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.
Title: Beauty and the Besharam
Author: Lillie Vale
Publication Date: May 24, 2022
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
This book was absolutely fabulous! The writing, the characters, and everything in between was a 10/10 for me.
Kavya is amazing! I’m usually more in love with/more obsessed with the love interest because they’re typically made to be charming and lovely and everything else that is good, but time was different. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still obsessed with the love interest (and will be dedicating part of my review to him), but Kavya was such an awesome character! She was loud and rude and honest and everything else she “wasn’t supposed to be.” She was also courageous and confident and caring and I’m obsessed with her. Her bold personality made her someone that made mistakes, but also made her that much more real and relatable. I wish I could read a thousand stories with her as the pov character.
Now onto Ian Jung. Wow. Ian was everything I could have possibly wanted for a love interest plus some. He was sweet and loving (so was a great complement to Kavya in that way), but was also brave and honest. Similar to Kavya, he also felt very real with his struggles and doubts. There’s was so much more to him that I was happy we were able to uncover as the book progressed.
Also, this book most certainly had one of the best rivals-to-lovers I’ve ever read. Kavya and Ian’s relationship throughout the entire book, whether they hated each other or not, was electric. The chemistry flowing between the two of them was masterful and incredibly well written. I wish I could watch them fall in love again and again because they’re so amazing together!
A couple of other random things I loved:
- There was an amazing and gleeful amount of diversity in this book
- The smiles thing! It reminded me of ‘Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!’, a 2000s rom-com
- Kavya and graphic design. yes yes yes
- The characters’ deep love for YA books
Overall, I loved this book and could read it a hundred times over. Can’t wait to read more of Vale’s books!
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.