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Beauty and the Besharam

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Heated competition leads to even hotter romance in this YA summer rom-com for fans of Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord, and Wibbroka. 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 wi Heated competition leads to even hotter romance in this YA summer rom-com for fans of Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord, and Wibbroka. 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.


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Heated competition leads to even hotter romance in this YA summer rom-com for fans of Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord, and Wibbroka. 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 wi Heated competition leads to even hotter romance in this YA summer rom-com for fans of Sandhya Menon, Emma Lord, and Wibbroka. 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.

30 review for Beauty and the Besharam

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lillie Vale

    Dear Reader, Beauty and the Besharam is my second YA novel, and now that the sheer magic of my cover is revealed and I have a May 10, 2022 pub date slated, I figure it's time to talk to you a little more about the tropes/themes and my ode to shameless girls. 🌤 Grumpy/sunshine (Kavya/Ian) 🥀 Beauty and the Beast–inspired ⚔️ Rivalry-as-courtship (brb copyrighting "rivalmance", that's right, it's a THING now) 💜 Being loved exactly as you are 🍔 Fusion diner so cool you’ll want to Yelp it 🎤 Starts out very Dear Reader, Beauty and the Besharam is my second YA novel, and now that the sheer magic of my cover is revealed and I have a May 10, 2022 pub date slated, I figure it's time to talk to you a little more about the tropes/themes and my ode to shameless girls. 🌤 Grumpy/sunshine (Kavya/Ian) 🥀 Beauty and the Beast–inspired ⚔️ Rivalry-as-courtship (brb copyrighting "rivalmance", that's right, it's a THING now) 💜 Being loved exactly as you are 🍔 Fusion diner so cool you’ll want to Yelp it 🎤 Starts out very Taylor Swift’s “This is Me Trying” 🍿 Ending credits roll to The Greatest Showman’s “This is Me” 🌠 Swoony midnight moonlit wanderings at a fairytale castle 👣 Childhood friends-to-rivals-to-lovers (NOT ENEMIES!!!) 👑 Workplace forced proximity as children’s character entertainers 📚 Summer reading program hostilities (but in a cute way) 🛶 Someone literally goes overboard 🔠 Earnestly spelling out feelings with Scrabble 💃🏻 Ballroom dancing where BOTH CHARACTERS WANT TO LEAD 🥧 Entrepreneurial girls!!! Graphic design!!! Fashion!!! Pot pies to sell your soul for!!! 🌙 Girl gang known as the moon girls!!! (Sailor Moon fans, where ya at?) 🌻 Indian American heroine*/ Korean American hero 🧠 Open discussions of anxiety*, sexuality, and identity 💞 Evolving sister relationship that has my whole heart 🌈 LGBTQ+ characters (sapphic [there are two prominent f/f relationships where the characters are lesbian or bisexual*], gay, trans, and demiromantic*. Note: Kavya is herself bi, but this isn't a focus of the story and her romance is m/f.) *indicates shared background/experiences, but I do not use the term “own voices” to market my work. We Need Diverse Books has a great note on why they no longer use the term, too. We desperately need to move away from gatekeeping who is “enough”, the single-story myth, and the vague catch-all marketing descriptors. Main characters' identities: Kavya - Indian American (Note: Kavya is bi, but this isn't a focus of the story and her romance is m/f) Ian - Korean American, anxiety Secondary characters' identities: Simran - Indian American, demiromantic, sapphic (bisexual) Amie - Black (half-Senegalese), sapphic (lesbian) Catey - white, sapphic Blaire - Black, sapphic Val - Indian American Rio - Mexican American, trans, gay Samer - Lebanese American Claudia - Korean American CW: Please be aware that through the course of the novel, Ian processes grief of a younger sibling's death (takes place during his childhood, off-page) and Kavya experiences infidelity (not with love interest Ian. Early in the book, she catches her then-boyfriend cheating - this relationship is ended swiftly.) It's unavoidable that there will be readers who will think Beauty and the Besharam's protagonist, Kavya Joshi, is an unlikeable girl. That's fine, different strokes and all that, but personally? I think there's a whole lot to like in messy, complex, "unlikeable" characters who flout expectations. What's not to like about someone who's more spunky than sweet, more dragon than damsel? POV character Kavya is a thorny, sometimes-selfish, always-ambitious sixteen-almost-seventeen-year-old girl who believes herself difficult to like and certainly difficult to love, even though she is so, so worthy of it. She's someone who goes further than I would dare myself, and it's a big reason why she was so fun to write. Kavs has always been told she's Too Much, too confident, too besharam (Hindi word meaning shameless), and so she's internalized she's the Evil Queen in all things. But she never lets it stop her from being exactly who she is, which is why she’s so deserving of my (and I hope your!) admiration, understanding, and respect. A lot of us, women especially, are afraid of falling short of other people's expectations. We’re socialized to be polite from childhood and so we grow into adults who are afraid of being seen as not "nice." Afraid that being our undiluted selves makes us too flawed, difficult, messy, unloveable. We stay tucked away in whatever confining behavioral box people put us. “Besharam. It’s an amorphous cloud of a word that transmutes to fit any situation. Bossy. Audacious. Rude. Mouthy. Boastful. Shameless. Bold. Overly ambitious in a way that wears well on a boy, but never on a girl.” As readers, we often expect YA girls to be role models who mess up, but never irredeemably. They can be, as long they don’t choose to be Too Much. We don't give YA girls the same leeway we give the brooding male hero with a tragic backstory and bad life choices. In Roxane Gay’s fantastic Buzzfeed essay (if you haven't read it, seriously, go read it!), she says, “I want characters to think ugly thoughts and make ugly decisions. I want characters to make mistakes and put themselves first without apologizing for it.” Kavs is a flawed character. She often makes poor decisions, but she accepts the consequences of those choices, often showcasing her vulnerabilities in the process. She apologizes when she’s in the wrong, but she never makes herself smaller just to make someone else feel big. I hope that Beauty and the Besharam challenges the idea of who we can be. I hope we can start changing some of the language we use about “unlikeable” girls. Characters shouldn’t have to be perfect or forced to conform in order for their stories to be worthy of understanding.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ash | आश ♥ [superache enthusiast]

