Top critical review
not bothered by the swearing, but it isn't very good
on 11 May 2011
I think that Beast has a good amount of social realism - the dad is a good portrayal for example, but I found the whole Beast thing unfeasible - the thermal currents just aren't enough to sustain such a creature. I was going to say 'but it IS a kids book', but it isn't in the sense that the protagonist is a 17 yo who has not had a sheltered life.
My main problem with it is that there are plenty of descriptive passages, which should create a vivid image of the scene, but do not. I did not get a strong image of any of the characters, the scenes at the reservoir etc, and this is a sign of poor writing. I think that the writer should maybe concentrate on gritty social realism, which might be more of a strength.
My 11 nearly 12 yo has chosen it, and I did think a few times that it is a bit old for him (though I must admit I can't even remember the swearing!), but if he is engaged by it I do not care because it is a challenge to get him to read anything except Wimpy Kid.
I would recommend it for the social realism aspect - it does not have a bleeding heart liberal or give 'em a good thrashing stance - it just 'tells it like it is', which is reassuring for the child reader who has a far from ideal family.