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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
The Beast of Bellevue by Grace Chen is a mesmerizing young adult fantasy tale that follows very interesting characters in a complex setting where relationships can be precarious and challenging. Seventeen-year-old Ava Pierce is not on the best of terms with her parents, who look upon her as an embarrassment and lock her away. Seventeen-year-old Dylan Albright has troubles of his own, but he doesn’t know what he is setting himself up against when he poses as his older brother on a dating website for profit. Alec Albright is the darling of everyone, a favored soccer star, but he has a huge problem: loving the same girl as his younger brother. And there is Taylor, who aches for something she can’t have. How are these characters connected?
Intelligently plotted and expertly written, The Beast of Bellevue explores the reality of the virtual world, coming of age, and complicated relationships. The novel is filled with realism and humanity and Grace Chen does a wonderful job of exploring the complexities of contemporary dating in a virtual world. The characters are strong and believable, and the plot is a web where a lot of things happen. It is fast-paced and emotionally engaging. The Beast of Bellevue is a twisty story and I enjoyed how the characters are developed. Dylan Albright sets himself up when he uses his brother’s identity on a dating website, and it takes him on a journey that is surprisingly adventurous. Grace Chen is a great storyteller and I enjoyed her prose as well as her gift for plot and character. It is real and engrossing, a delightful read.