    ian jun is the cinnamon roll book bf we all need <3 rtc. —————— a desi-American, bi mc? Gayvclbcllbc can’t wait !!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    12.11.2021 look at one of the most fun covers of the year! 20.05.2020 i see desi representation and i jump with excitement. EVEN MORE when it's a gender-swapped beauty and the beast contemporary written by lillie, I mean, my love for Small Town Hearts is proof of me always looking forward to her works, so y'all better see my ~heart eyes~ 12.11.2021 look at one of the most fun covers of the year! 20.05.2020 i see desi representation and i jump with excitement. EVEN MORE when it's a gender-swapped beauty and the beast contemporary written by lillie, I mean, my love for Small Town Hearts is proof of me always looking forward to her works, so y'all better see my ~heart eyes~

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bhavya

    17/6/2022: 4 stars. I really enjoyed this one, it was quite entertaining. This is also my 150th read of 2022! RTC. Read #22 for Pride Month 2022. ................................... 27/5/2022: OMG so excited for this. 17/6/2022: 4 stars. I really enjoyed this one, it was quite entertaining. This is also my 150th read of 2022! RTC. Read #22 for Pride Month 2022. ................................... 27/5/2022: OMG so excited for this.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Darcey

    ARC copy provided in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my rating or review. 4 SQUEAL-WORTHY STARS! Three Minute Thoughts: This. Was. ADORABLE! It was so much fun to read – from the moment I picked it up I was giggling and squealing, and I never stopped being amused throughout the entirety of the book. The writing was addictive and light and the storyline was mildly unrealistic but incredibly entertaining, which is all I need from a light contemporary romance, really. Also the r ARC copy provided in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my rating or review. 4 SQUEAL-WORTHY STARS! Three Minute Thoughts: This. Was. ADORABLE! It was so much fun to read – from the moment I picked it up I was giggling and squealing, and I never stopped being amused throughout the entirety of the book. The writing was addictive and light and the storyline was mildly unrealistic but incredibly entertaining, which is all I need from a light contemporary romance, really. Also the rep was *chef’s kiss* and the characters were all such realistic and flawed little cinnamon buns! I would adopt the hell out of half these characters. The Extended, Long, and Very-Possibly-Messy Review: I wouldn’t say I had low expectations for this, but I didn’t have particularly high expectations either – this was my first Lillie Vale book, and I’d kinda forgotten what the synopsis said when I picked it up. But I was completely blown away as soon as I started! The characters were so lifelike and three-dimensional from the first page, and the banter between the MC and her love interest had me giggling and swooning at the same time. Plus – and I believe this is a true necessity for every book – the side characters were absolute gold. Our MC, Kavya, had her little group of besties who stuck by her through thick and thin – her moon girls, who each had their own separate problems, but still made time for each other. A few things went on within their friend group, and I don’t want to say too much and spoil, but I do have to say that I really appreciated the fact that the MC’s friends actually had their own lives and weren’t just plastic cutouts that were there to prop up the MC in times of need. “The moon girls regroup in the downstairs bathroom. They gnash their teeth with anger and worry, nails pincer sharp as they pull me close and whisper words of vengeance in my ear. We emerge only when my makeup is freshened, warpaint and armor class leveled up.” (This quote may not be in the published version of this novel, it was copied from the advanced reader’s copy.) But we have to talk more about our MC, because Kavya, oh Kavya… she was everything I wanted from a kickass heroine in a contemporary novel. She was competitive and smart, she knew what she wanted from life and she fought to take it. Being Asian can be tough. I’m lucky – I’m only half-Asian, and my parents are both quite relaxed and not those stereotypical tiger parents – but I know other people aren’t quite as lucky. There was lots of representation in this of the pressure that families can place upon their kids, and I thought the entirety of that topic was very well-written. But yes, Kavya was just so damn cool – she was confident and determined and so inspirational! She took no shit, even though she was – by her own admission – in no means perfect. I loved her character with all my heart. And, of course, there was our love interest! Ian was just the sweetest baby ever. He was everything a book boyfriend should be – smart, funny, doting, sweet and such, SUCH a simp. He had me wrapped around his little literary finger in about 0.3 seconds. Him and Kavya were such a mess at times, but they also had such great chemistry and such a wholesome relationship, I couldn’t help but root for them the whole time! Did certain scenes between them make me want to cry from secondhand embarrassment? Maybe, but I toughed it out, because they were such sweethearts, and I really need to find myself a man like Ian. “I’m not perfect. Tomorrow, when I wake up, I’ll still be competitive. Maybe I’ll even be impossible at times. I’m not changing myself for him, or for any boy, and here’s the thing: The right boy wouldn’t want me to.” (This quote may not be in the published version of this novel, it was copied from the advanced reader’s copy.) Final point of brilliance in this book: the REP! I once saw a review that said “I won’t praise books for having good rep, because it should be normalised and all books should have good rep” (or something along those lines), and I completely and absolutely understand that, and would agree if it WAS in almost all books… but here’s the thing, it’s not. Not all books have good rep – in fact, it’s the minority of books that do. It may be getting more common, but we still have a way to go, so I’m going to praise the ever-loving crap out of this book, because it’s rep was magnifique. Both the LGBTQ+ and POC rep was brilliant; there were a couple prominent f/f relationships which I loved, and also some wonderful South Asian rep, most of which was talked about previously. Basically, this was practically perfect. I’m so, so glad I read this, and I can’t wait to read more of the author’s books – I’ll have to check them out stat! Thank you so much to the author, publisher and Colored Pages for the ARC copy provided :)).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Again

