Beauty and the Besharam

Beauty and the Besharam

by Lillie Vale
Beauty and the Besharam

Beauty and the Besharam

by Lillie Vale


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“If you're a fan of rivals-to-lovers, look no further!”—Aiden Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Cemetery Boys

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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593350874
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/24/2022
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,117,630
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Lillie Vale is the author of books for both teens and adults, including The Shaadi Set-Up and Small Town Hearts, an American Library Association 2020 Rainbow Books List selection. She writes about secrets and yearning, complicated and ambitious girls who know what they want, the places we call home and people we find our way back to, and the magic we make. Born in Mumbai, she grew up in Mississippi, Texas, and North Dakota, and now lives in an Indiana college town. Find her on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine, or visit her website

Read an Excerpt


They Don’t Need

to Like Me

Ruining the start of Ian Jun’s day is the favorite part of mine. He’s the only person for whom it’s worth going toe-to-toe with our AP Statistics teacher, who’s currently gaping at me like he can’t believe my hand is in the air first thing first period before he’s even had the chance to start Friday’s lesson.

Ian sits all the way in the front row, wavy black hair styled into a pompadour that I can grudgingly admit doesn’t look totally terrible. He’s probably freaking out and trying to correct the questions he got wrong on our just-returned homework. In that respect, we’re the same.

He hasn’t turned around yet. But he will.

I wiggle my fingers to get the teacher’s attention, lifting my butt off the seat to be noticed. After a long, drawn-out moment of watching me flail, Mr. Gage unsuccessfully turnshis grimace into a smile. Closing his eyes, he says, “Yes, Kavya? Do you have a question?”

Somehow? lingers like a stink.

A few titters break out from those awake enough to get on my bad side.

Ian stiffens, shoulders snapping extra straight.

I’ve got his attention now.

“You docked me points for question number three,” I say. “My answer’s correct.”

Mr. Gage’s round glasses seem to magnify his absolute displeasure. “No.”

A unilateral no? Taken aback, I gawk. “But I—”

“We have a lot of material to get through today, so if I could get started?” He pauses as though he’s really waiting for my go-ahead. The exaggerated politeness makes me think he’s given up all pretense of not finding me the most annoying junior he’s ever had the misfortune of teaching z-scores and chi-squares.

Next to me, my best friend Blaire Tyler shuffles to the back of her stats textbook, where the answers to odd-numbered questions are provided. She slides it across the table to nudge against my arm, tapping her black-and-silver constellation nail against question three.

Okay, yes, the back of the book, dubbed our beloved “BOB,” has half the answers all the time, but I checked my work twice, and I choose to put my faith in me.

Without raising my hand, I say, “Mr. Gage, I showed my work. There’s no way I got the question wrong. Could you please work it out on the board?”

“This is not one-on-one tutoring, Ms. Joshi,” he says without looking up from his notes. “Now if everyone would please turn their attention to the linear regression on the whiteboard.”

Shut down twice in as many minutes. That’s a record.

No one’s looking at me anymore, but my face still burns with embarrassment and the flame of indignation Mr. Gage didn’t manage to extinguish.

I’ve never had a teacher this adamantly bullheaded in their own wrongness. They don’t need to like me as long as they respect me for being right. I’m willing to bet that he hasn’t even tried to solve the problem himself, relying wholly on his answer guide.

Parker Ellis, the boyfriend I’m planning to dump, sniggers from the row behind me. My spine stiffens with a flicker of foreboding. It’s not the first time he’s found my standoff with Mr. Gage amusing, but he usually does a better job of hiding it.

Blaire leans in to whisper, the small lavender beads at the end of her honey braids gently clinking. “Hey, fuck him. It’s just one point. You can let it go.”

I fix her with a look. She’s known me how long, now?

“But you’re not going to,” she acknowledges with a sigh.

My pencil scratches against notepaper as I work out the answer again, joining the soft background drone of twenty-nine other pencils trying to keep up with Mr. Gage’s speed.

“What answer did you put?” I mutter.

Blaire shoots a furtive look up front before saying, “I got the same answer you did, but I changed it when I checked the back.”

“Why did you do that? You had the right answer.”

