I’m so excited that I’m a part of the book tour for Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale. This is a contemporary version of Beauty and the Beast, and so much more. I read it once, and then I immediately read it again. Thanks to Colored Pages Book Tours and Penguin Teen for the finished copy. This did not influence my rating/review of the book.
Beauty and the Besharam is my new favorite contemporary novel. It’s so relatable and yes, there is romance, and I also like how there were other side plots that were well balanced with the narrative. Kavya Joshi, who is Indian American, is at the end of her junior year of high school. All year, she’s been competing with Ian Jun, who is her rival. So, Kavya’s friends decide to try to help end their rivalry by setting up competitions for Kavya and Ian throughout the summer. However, Kavya and Ian start to realize that maybe there’s more to their relationship than just being competitors.
This is a book I wish I’d had when I was starting high school. Kavya is confident and unafraid to speak her mind. She also loves reading (like me), and works as a princess for children’s birthdays during the summer and on weekends. Throughout the book, we see Kavya’s identity as a teenage girl, sister, Indian American, reader, friend – Lillie Vale’s characters jump off the page and truly come to life in what’s an immersive romance AND a coming of age. She doesn’t have to lessen herself to be seen and be loved. I felt very empowered.
I really felt like the romance was organic. When I’m reading a rivals to lovers romance, I’m looking for a romance where both characters respect each other. I also loved that Beauty and the Besharam was set during summertime – seeing Kavya and Ian’s relationship outside of school helped me get to know the characters outside of their school environment. There’s so many fun summer activities in the book: going to the library, going to a riverwalk, canoeing. Kavya and Ian start to understand that there’s more to each other than what they’ve thought of each other in school, and it felt like I was on their journey right alongside them.
Family and Friendships
The frienships in this book!! Yes! I love supportive female friendships! I wish I could be a part of Kavya’s friend group. I also enjoyed Kavya’s relationship with her sister and how they both learned from each other.
This is my new favorite contemporary, YA romance book. I’m going to re-read it again soon because it came out quite close to when my school year ends (and includes empowering characters, messing up, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes, female friendships, and summertime fun). I highly recommend Beauty and the Besharam!
Book Recommendations based on Beauty and the Besharam
The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala is an enemies to lovers/rivals to lovers romance set in a world where the gods have disappeared and magic is banned. Esha and Kunal’s competition in a game of outwitting each other and hiding who they truly are reminds me of Kavya and Ian’s competition of learning who they really are.
The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland
The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland includes a main character who’s romantic life is also being meddled in. In this book, Jasmine’s family (her siblings, cousins, etc.) try to set her up with three boys over the summer after she breaks up with her cheating boyfriend. Another contemporary romance novel I highly recommend!
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo stars Clara Shin, a high school junior who has to work at her dad’s food truck with her enemy after Clara’s prank at her dance goes wrong. Both Kavya and Clara are confident and unafraid to be themselves.
Beauty and the Besharam: Synopsis
Heated competition leads to even hotter romance in this YA summer rom-com for fans of Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord, and Wibbroka.
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.
Lillie Vale is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Decoy Girlfriend, Beauty and the Besharam, The Shaadi Set-Up, and Small Town Hearts, an American Library Association’s 2020 Rainbow Books List selection. She writes about secrets and yearning, complicated and ambitious girls who know what they want, the places we call home and people we find our way back to, and the magic we make. Born in Mumbai, she grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and North Dakota, and now lives in an Indiana college town. Find her on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine, or visit her website lillielabyrinth.com.
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17145712.Lillie_Vale
- Website: https://www.lillielabyrinth.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/labyrinthspine/
Book Tour Schedule
I’m teaming up with ColoredPages and PenguinTeen to give away 5 (FIVE) finished copies of Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale! Follow the link in the bio to enter this US ONLY giveaway! You must be 18 years or older, or have parental permission to share your address if you win. The giveaway ends on 30th May at 11:59 EST.
Link to the giveaway (if rafflecopter is not working): http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c5f831b92/