    we all know that this is going to be fabulous....i'm EXCITED we all know that this is going to be fabulous....i'm EXCITED

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ayushi (bookwormbullet)

    Thank you so much to Penguin Teen for providing me with a physical ARC in exchange for an honest review! This book is the YA rivals to lovers book of my DREAMS! Not only is there an impeccable romance, but there’s also incredible South Asian and queer rep, as well as beautiful themes of friendship, healing from loss, and being loved exactly as you are. The story follows Kavya Joshi, whose friends hatch a series of challenges throughout the summer against her nemesis Ian Jun to end their longtime Thank you so much to Penguin Teen for providing me with a physical ARC in exchange for an honest review! This book is the YA rivals to lovers book of my DREAMS! Not only is there an impeccable romance, but there’s also incredible South Asian and queer rep, as well as beautiful themes of friendship, healing from loss, and being loved exactly as you are. The story follows Kavya Joshi, whose friends hatch a series of challenges throughout the summer against her nemesis Ian Jun to end their longtime rivalry. But as the competition heats up, so too does the romantic tension, until it escalates from a simmer to a full-on burn. I am so obsessed with Kavya and Ian’s dynamic. There’s something about the grumpy girl x sunshine boy trope where he’s falls first that just hits different. Ian’s unwavering loyalty and care for Kavya (true golden retriever energy) from coming to her defense every time someone made fun of her when they were kids to supporting her art endeavors as high schoolers, was so adorable. I also loved the arc of Ian’s anxiety and how he felt like Kavya was the reason he found strength in learning how to manage his anxiety. The desi rep in this book was also so thoughtful! This novel is truly written for all the besharam brown girls out there, and I found myself rooting for Kavya and her unapologetic self even when she messed up at times. Her determination to win the competition and rivalry between her and Ian was also really admirable. Seeing a brown young girl have the confidence and drive to be the best is so inspiring. I also really loved the dynamic of Kavya’s family (her parents were so sweet!) and how their dynamic contrasted against Val’s family to demonstrate the many facets of South Asian family dynamics. I also just love how so far, both of Lillie Vale's South Asian-centered books have had Hindi words in the title instead of the title being completely in English <3 Needless to say that you *must* read Beauty and the Besharam, especially if you’re an academic + workplace rivals-to-lovers fan. This novel is genuinely my favorite of Lillie Vale’s works so far! Follow me on TikTok | Instagram | Twitter for more book reviews & recommendations!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    50% DNF Nothing objectively bad, but it reads just like every other YA romance. "Never Have I Ever" without the charisma is how I would describe it. 50% DNF Nothing objectively bad, but it reads just like every other YA romance. "Never Have I Ever" without the charisma is how I would describe it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diya

    dnf :( this is kind of boring so i'm out dnf :( this is kind of boring so i'm out

  10. 5 out of 5

    nick (the infinite limits of love)

    The cutest academic rivals to more romance with a grumpy heroine and a sunshine hero. Thos book was full of charm and the romance was adorable. I really loved Kavya as a character too in her full rebellious glory.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nidhi Dhaneesh

    “I read books on Friday nights and weekends. And then I like to talk about them. I like to read the acknowledgments and geek out if my favorite authors are friends with each other, and then I like to recommend them to everyone I know." That's something I do too. “I read books on Friday nights and weekends. And then I like to talk about them. I like to read the acknowledgments and geek out if my favorite authors are friends with each other, and then I like to recommend them to everyone I know." That's something I do too.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hannah B.

