The Year of the Beasts
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Year of the Beasts mixes sections of prose and comics to tell complementary tales of romantic exploration and loss. The narrative moves inexorably toward tragedy, but the emotional pain involved isn't gratuitous and ultimately leads to an understanding of kindness and forbearance. There's some kissing and making out, a swimming accident, and, in the comics section, the Medusa character inadvertently turns her parents, teachers, and classmates to stone with her snaky gaze.
What's the story?
In THE YEAR OF THE BEASTS, 15-year-old Tessa starts the summer planning to explore her attraction to Charlie, but she's surprised when it's her younger sister, Lulu, who begins spending time with the handsome football player. Tessa has her own admirer in Jasper, a shy loner, but the intensity of her jealousy toward her sister grows unabated. Meanwhile, a comics story about the Greek gorgon Medusa and her curse of turning those she loves into stone offers tantalizing clues about Tessa and Lulu's fates.
Is it any good?
The Year of the Beasts is a tender, affecting, and hard-hitting tale of teen romance and jealousy. Cecil Castellucci ably captures the giddiness and angst of first love, and her depiction of the interplay between two competing sisters and their group of friends always feels psychologically honest. Nate Powell's illustrated sections comment obliquely on the prose chapters, until everything coalesces in one devastating incident at the book's climax. The Year of the Beasts might upset some sensitive readers, but it earns its emotional ending.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what it's like to begin dating and what expectations teens should have when they start spending more time with the opposite sex.
Why do characters from Greek mythology, such as Medusa or the Minotaur, continue to be powerful literary archetypes?
Is it typical for siblings to be jealous of each other? What are some constructive ways of dealing with such feelings?