“Like you did?” She chin-nods toward the red ink slash across the third question. “Kavs, it’s one point. You still got an A on the assignment. Even if you’re right and he’s wrong, and the book’s wrong, and everyone else in the thousands of classrooms using this textbook got it wrong, it’s not worth the fight for one measly point.”

I begrudge so much that she’s right, but letting this point go means letting Ian Jun win. If I think real hard, squinting back the last five years, I can almost remember a world in which I wasn’t constant and bitter rivals with the boy in the first row who has only now, finally, turned to raise one perfectly arched What now? eyebrow.

It’s that eyebrow that does it. The smug assurance that I’m going to keep my mouth shut.

“When it comes to Ian, a point is never just a point.” I forget to keep my voice low, hissing the words while keeping my eyes unblinkingly fastened on Ian the whole time.

“Ms. Joshi,” says Mr. Gage without turning around. “Why don’t you come up here where I can keep an eye on you?”

Another unmistakable laugh from Parker, but when I whip around to catch him in the act, he blanks me.

“Oooo, you’re in trouble,” one of the boys from the back row says with a snicker.

I hover expectantly in my seat, waiting for the teacher to call him out, too, but nada.

Sorry, Blaire mouths, big brown eyes full of sympathy.

I slowly rise. My neck and arms prickle with the knowledge that the entire class is watching. Some with compassion, most with glee.

The acute humiliation of picking up all my things—the lavender Sailor Moon pencil pouch stuffed with cherry Jolly Rancher hard candies that I won’t dare to crinkle in this class, the pink Texas Instruments scientific calculator, the battered textbook, and the spiral-bound notebook—and dragging myself to the front row all under Mr. Gage’s watchful eye is bad enough. The indignity of moving to the front row with Ian watching is a new low.

He’s not smirking anymore, but he hasn’t taken his eyes off me, either. Like a big cat stalks its prey. It’s not the first time I’ve thought of his dark, sooty lashes, glowing-ember brown eyes, and pointy-tipped ears as being particularly lynx-like. The arched slash of his still-raised brow as he tracks me completes the impression.

“Not there, Ms. Joshi,” says the teacher when I settle into an empty seat at the end of the row. He points to a middle seat. “There.”

The seat right next to Ian.

A flash of malice crosses Mr. Gage’s face. “Now you can be the center of attention.”

Throat closing tight, I force my feet into another walk of shame, squeezing myself between the backs of chairs and the row of desks behind. Ian’s the only one who scoots his chair in for me to pass. His eyebrow lowers at the same moment as I do. My shame and I sink into the cold hard plastic.

Even after the teacher faces the whiteboard again, marker squeaking out numbers, I can’t concentrate enough to take notes. It’s the last Friday before the last week of school, and as a rising senior, I should be content to take it easy and glide, ignoring trifling matters like one point, but the very thought of it settles over me like sandpaper: itchy and uncomfortable.

Why is it so commonly accepted to wind down at the end of something? Shouldn’t this be the time to finish strong instead of coasting?

“Why are you so quiet, Jun?” I whisper. “Don’t tell me you have the same answer as the back of the book.”

“Trust me, I have the right answer,” he whispers right back.

Restraining my snort is a Herculean effort. Yeah, right. If he got the same answer I did, there’s no way he isn’t making his case with Mr. Gage. And since most of our teachers like the school’s golden boy more than they like me, he’ll probably win, too. Even when he reigns number one at literally everything, he’s the kind of person who nobody takes affront with.

Except for me, that is. The girl who’s the defending champ.

There’s a glint of amusement in his eyes. “What? I do.” He flashes his paper at me and then tucks it away in his folder too fast to see anything, but I bet it’s an infuriating 100 percent.

I cross my arms and swivel my torso to face the front. Each hard tick of the wall clock is a reminder that class is going to be over in thirty-five minutes, and if it’s hard getting Mr. Gage to give me the time of day now, Monday will be even more futile.

The teacher turns around, marker uncapped, the move bringing a fresh assault of migraine-inducing chemicals my way. “Any que—”

My hand shoots into the air.

His entire expression says you again? He rubs his temples, scanning the entire room to make sure there’s no one else he can call on first.

My arm starts to ache, but I keep it insistently up.

His fingers whiten around the marker. “Fine. Yes. What.”

“This isn’t about the exercise on the board, it’s about last night’s homework and I can show you if—actually, can I have that?” I strain forward to snatch the marker out of his hand, and instead of going around, I launch myself over the table, and go straight for the whiteboard.