    Fighting not to cry after the acknowledgments section especially about yobo 😭

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    Small Town Hearts was an immediate new favourite when I read it a few years ago, so I was very much looking forward to this book. It's very different from Small Town Hearts, but also at least as good, and it absolutely needs to go on everyone's summer reading list! Beauty and the Besharam is kind of a gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast story, which should be enough to draw you in. At the same time, it's a story where the main character is both the beauty and the beast. It's also a grumpy (her) a Small Town Hearts was an immediate new favourite when I read it a few years ago, so I was very much looking forward to this book. It's very different from Small Town Hearts, but also at least as good, and it absolutely needs to go on everyone's summer reading list! Beauty and the Besharam is kind of a gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast story, which should be enough to draw you in. At the same time, it's a story where the main character is both the beauty and the beast. It's also a grumpy (her) and sunshine (him) childhood friends to academic rivals to lovers, which is to say it's basically pure catnip if you love a good YA romance. A couple of things made this book really stand out to me: - A main character who is unafraid to be her competitive self, and who doesn't make herself smaller to be palatable for other people. She's imperfect but you will love her, and she goes through a lot of character growth. - Very strong voice and writing style, which makes me really want to read Lillie Vale's adult romances as well (lucky for me I already have The Shaadi Set-up waiting for me). - One of my favourite love interests I've read about in a while. I promise you will love Ian Jun, he is truly just the best. - The setting: summer vibes, with lots of food, love of reading, and Disney princess magic! Many thanks to the author for providing me with an eARC!

  14. 4 out of 5

    kashvi⁷

    Thank you to PenguinTeen and Colored Pages Tours for providing me an ARC for participating in the tour, and in exchange for an honest review! Beauty and the Besharam is definitely one of my most beloved books now! It got me out of the intense reading slump I was in, not to mention how amazing the book itself is! Kavya Joshi is what some would call “besharam”— brash, shameless?, isn’t afraid to speak her mind, ambitious, and so much more. But her so called “besharamness” is what made her stand out Thank you to PenguinTeen and Colored Pages Tours for providing me an ARC for participating in the tour, and in exchange for an honest review! Beauty and the Besharam is definitely one of my most beloved books now! It got me out of the intense reading slump I was in, not to mention how amazing the book itself is! Kavya Joshi is what some would call “besharam”— brash, shameless?, isn’t afraid to speak her mind, ambitious, and so much more. But her so called “besharamness” is what made her stand out as a character I started to love. Kavya’s obsession with books, Sailor Moon, and her need to win at all times energy reminded me of myself? I guess? And that was amazing to read about! I also loved the dynamics in this book. Kavya and her sister’s relationship grew throughout the book and it was so endearing to read about! Even her relationship with her parents was a nice aspect! I love ALL the Moon Girls and their shenanigans! And finally let’s not forget Ian!!! Ian and Kavya’s dynamic was soo cute!! They had been rivals for years and because of that the romantic tension between them was impeccable. There relationship was really well developed and not at all rushed, honestly it was one of my favourite aspects of the book. Kavya Joshi know what she wants and what her worth is, and that is why I believe she is one of the finest characters I have read about, and if you want to read this super cute and fun book please order it if you can!! I highly recommend it!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amani

    LOVED this!! Strong female desi lead who’s the epitome of a grumpy character and a bubbly main love interest. This was SO cute and my arc has a ton of tabs that I’ve annotated with all my favorite quotes!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    aashvi

    there's reverse grumpy sunshine, a strong desi female lead, so much representation AND MORE definitely one of my most anticipated releases for 2022, i cannot wait for may 10th there's reverse grumpy sunshine, a strong desi female lead, so much representation AND MORE definitely one of my most anticipated releases for 2022, i cannot wait for may 10th

