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The Year of the Beasts

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  817 ratings  ·  225 reviews
Every summer the trucks roll in, bringing the carnival and its infinite possibilities to town. This year Tessa and her younger sister Lulu are un-chaperoned and want to be first in line to experience the rides, the food... and the boys. Except this summer, jealousy will invade their relationship for the first time, setting in motion a course of events that can only end in ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  817 ratings  ·  225 reviews

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Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I wish I had some kind of superpower that allowed me to touch a book and get a feel of how much it was going to destroy me.
[Also, wouldn’t that make an incredibly geeky fantastic TV programme that only I would watch?]
Because I thought that this book was going to be a sweet book about first kisses and sisters and lovely things.
And it was.
But it was also the kind of book that punches you in the gut.
Multiple times.
And then just as you’ve got your breath back?
That’s it slapping you in the f
May 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
I was a teenage gorgon!

Fifteen-year-old Tessa spends her time brooding about WHY Charlie, the attractive, popular boy, prefers her younger sister. In the meantime, she finds possible true love, or at least LUST, with Jasper...but, dammit! He's not socially presentable.

Wow! Such problems...

Maybe I'm just too old for this book. I no longer find teenage-girl-angst charming. I find it gratingly tedious. But my biggest problem with this one is that Tessa seems to have NOTHING ELSE going on with her l
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
A strange bird here. A story with chapters of YA novel alternating with chapters of graphic novel.

Both stories are related, but the time frames don't mesh. And while the YA novel doesn't have any element of the fantastic involved, the graphic novel is full of mythic elements.

First, let me say that I've enjoyed a lot of Castellucci's work in the past. Good storyteller.

Second, I admire the hell out of her for being willing to take a risk. For being willing to try something new and different. I
BAYA Librarian
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Cecil Castellucii and Nate Powell teamed up to deliver this hybrid novel whose disparate parts fail to congeal into a satisfactory whole. Castellucci's prose sections are about a young teen named Tessa whose younger sister Lulu suddenly becomes much cooler than her one summer, winning the hand of the boy Tessa likes. Powell's comics sections -- which appear as alternating chapters -- take place at a high school where everyone has turned into a mythological monster, with the main girl (Tessa) tra ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of experimental forms, mythology or art.
Shelves: 2012, net-galley
4.5 stars

{This review was originally published on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves.

I don't know what I was expecting from The Year of the Beasts, but I definitely didn't anticipate having my heart ripped out and stomped to bits in this slim, heart-wrenching novel-meets-comic.

Young adult novelist Cecil Castellucci and comic artist Nate Powell teamed up to create a fascinating story told in alternating chapters. Castellucci's chapters are straight-forward narrative about the changing relationships betwee
Hugo Schoen
Jun 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Cecil Castellucci inspired me with this book. After finishing the last page and glancing at her credits, I thought aloud, "I really need to get involved in writing childrens books". I tore through 'The Year of the Beasts' in just a couple hours, anxious for the emotions that previous reviewers said would come exploding out of my chest. I wanted those tears. My patience was rewarded with the thought that young people today, young readers, must be grossly misjudged in their ability to interpret an ...more
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is one of those books where you realize you are not the target audience the author intended this book for. I felt like a mom while reading this one. I was cringing at the too-many scenes of 13 year old kids making out. I know I was once this age reading Are You There God? It's Me Margaret and thinking that was the best book ever with all its frankness about boys, puberty, and making out. That's why when I found myself having mom-dialogue in my head as I read this book I realized that some b ...more
Emma Sea
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
A magical YA graphic novel, that made me cry in public. Fuck, I'm so mad at Tessa for (view spoiler) Obviously, the story had me gripped. ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it
CLN - Printz possibility #3

"The Year of the Beast," which is getting some Printz buzz, is told in alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel formats. The prose chapters concern two sisters, Tessa and Lulu. When Tessa's younger sister:

