I read Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty& The Beast by Robin McKinley in a matter of days. It was one of those books you pick up every spare moment, even in the snack bar of the roller skating place!
There are no weird twists and you know basically what's going to happen (if you're at all familiar with "Beauty and The Beast," but that in no way diminishes how compelling a romance this is.
We don't meet the Beast until about a quarter of the way though, but in that first quarter we get to know Beauty and her role in her family. She's the youngest of three sisters and feels as if she's the plain, ugly one, though they don't see her that way. Beauty's feelings about her looks cause her to develop her mind and her horseback riding skills.
The real wow factor of this book for me was how deeply I was drawn into the story and characters. I'm loaning it to my sister because she loves fairytale retellings, but I'll also encourage my eleven-year-old daughters to read it, because it's suitable for pre-teens.