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adri

    4.5 Stars CWs: mentions of (past partner's) infidelity; some experienced colorism; some brief references to anxiety/anxiety attacks; and some explorations of child death and grief When I started reading this book, I had no idea that it would quickly become one of my favorite YA romances, but that is exactly what happened! Beauty and the Besharam is one of the most perfect and heartfelt, summer-y, rivals-to-lovers romances ever. It centers an incredibly tender endgame relationship that will giv 4.5 Stars CWs: mentions of (past partner's) infidelity; some experienced colorism; some brief references to anxiety/anxiety attacks; and some explorations of child death and grief When I started reading this book, I had no idea that it would quickly become one of my favorite YA romances, but that is exactly what happened! Beauty and the Besharam is one of the most perfect and heartfelt, summer-y, rivals-to-lovers romances ever. It centers an incredibly tender endgame relationship that will give you All The Feelings, and it is positively bursting with fun summer shenanigans that are guaranteed to entertain any and every reader along the way! I have to start by talking about the main character, Kavya, who is incredibly strong, decisive, driven, talented, competitive, and fearless in her pursuit of greatness. From the very first page, Kav knows exactly who she is, what she wants, and what she's worth, and she is not about to compromise or make herself small for anyone or anything, even when people insist that she should. The word "besharam" referenced in the title is a Hindi word that translates to "shameless," and its negative connotation has haunted Kavya all throughout her life, especially in her family and her community where it is often discouraged for Indian women, especially, to be outspoken and outwardly proud of themselves and their accomplishments. In Kav's cultural experience, women are expected to be beautiful, intelligent, accomplished, and well-respected, but they're also expected to be all of those things and more while staying humble, quiet, and making sure not to quote-unquote "overstep their place." As I said, Kav is not willing to compromise herself for anyone or any reason, which is why she is often branded as besharam, even by people who wouldn't necessarily know that word, and that moniker or sentiment is meant to discourage her from expressing the fullness of herself, simply because it's inconvenient for others. That is exactly why I love the rivals-to-lovers aspect of the story *so much.* Kav's "sworn nemesis," Ian, is someone who sees and respects Kav for exactly who she is. By definition, in order to be considered someone's rival in the first place, you have to be considered their equal, and oftentimes that sense rivalry comes from the fact that they fear you may even be *better* than them in some specific way. That means from the get-go, Ian respects everything Kav is bringing to the table, and in fact he challenges her to be better and to be even *more* unapologetic, fearless, and accomplished than she already is. That, to me, is why the rivals-to-lovers dynamics works so well in this case, because it not only establishes mutual respect (no matter how begrudging) but that sense of competition is also something that actually forces both characters to grow. Even more than that, I think it's so important how this story establishes Kav as having such a strong, unwavering personality, and even though she definitely has things to learn and unlearn about herself, the story is never once about people trying to make her change or convince her to be *less.* This is shown, particularly, in the story arc with Kav's older sister, Simran, who starts the story constantly butting heads with Kav because of their differences and because Simran resents the fact that Kav is younger and doesn't have to deal with the same pressures that she does. In the beginning, Simran often chastises Kav for being so outspoken. But gradually as the story progresses, it's revealed that she's actually jealous that Kav is able to hold her own ground and speak her mind, which is something that Simran wants to do more for herself. So that initial contention between Simran and Kav doesn't come from the fact that Simran thinks Kav should "grow up" and stop being so contrary or drawing "negative" attention to herself, but because Kav's forthrightness is something she actually admires. As they open up to each other more, they're learning that they are *both* worthy of taking up that space in their own lives. On a different note, as a summer romance, this book truly has everything but the kitchen sink! You get this delicious forced proximity as Kav and Ian become co-workers at this "party princess" company for the summer, you have this super fun series of games and competitions that Kav and Ian's friends have put together for them, you get to see the shenanigans that Kav and her "moon girls" get up to with sleepovers and putting together one of their family's restaurants, and it's all underscored by this incredible rivals-to-lovers romance. If you love reading about summer adventures, this book is simply a spoil of riches, an absolutely sumptuous feast. Every which way you turn, there's something fun to enjoy, and for every light-hearted element there's also an accompanying sense of tenderness and genuine emotion. And perhaps one of my favorite romantic tropes is when two or more people are so clearly in love with each other, but they're too idiotic and oblivious to see it themselves even though it's *painfully* obvious to everyone around them who just desperately want them to finally get together, and this book definitely has that dynamic in spades. To circle back to the fullness of Kav's character and humanity, it is so rare that we get to have stories for young readers that show how young characters can embrace *all* the different sides of themselves. The title of this book, for example, is a clear reference to "Beauty and the Beast," which is a title that inherently creates a dichotomy of character where one person must represent the "beauty" and one person must represent the "beast." But this story allows Kav to be *both*—to be both the beauty AND the besharam, to learn how both of those things can be true at once and can also be badges of honor that you wear with pride. Because when you know exactly who you are and you're trying to be the best person you can be, why should that ever make you feel shame in the first place? I just adore everything about this story! It brought a HUGE smile to my face and such a refreshing take on what romance can and should look like when it encourages growth and brings out the absolute best in folks. I laughed, I sighed, I swooned, and I made concrete plans to read whatever Lillie Vale is writing next. To say this story is a delight would be an understatement. I cannot recommend it highly enough! If you're looking for the perfect summer romance, look no further!

  18. 4 out of 5

    nihaarika

    Beauty and the Besharam is the perfect summer YA contemporary romance with great desi representation, great friendships and of course, an adorable rivals-to-lovers romance. And you might just catch me reading this again sometime soon hehe. check out the full review on my blog! Beauty and the Besharam is the perfect summer YA contemporary romance with great desi representation, great friendships and of course, an adorable rivals-to-lovers romance. And you might just catch me reading this again sometime soon hehe. check out the full review on my blog!

