Beastkeeper is a new twist on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale for middle grade readers, specifically girls. Sarah is an average girl whose family moves frequently—chasing sunlight and warmth. Sarah doesn’t think much of it until one day, her mother leaves the family, and her father grows hairier, more gruff, and less responsible. Soon Sarah’s father announces that she will go live with her grandmother, a woman she’s never met and had believed dead. The car pulls up at a dilapidated castle, where a snow-white raven talks, and a beast who is revealed to be her grandfather lives caged in a shed, and things just get weirder from there.
Although the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale is my favorite, I didn’t really get into this book until the last quarter of the story. The writing is clunky in parts and the plot is not too difficult to predict. While I have to admit that the twist in having the girl herself turn into a beast was unique, if a kid came to me asking for a Beauty and the Beast book for older students, I’d still send her off with Robin McKinley’s Beauty before I’d recommend this.