1. gets the boy Tessa thinks she likes, Charlie
2. starts hanging out with Tessa's best friend, Celina
3. grows taller and more beautiful

Tessa is consumed with jealousy. Because of her envy, she makes Lulu's life miserable, all the while carrying on a secret rel
Kellee Moye
Reviewed at:

4.5 stars
Such an interesting novel that will definitely get a second read. Told in a dual format of prose and graphic novel, Cecil Castellucci tells us the story of two very different girls- One is a modern day Medusa who hates what she has become and keeps turning everyone she loves into stone; the other is a teenage girl filled with jealousy for her younger sister who is dating the boy of her dreams. When finished with the book, you will def
Sep 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: cln, young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Quinten Kempf
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Name: Quinten Kempf

Book title: The Year of the Beasts

Personal response

Personally, I really liked the book The Year of the Beasts . I kinda liked that the story did not have a happy ending, because for the majority of the book it was disgustingly happy. I also liked the mysterious side story that tied into the book, later on, it confused me at first but I ended up kinda thankful that they added it, so you were not left on a cliffhanger.

Plot Summary

The book is about how a 15-year-old girl named
Reading Rainbow Kid
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is more a 4.5 star book for me, but I'm rounding up because 1) The prose-graphic novel hybrid genre was unique and pretty dang spectacular and worth an extra point or two, and 2) Cecil is my homegirl, and 3) Why not? Sometimes this book did indeed amaze me.

I really liked the sad, dark places this book went--not only in the events, but the feelings of its main character, Tess. She has some pretty unsavory thoughts about her sister; they are selfish thoughts: immature and complicated and
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Picked this up cause it was in the manga section at the library plus cause the Gorgon on the front was well drawn and cool looking. Come to find out the concept of the book was really awesome it's a mix of manga/graphic novel and part teen book book. See I have no prob with that since I normally read both.the first couple of chaps where we'll writting and drew me in but after that I grew very bored of the book cause to me it just seemed like two sister every day normal life which I don't like th ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I picked this up because of the two creators, mainly for Nate Powell but I was also familiar with some of Cecil Castellucci's work. Alternating chapters of prose and graphic novel. Halfway through the book, I asked myself why am I reading this god-awful teenage romance story of secret trysts and sister rivalry and wondered how the graphic portion tied in with the story, thinking this would be better appreciated by tween girls. But a tragedy towards the end redeems the story and cleverly unites t ...more
Megan Reichelt
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, graphic-novels
This book was a gloriously frustrating and unsettling mystery. It is very short and a mix of prose and comic panels. The prose story is complete realism, the story of a conflict between two teenage sisters. The graphic novel is a disturbing story about a girl who woke up one day with medusa hair, and her classmates are now various mythical creatures. You know something happened, but no one is talking about it. In the prose story, you know something will happen, but you don't know what it is. The ...more
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
While I thought the mixed method approach to story telling was neat and well-woven, the story as a whole didn't work for me. There's a mythology to it, and while I got it, I thought the stronger storyline -- the notion of being lost in the shadow of your sister, of being lost in the shadow of yourself -- got swallowed in the mythology. Castellucci writes in a way I really appreciate. It's tight and it's direct, but I felt this book suffered from too much concept and not enough development.

Brandi Tryan
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. The graphics part threw me off most of the time I was reading, but once I got to the end, it made so much more sense. I had to go back and reread the graphic part to make sure I understood all of the metaphors.
reading is my hustle
Good God.

That's all b/c I've given away too much already.
Edward Sullivan
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
A compelling tale of jealousy, life-altering tragedy, shame, and grief told in chapters alternating in prose and graphic narrative.
Angelina Bee
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Simple story, nicely woven metaphorical comics. Sad and human.
Claire Nicole Blackmore
May 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
I have to say that it wasn’t really the story of the Year of the BEASTS that hooked me at first but it was the fact that this book is half graphic novel. It was refreshing to read through one or two of the chapters and then get an entire chapter in the form of a graphic novel. Too bad it was executed so poorly.