  19. 5 out of 5

    ✧・゚⁽⁽ଘ Shreya ଓ⁾⁾✧・゚

    Thank you to Netgalley and TBR and Beyond tours for sending me a copy of this book! My Rating: 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 You got enemies to lovers, past friends, grumpy and sunshine, gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast, the NICK-NAME trope, and throw in some forced proximity and there, a super cute romance! I love their nerdy rivalry and how natural their dialogue felt, especially their teasing. And little memories from when they were kids were awesome! One thing I really loved and appreciated is that even af Thank you to Netgalley and TBR and Beyond tours for sending me a copy of this book! My Rating: 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 You got enemies to lovers, past friends, grumpy and sunshine, gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast, the NICK-NAME trope, and throw in some forced proximity and there, a super cute romance! I love their nerdy rivalry and how natural their dialogue felt, especially their teasing. And little memories from when they were kids were awesome! One thing I really loved and appreciated is that even after their confession their relationship was still fun and they still had banter. I noticed that often in ya contemporaries, after the two get together, they lose the enemies-level banter and it gets boring for me, but that wasn't the case here! Kavya is our MC who’s fiercely competitive and unquestionably outspoken. She works at Poppy’s Party Playhouse where she dresses up as princesses for little kids and is a bookstagrammer, both of which I feel are important details :) Her character was refreshing for a YA contemporary and I really enjoyed it, though she could be slightly annoying at times. The love interest, Ian was obviously the *sunshine* and he represent the Beauty of Beauty and the Beast with his hairstyle which Kavya admitted didn’t look terrible and his effortless charm. Ok, and also? He’s a Rick Riordan fan?? Yeah! I also really really appreciated the anxiety rep as someone with anxiety myself. It's pretty rare to find accurate representation of it, at least in the books I 've read. I really liked the side characters, as in the Moon Girls! The Moon Girls are her friends named after their love for Sailor Moon. They were diverse, and fun, and just totally awesome. I also really liked how complex her relationship with her sister was. Her relationship with her parents is the first one I’ve seen with Indian parents like this which I liked, though of course not everyone will relate to how lenient they are. And the representation was on point! As an Indian myself, I really related to some aspects and it nice to see! Also the food descriptions were soo goood. Like yesss bring on the puriss Overall, this was a very fun read that I’d recommend! And I even added it to my favorites list because I really loved it that much! Most of the time contemporaries are three to four stars for me and even the few five star ones have never been favorites until now so yay :) Some books have a comforting quality to them that's hard to explain and this has it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo)

    rep: indian MC, korean LI with anxiety, sapphic SCs, gay SC, bi SC kavya has always been “too much” to others. her daring, ambitious, bold personality outshines others and some people don’t like it. kavya knows who she is but hearing such comments can get heavy with time. over the summer, kavya started to notice her nemesis, ian, especially when they are working part-time at the same place (playing as ariel and prince eric) and having a friendly competition that their friends had set up. i found rep: indian MC, korean LI with anxiety, sapphic SCs, gay SC, bi SC kavya has always been “too much” to others. her daring, ambitious, bold personality outshines others and some people don’t like it. kavya knows who she is but hearing such comments can get heavy with time. over the summer, kavya started to notice her nemesis, ian, especially when they are working part-time at the same place (playing as ariel and prince eric) and having a friendly competition that their friends had set up. i found kavya to be an interesting character. by no means is she a perfect person. she can be combative and defensive at times. there was a moment with ian when she was quite insensitive but i’m glad she owned up to it and wanted to do better. (view spoiler)[when ian went to the first birthday party and his anxiety got so bad he was rooted in the car, kavya wasn’t the most understanding (hide spoiler)] as for the romance, it was really sweet. the whole time the reader is clued in on how deeply ian is with kavya and she’s just absolutely oblivious about it. i love a good pining and when the boy falls first and harder. considering that they were friends in the past, i don’t know how long this feelings have been within him. ian is an absolute sweetheart. i liked the depiction of the sibling relationship between kavya and her older sister, simran. the i-can’t-stand-you dynamic soon changes as the sisters reached out to one another and had heart-to-heart talk. they were getting better at understanding one another, knocking senses into one another, and simply listening when things get tough. the friendship between the moon girls is something that’s hard to come by. this is something that i enjoyed while reading beauty and the besharam as well. they will have their moment of disagreement and the fight would escalate because people just kept quiet about their inner thoughts but they still came out stronger at the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sofi Mascaró