I think I’ve actually rendered him speechless, because his hand stays gripped, frozen in midair, while I send the marker squealing, working out the problem for the fifth time.

“She’s totally shameless,” someone says in a scandalized nonwhisper I’m absolutely meant to hear.

I set my teeth and get on with it.

I’m not like Ian, who gets away with writing in ballpoint because he never has to go back to make corrections. I erase with far too much abandon, and Mr. Gage doesn’t accept work that’s been scribbled out or in any way untidy. He claims it’s because of his poor eyesight, which may be true, but I think he’s just trying to dock points wherever he can.

So it’s with great relief that I don’t need to erase anything to reach the answer, which is most definitely not the same one in the teacher’s answer manual or the back of our textbook.

I half expected Mr. Gage to not even pay attention, but he’s following my work, forehead lined and eyes squinted. And when he sighs, all gusty and exasperated, I know I have him.

“All right,” he says, cupping his hand into a come-here gesture. “Everyone send your assignments to the front. I’ll regrade and you can grab them at the start of our next class.”

“Thanks a lot, Kavya,” Parker calls to me, a bite in his voice. “I just lost my A.”

Yeah, I’m not even sorry about that.

There’s a few more grumbles, and I feel bad for a second that I cost Blaire her point, too, but when she flashes me a thumbs-up, I know she doesn’t hold it against me.

My victory is only slightly dimmed by having to share my hard-won bounty. But it’s offset with the knowledge that if my assignment is going up a point, Ian’s so-called right answermeans he’s going down one. Mr. Gage isn’t one of those if-it’s-my-fault-you-can-keep-the-points teachers; he’s equal-opportunity punitive.

“It’s too bad you don’t get to keep your perfect score,” I gloat.

“Actually, I do.” With a smirk, Ian turns to collect the papers making their way forward.

My stomach flip-flops. Oh, how nauseating. Only YA love interests and the hot cast from The Vampire Diaries smirk as much as he does. Ian’s is more Katherine than Damon, though.

I grit my teeth. “Oh, really? Clearly math isn’t your strong suit, but how do you figure?”

He pulls his own paper free to add to the top of the pile. I almost choke on air. Because there, in red, is the same damning 24/25 that’s on mine. The same slash through question three.

In his neat blue ballpoint print, the same answer I wrote on my paper and on the board.

“Thanks for the point, Joshi,” Ian says with a wink. “Knew I could count on you.”



From: "Leydig, Dana" Date: Friday, April 8, 2022 at 9:26 PM To: "Corzo, Gaby" , "Hoover, Jim" Subject: RE: PRACTICE GIRL and BEAUTY AND THE BESHARAM: Missing Cover/Copy and Title Block report


Jim, can we do first chapter? Thanks!


From: Corzo, Gaby Sent: Friday, April 8, 2022 6:51 PM To: Leydig, Dana ; Hoover, Jim ; Bak, Jenny ; Roengchai, Opal Subject: PRACTICE GIRL and BEAUTY AND THE BESHARAM: Missing Cover/Copy and Title Block report


Hi Dana and Jenny,


Please let Jim and Opal know which chapters you would like included in the excerpts on MyHouse for PRACTICE GIRL and BEAUTY AND THE BESHARAM.