15 Year old Tessa is finally able to go to the annual summer carnival without her parents watching her every move. She and her best friend Celina have been planning this day for months,
Juniper Shore
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm going to take a flyer here and suggest you read the last chapter first. Yes, it ruins the surprise ending, but otherwise nothing up to that point makes the slightest bit of sense.

The Year of the Beasts consists of two different stories, told in alternating chapters. The written text describes the events of early summer, as Tessa and her younger sister Lulu compete for male attention and try to stay on top of shifting friendships. The chapters in between are in graphic-novel format, depicting
Michelle Boyer-Kelly
There are two different story formats between the covers of this novel. On one hand, we have the 'traditional' written word--the story follows two sisters that are both interested in the same boy. There is a rivalry here but each sister ends up finding a respective boyfriend. On the other hand, there is some gorgeously illustrated graphic novel-type chapters that I really appreciated (and I felt like I wasn't going to). This story reveals different mythological creatures are also attending high ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
I have never stumbled upon a book of this style before. Half prose, half graphic novel, I was tickled and delighted in the trendiness of The Year of the Beasts.

My issue? The story has no heartbeat.

The characters are nonsensical. They lack grit and soul. Tessa, our main girl, is spiraled around Charlie, a boy who falls fatally for her younger sister. Of course Tessa is jealous. Tessa doesn’t deal well with the situation, and by the end of the book, she...Hasn’t really changed.

There’s a grim tw
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a random grab for me; the hybrid of graphic novel with traditional writing piqued my interest, despite the bland high school drama story aside.

The story wasn't really my thing; high school crushes and sisterly drama are something best left in the past. But there were portion of the writing that were... haunting? They just stuck with me and rung true for some... strange reason. Like the bit about the shoes... How something so insignificant can become a physical representation and manife
Monica Tolva
Apr 24, 2020 added it
Shelves: graphic
This is finally the year that sisters Tessa and Lulu are allowed to hang out at the town's annual summer carnival without tagging along after their parents.

Read p. 1: "They rolled into town in the middle of the day ... everyone in town had plans to go."

Tessa and her best friend Celina are so excited to be on their own, that is until they their hopes come true and they meet up with Charlie Evans and the other boys. "Can I come, too?" Lulu asked. Tessa's refusal to have her 8th-grade sister tag
Janie G
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved reading about Tessa's raw, ugly emotions. The narrative is unapologetically angsty, the angst wasn't portrayed in a a whiny, everybody-feel-sorry-for-me kind of way, but through barely bridled rage. Tessa did have a lot to complain about and boy did she complain, but I liked that her anger was directed more inward, and her friends and family weren't terribly receptive to her moping.

The combination of the two narratives was well done, it was very powerful to see it all fit together in the
Jun 13, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ew-no
I tried to like it. I really did. But I just couldn’t. I DNF’d around 75%.

Dual stories, one that occurs in present day without magic, and one that occurs in present day with magic. One in prose, the other in comic form. This has worked for other authors I’ve read, namely Cherie Priest, but it did not work for me in this setting.

What REALLY got me was just how much telling there was, instead of showing. “This happened. Then this happened. Then Lulu did this thing which made Tessa feel this way.”
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Sno-Isle Mock Printz: The Year of the Beasts 3 10 Oct 30, 2012 06:59PM  

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Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books. Titles include Boy Proof, The Year of the Beasts (illustrated by Nate Powell), First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool The Plain Janes and Janes in Love (illustrated by Jim Rugg), Tin Star Stone in the Sky, Odd Duck (illustrated by Sara Varon) and Star Wars: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure.

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“There's a beast in all of us, you know,' Jasper said.
'No,' Tessa said.
'Yes, a monster right inside of us all,' Jasper said.
They wondered what theirs looked like. They faced each other and blinked while making faces to try to capture the phantom.”
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