    thnak you so much to Netgalley and Colored Pages Blog Tours for gifting me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!! I can only say AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA 😱😱😱 as my first coherent thought because I loved everything about this book!!! it wasn't rushed at all, the hate to love was done amazingly, the banter and relationship between Kavya and Ian made the book sooo much more interesting than I thought it would be and I enjoyed their scenes so much, how they opened up just a little to the oth thnak you so much to Netgalley and Colored Pages Blog Tours for gifting me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!! I can only say AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA 😱😱😱 as my first coherent thought because I loved everything about this book!!! it wasn't rushed at all, the hate to love was done amazingly, the banter and relationship between Kavya and Ian made the book sooo much more interesting than I thought it would be and I enjoyed their scenes so much, how they opened up just a little to the other. and I so adore the relationship with beauty and the beast, the disney princesses, the Indian customs that I barely had any idea about, such an amazing set of characters and super diverse. and I love how fierce Kavya is all the time, never afraid of speaking her mind and not embarrased of being a besharam at all, because yes, we do need more characters like her in YA literature, in which we love male characters who behave that way but condone the female ones when they go after what they want, and I adore how this book wants to change that. the pace was good, the amazing thoughts as well, I just couldn't put this book down for anything 😍😍 I love and adore this book so much!!!!!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    Beauty and the Besharam is a fantastic rivals to lovers rom-com starring 17 year old Kavya Joshi, an outspoken Desi teenager who refuses to damper her competitive nature or ambitions. I loved Kavya, and I saw so much of my younger self in her. Not only does she fight for what she believes in (even when it gets her into hot water with the aunties), she’s fiercely competitive when it comes to academics and hobbies and refuses to back down. Ian Jun was the perfect complement to Kavya because it was Beauty and the Besharam is a fantastic rivals to lovers rom-com starring 17 year old Kavya Joshi, an outspoken Desi teenager who refuses to damper her competitive nature or ambitions. I loved Kavya, and I saw so much of my younger self in her. Not only does she fight for what she believes in (even when it gets her into hot water with the aunties), she’s fiercely competitive when it comes to academics and hobbies and refuses to back down. Ian Jun was the perfect complement to Kavya because it was constantly reiterated that he was never intimidated by her but instead kept pushing each other to be better. They were just so adorable. I also really loved the complicated family dynamics especially when it came to Kavya’s Indian heritage and relating to her “perfect” sister. I could go on and on, but I’ll just say…read this book! Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view. Kavya Joshi loves nothing more than proving her nemesis, Ian Jun, wrong, and getting one up on him. She's often been told she's too much, but with Ian, it's as if her competitive side can't stay down. So when Ian spots her public breakup with her ex, and then to add insult to injury, is her new partner at her summer job as a Disney princess, Kavya needs to do whatever it takes to win. But soon she realises t I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view. Kavya Joshi loves nothing more than proving her nemesis, Ian Jun, wrong, and getting one up on him. She's often been told she's too much, but with Ian, it's as if her competitive side can't stay down. So when Ian spots her public breakup with her ex, and then to add insult to injury, is her new partner at her summer job as a Disney princess, Kavya needs to do whatever it takes to win. But soon she realises that the line between hatred, and love, is closer than she ever thought, and the one person she could never imagine herself falling for, is her perfect prince charming all along. What initially drew me to this book, I will admit, was the cover, but once I started reading it, I was hooked by Kavya's character, and her growth as a person. She was such a strong character, who knew what she wanted, but there was a vulnerable side that she really kept hidden from others, and her worries about being the perfect daughter, and not being too besharam, was a real struggle. Because of this nature, she's been on the outs with Ian since they were about 10, and he 'embarrassed' her by rescuing her at a water park. She's so independent, that she couldn't abide that someone else had to help her, and that's where the rivalry grew from. Honestly, I love enemies-to-lovers romances, and though this wasn't quite that big, for Kavya, it was hard to start to see Ian as a friend, and then something more, rather than a rival. There's a whole bucket-load of secondary characters, and though one really got on my nerves at times (looking at you, Val), they really added to the story, and I sort of want a sequel, or spin off, to see more about this glorious cast. Beauty and the Besharam is a joyful book, full of fantastic representation and diversity, that I think needs to be added to everyone's TBR's!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    4.75 When I started this book, I had a feeling that I would really like it. And I was right! The chemistry between the MCs was off the charts and the banter was *chef’s kiss*. And Kavya described Ian so perfectly - “Prince Sunshine-Too-Good-For-This-World-Cinnamon-Roll”. This boy, when he wants to, can absolutely charm the socks off of anyone. This book had me squealing and flustered multiple times. So freaking adorable! I also enjoyed that this wasn’t just the romance (which is my favorite). There 4.75 When I started this book, I had a feeling that I would really like it. And I was right! The chemistry between the MCs was off the charts and the banter was *chef’s kiss*. And Kavya described Ian so perfectly - “Prince Sunshine-Too-Good-For-This-World-Cinnamon-Roll”. This boy, when he wants to, can absolutely charm the socks off of anyone. This book had me squealing and flustered multiple times. So freaking adorable! I also enjoyed that this wasn’t just the romance (which is my favorite). There is the element of family (nuclear and extended), the expectations and pressure from the family. There is also the friend group and their coming-of-age, too. This was such a great read!

  25. 5 out of 5

    V ♡

    Cannot wait for the Besharam

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rajasree Jayaram

    I love that title! Add the fact that it has Indian rep and is a gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast? I'm ready! But alas, I have to wait at least 2 years to get my hands on it. I love that title! Add the fact that it has Indian rep and is a gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast? I'm ready! But alas, I have to wait at least 2 years to get my hands on it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kris Mauna

    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! 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’ 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! 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. | review originally posted on Bookstacked |

