Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels
Summary: When Bellamy accepts a summer job as a nanny two the two youngest children of the mysterious Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. Fully aware of the theories surrounding the eldest Baldwin child’s disappearance, Bellamy learns to keep an open mind when it comes to Tate’s illness. Bellamy soon learns, however, that Tate isn’t the only mystery surrounding the Baldwin family and the town of Wellhollow.
This was such an exciting book from start to finish! The opening chapter threw me off for a bit - I wasn’t sure how it related to the Beauty and the Beast theme. But as the story evolved, I became hooked. A combination of classic Beauty and the Beast and murder mystery, the teamwork and connection between Bellamy and Tate was charming to read while their search for justice kept me turning pages late into the night.
Bellamy was a charming, quick-witted, and bright character who was the perfect modernized Belle. Ostracized because of her father’s peculiarity, Bellamy focuses on her schoolwork and helping her father. And, of course, reading. This love of reading inspires a conversation between Bellamy and Ezra, leading to my new favorite quote: “A reader lives a thousand lives.” Perhaps my only complaint with Bellamy’s character is that she was constantly clear-minded and accepting; no matter how many bad things were thrown at her, she wasn’t very reactive. She was positive and optimistic… and that was about it.
Tate was wonderful. The Beast through and through, Tate’s character development had a lot of depth and evoked a good deal of empathy. Cursed in retaliation for not only his but his father’s bad actions, Tate learns that there’s more at stake than his own health. I loved the modern twist on his “beastliness” and the resolution he received at the end. It wasn’t a magical “poof! Everything is better!” but instead invited further character growth which really sealed the deal on how much Tate had developed throughout the story.
If you’re looking for a modern, teenager take (with a murder mystery twist) on Beauty and the Beast, then Bellamy and the Brute is going to be your next favorite read.