Beauty is an excellent retelling of Beauty and the Beast, though most of my knowledge of it comes from the Disney movie. The story is familiar to most people, which leads to the author's interpretation of the story, which is what makes this book interesting. Thankfully, Robin doesn't do anything too radical. Otherwise, there might have been an outcry.
One thing that makes this book different from the story is we get to see Beauty's life, and while Beauty's life does consume the book somewhat. This is not in a bad way, just with a lot of back story into her life and just exactly why she goes to the castle. However, because of this the story is a bit slow. This is no doubt due to the fact most readers know the story and know how it ends, so there is no real need for a fast-paced plot. Even though it was not really action-packed, it is still a short read.
All of the books characters are believable, and all of them are lovable. Even though Beauty describes her sisters beautiful and herself as plain, there isn't any real animosity between them. There is no evil stepmother or stepsister, or brother-in-law.
Personally, I enjoyed this book. I love McKinley's writing style. This is one of her earlier works, but in the young adult section probably because Beauty is a teenager. However, I think children and adults can both enjoy this book. Interestingly enough, I found this book on a list of books that college-bound students should read. I would be inclined to agree, but McKinley has numerous other works as well that are worth reading. I'd recommend it to people who enjoy fairytales and really just most people in general.