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Synopsis: Kavya hates being called “besharam” by people in her community, since it usually means “shameless.” Boys never get called besharam. But Kavya has to be ambitious, otherwise her nemesis, Ian Jun, will have the upper hand. This summer, Kavya is excited to spend time with her squad, work at children’s princess parties, and finally have a break from competing with Ian, until her dream summer is ruined. Instead of being cast as her beloved Belle, she gets assigned Ariel, and Ian is Prince E Synopsis: Kavya hates being called “besharam” by people in her community, since it usually means “shameless.” Boys never get called besharam. But Kavya has to be ambitious, otherwise her nemesis, Ian Jun, will have the upper hand. This summer, Kavya is excited to spend time with her squad, work at children’s princess parties, and finally have a break from competing with Ian, until her dream summer is ruined. Instead of being cast as her beloved Belle, she gets assigned Ariel, and Ian is Prince Eric. 💗💗💗 My review: I LOVED THIS BOOK! Kavya is hilarious, driven, and full of references I didn’t know anyone else remembered like the Arthur library card song and Ramona Quimby naming her doll Chevrolet. She even has a Bookstagram account! Kavya and Ian gave me full Anne and Gilbert vibes, which I LOVED. Just like Kavya, Belle was my favorite princess because she had brown hair and liked to read. Beauty and the Besharam is full cast of diverse characters, including a trans character with gay parents. Another character identifies as demiromantic. I loved the Desi representation, Korean representation, and portrayal of anxiety. One of my favorite reads of 2022 so far! TW: death of a sibling (occurs before book)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Simant Verma

    July 22, 2020: Did you see the title? Haha I love it 😁 More so because it has desi-word in the title (Besharam=Shameless). ✨ And it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling! ✨ Well it would be fun to read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    3.5 stars read on my blog rep: Indian-American protagonist and side characters, Korean-American love interest and side character, queer demiromantic Indian-American side character, sapphic side characters, Mexican-American trans boy side character, Lebanese-American side character; (Indian-American author) I’ve really enjoyed Lillie Vale’s previous works, and I was particularly excited for her rivals-to-lovers story! Especially because it’s a forced proximity book, which always adds som 3.5 stars read on my blog rep: Indian-American protagonist and side characters, Korean-American love interest and side character, queer demiromantic Indian-American side character, sapphic side characters, Mexican-American trans boy side character, Lebanese-American side character; (Indian-American author) I’ve really enjoyed Lillie Vale’s previous works, and I was particularly excited for her rivals-to-lovers story! Especially because it’s a forced proximity book, which always adds some fun. Beauty and the Besharam was a heartfelt story of being besharam, or “too much,” and finding love where you least expect it. Kavya Joshi has spent her entire life being told she’s besharam, or “too much” — by her aunties, by her sister, even by the people at school. She’s accepted who she is and knows that being besharam is okay, but it doesn’t ever stop stinging a little. When her rival Ian is hired to work opposite her at her job as a princess for children’s birthday parties, their rivalry hits a peak. Their friends finally get fed up and contrive a series of three competitions to see who the true winner between the two of them is. However, as Kavya and Ian spend more and more time together, she finally begins to realize that not everything has to be a competition — especially with someone whom she’s developing a crush on. I really liked the characters! Kavya knows that being besharam isn’t necessarily a bad thing; she knows what she wants and what she wants to do. Her competitive spirit is a natural part of her that she knows she doesn’t have to tamper down, although she does eventually have to realize that sometimes going too far can be a thing. As much as she dislikes Ian, it’s obvious that he is very caring and attentive. They’ve engaged in their rivalry for so long, but he’s never disrespected her like other people often do. The side characters were great as well. Kavya has a close-knit friend group, who call themselves the “moon girls” after sharing a Sailor Moon obsession. This group includes Val, Blaire, and Catey. They’re incredibly supportive of each other although they’re also not without their own fights. Ian also has his own friend group, Claudia, Rio, and Samer, all of whom work with the moon girls to set up the challenges for Kavya and Ian to compete in. The romance was cute! If you haven’t been able to tell yet, this is a rivals-to-lovers romance, with the added estranged-childhood-friends tacked on. Kavya and Ian haven’t been close in ages, and high school only exacerbated a natural rivalry between them because they’re both overachievers. I enjoyed their banter throughout the book, and it was sweet to watch them gradually take down their walls. This was more so on Kavya’s part because again, she can’t let a grudge go. I also enjoyed reading about Kavya’s complex relationship with her older sister Simran. Simran is constantly judging Kavya for being so loud and taking the hard way out, while Kavya can’t understand why Simran doesn’t stand up for herself against their aunties’ constant nagging. Over time, they begin to understand each other and the other’s opinions more. Kavya and her family are Indian-American, which she bonds with her friend Val over. However, Val grows jealous of her because her parents are more traditional and protective while Kavya’s parents allow her to be more free. Kavya notes that their other two friends don’t truly understand the pressure they undergo from their parents. and their community in general, not to stand out and to always do well. Ian is Korean-American, as is his friend Claudia. Rio is Mexican-American and transgender; Samer is Lebanese. Amie, whose mother runs the company Kavya and Ian work at, is a lesbian and half-Senegalese; she reconnects with Simran, whom she went to high school with. Simran has been struggling with her identity and realizes that she is queer and demiromantic. Overall, Beauty and the Besharam was a heartwarming story of embracing being besharam and “too much.” I liked the characters and found the romance to be sweet. If you’re looking for a cute contemporary with a rivals-to-lovers romance and strong friendships and family relationships, you should pick up Beauty and the Besharam! original review: cute rivals-to-lovers with a protagonist who is besharam ("too much") !!

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