Thanks! ~Gaby


From: Asadorian, Krista Sent: Friday, April 8, 2022 4:16 PM To: Loja, Jen ; Schmidt, Jocelyn ; Sabol, Stephanie A ; Romero, Emily ; Newlin, Shanta ; Marshall, Elyse K ; Iaria, Carmela ; Frazier, Felicia ; Polansky, Debra ; Winebarger, Allan ; Stout, Christy ; Chaban, Enid ; Ridgway, Jennifer ; Conway, Colleen ; Lee, Vance ; Bundy, Trevor ; Ramos, Talisa ; Jones, Todd ; Green, Becky ; Santella, Mark ; Mcgrath, Mary ; Nurse, Tanesha ; Anastas, Margaret ; Hornik, Lauri ; Klonsky, Jennifer ; McIntyre, Casey ; Paulsen, Nancy ; Santopolo, Jill ; Sedita, Francesco ; Strauss-Gabel, Julie ; Tripathi, Namrata ; Wright, Ken ; Kreit, Eileen ; Kaplan, Deborah ; Malcom, Lily ; Yung, Cecilia ; Rubero, Jasmin ; Portnoff, Lynn ; Lee, Ellice ; Andrews, Lindsey E ; Nugent, Casey ; Valois, Rob ; Benamy, Talia ; Eissing, Cheryl ; Mancini, Gerard ; Corzo, Gaby ; Dulla, Tabitha ; Rodriguez, Emily ; Vielkind, Natalie P ; Ziemba, Jayne ; Medina, Nico ; Moreton, Daniel ; Colangelo, Christina ; Phipps, Matthew ; Kelly, Lisa ; Kaplan, Liza ; Barney, Stacey ; Tattersfield, Claire ; Brazis, Tamar ; Rosenthal, Margaret ; Murphy, Kelsey ; Metoui, Meriam ; Gates, Tracy ; Leydig, Dana ; Bak, Jenny ; Kalia, Aneeka ; Howard, Michael Louis ; Orozco, Polo ; Pitts, Stephanie ; Kochan, Susan ; Dominguez, Ginny ; Penico, Madison ; Aleman, Alexandra ; Mercado, Nancy ; Garrison, Jessica ; Cormier, Ellen ; Harrison, Kate ; Ahmed, Rosie ; Lee, Michelle ; Karre, Andrew ; Jaffery, Zareen ; Cardenas, Joanna M ; Monday, Sydnee ; Villar, Gnesis ; Tutterow, Caitlin ; Rimas, Ruta ; Hernandez, Christopher ; Durning, Gretchen ; Roberts-Payne, Simone ; Pruitt, Squish ; Kiser, Nicole ; LaFleur, Sara ; Vargas, Lindsey ; Hubby, Riley ; Danver, Sara ; Schmitz, Stephanie ; Durkin, Cletus ; Gentile, Michael ; Temple, Travis ; Williams, Kaiulani ; Zahorik, Dawn ; Bruce, Emily ; Congdon, Vicki ; Conway, Colleen ; Mapp, Cindy ; Raymond, Mary ; Berenbaum, Stacy ; Jacobs, Rachel ; Blough, Diana Subject: Missing Cover/Copy and Title Block report


Hi Everyone,


Here is the weekly status report on outstanding cover or copy, and title feed blocks. This is an FYI for you in terms of what we're feeding in connection to release dates.Please let me know if you have any questions.


First attachment is the weekly report of forthcoming books with 9 or less months left before on-sale date missing copy, missing cover, or with a title block.It only includes titles with missing info or a title block so is not the full list of titles being published.Below I’ve noted titles publishing in the next 5 months from this grid as they will be more immediately affected by missing info and blocks.


Second report notes whether an excerptexists and/or interior assets are posted to MyHouse for each title.This grid includes all PYR titles publishing in the next 9 months (so titleswithout any missing copy or blocks are included).Below I’ve listed missing excerpts for Hardcover YA, MG, and Chapter Book titles publishing in the next 6 weeks.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


In order of closest to pub date:



Catch the Light PB (Viking, 4 months till onsale) –pb repackage

When We Make It PB (Dial, 4 months till onsale) –pb repackage

Eternally Yours (Viking, 4 months till onsale) –Penguin Teen Spotlight

How to Find What You’re Not Looking For (Kokila, 5 months till onsale) – pb repackage

Last Kids on Earth and the Forbidden Fortress (Viking, 5 months till onsale) –Penguin Kids Spotlight





(% covers posted & feeding out for PYR books publishing in next 5 months)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Only Hardcover YA, MG, and Chapter Books (excluding Graphic Novels)


My Own Lightning (Dutton)

Beauty and the Besharam (Viking)

Practice Girl (Viking)

Rising Troublemaker (Philomel)

Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse (Viking)

EXCERPT ADDED (since last report)

Fenway and the Bone Thieves

Fenway and the Frisbee Trick

Hope Wins



in order of closest to pub date:



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Titles with a TMP2 block are not feeding out of house. Titles with a TMP4 block are not feeding to online retailers (but are feeding to the catalog).




Title - Long

Author - Long

On Sale Date


Block Code


How to Find What You're Not Looking For

Veera Hiranandani










Pronouns: she/her/hers Senior Manager, Publishing

Penguin Young Readers

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