt like looking into a mirror and that reading competition? Too close to home! Kavya has to be my favorite element of the story hands down.

Her character, the ways she not only is fueled by the rivalry, but is also – in some ways – limited by her expectations, scooped my heart out. Beauty and the Besharam is focused entirely on Kavya which was an excellent choice. In these rivals to romance story lines, part of the story revolves around these gaps. The misunderstandings, the times we are so bound by what we think about someone. And Lillie Vale does it SO well.

Their past is unraveled before our eyes in the ways we misinterpret glances and gestures. Grounded in Kavya’s feelings of being ‘too much’ as well as her sense that she’s disappointing her family, Beauty and the Besharam is a clever and emotional story. Kavya must discover if her rivalry is enough. If, as someone who sometimes thinks she knows it all, can truly open her heart to a different ending. It features a complex sister relationship and friendship difficulties.

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Perfectly capturing the terror of being about to tip over the edge into new territory, Vale delivers a book that will thrill and charm you. Find Beauty and the Besharam on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.

Discussion

Who is a MC that speaks to your soul?


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