Beauty and the Besharam was everything that I love about a fantastic YA contemporary. There were great family dynamics in the story, strong friendships, and of course a sweet romance!
From the Blurb:
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 children’s 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.
When it comes to reading I must absolutely love the characters in order for me to enjoy the story. The connection has to be there otherwise the plot falls flat.
From the first page, I immediately loved Kavya. She’s been told her entire life that she’s besharam, or “too much”, and it’s always been said to her like it’s a bad thing. I never saw Kavya this way, though.
She’s brave and unapologetic. She stands up for what she believes in and isn’t afraid of people knowing how much winning means to her. I absolutely adored her. She’s also incredibly vulnerable at times, especially when her classmates are constantly telling her to be the “nice girl” or to smile more.
Speaking of her love for winning, Kavya’s best friends know how competive she is so they come up with a plan to test this. It’s a competition against her longest rival and oldest friend, Ian. Their friends may say they’re doing this as a friendly contest but they’re all getting tired of Kavya and Ian’s rivalry. This is going to finally prove who the real MVP is between them.
I’m a huge fan of rivals-to-lovers romances and theirs is a new favorite of mine!
I think a lot of readers might find Kavya and Ian’s romance predictable but there were a lot of fun surprises. Plus, it was a lot of fun to read about their unique jobs of playing Ariel and Prince Eric at children’s birthday parties.
This story is for those who have ever felt lost or invisible like Kavya does. Everyone in this story learns to shine on their own and be proud of who they are, flaws and all. This is the second book I’ve read by Lillie Vale and her writing is still fantastic! Her books are now on my automatic-buy list.
Overall, I enjoyed Beauty and the Besharam. If you’re looking for a beautiful and heartwarming story about learning to love who you are then this book is perfect for you.