Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beastly by Alex Flinn

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

This was a great adaption of the Beauty and the Beast.  It was told from the Beast's point of view and had some interesting plot twists to it.  It was humorous, heartbreaking and fast paced.  The trasformation of the ego centric main character Kyle Kingsbury, Prince of Tuttle Private School to Adrian the kind hearted beast was slow going, but it did happen and not just with the help of a girl.

The beginning starts with the choosing of Prince and Princess of the last dance of the school year.  Of course Kyle knows he'll win.  But a girl in the back of the room pipes up that it is utterly preposterous that they are voting on someone just because of their looks and people should be judged by what's inside.  Kyle doesn't know this girl but thinks she's extremely ugly and vows to get even with her.  At P.E. he ask her to the dance knowing full well he already has a dance with the hottest girl in school.  He shows up at the dance with his date and they all make fun of her.  One faux pas, he brought the wrong type of corsage for his date so he gave it to the ticket taker at the front, she seemed to think it was beautiful.

Later that night, he finds out the girl he tricked was a witch and she turns him into a beast.  She tells him he must find a girl that he loves that loves him that will kiss him to break the curse.  There are some other things attached, but I don't want to spoil it.  His father is a news anchorman and is rarely home, but he takes time off to visit specialist around the country to see if they can help Kyle.  They all say the same thing, "No."  Eventually, he moves Kyle to a Brownstone in Brooklyn with five stories and an 8 foot tall fence.  He doesn't move in with him.  He doesn't want to be seen with Kyle.  Kyle realizes this and makes some demands threatening to go to the news if his father doesn't follow through.

Soon Kyle has a blind tutor and a computer with the internet.  He joins an internet support group for people that have been transformed and meets some of the familiars, the Frog Prince, The Bear in Snow White and Rose Red, and The Little Mermaid who is considering giving up her fins.  They instant message during support group time, it's sort of funny especially since "Froggie can't type very well or fast."  Kyle convinces his tutor that a witch turned him into this beast and finely, after feeling his hair, he believes him.  They study daily and one day, the tutor, Will, brings home rose bushes and all the things it takes to grow them.  Kyle, at first stung by the roses as they remind him of the dance is shocked, but helps plant them and soon takes over the care of them.  He later builds a green house of glass so he can enjoy them all year long.

One night he hears someone breaking the glass of his greenhouse and finds a man coming in to steal from him.  It's the same story, bring your daughter to me in one week or I'll turn you in to the police.  But, Kyle, who calls himself Adrian now has video cameras with tapes to prove the break in and he knows who the man's daughter is and knows she'd be better off without her father.  He spends the week decorating her bedroom, buying out the bookstores and clothing stores and painting and wall papering.  But Lindy hates him for keeping her prisoner and won't even take meals with him, his tutor and maid.  But one night she brings her dishes down and Adrian is in the lounge where the t.v. is.  She gets her first shadowy look and him and doesn't go running.  The next day she comes down in daylight and soon a friendship begins.

Lindy's father is not the kind of father Beauty had and not one that deserves the love Lindy gave him.  Adrian truly transforms and asks for gifts for his friends instead of himself even if the curse isn't lifted.  He is resigned to the fact that he will always be a beast.  But he accepts his fate and is content with it knowing he is better inside than he was as Kyle Kingsbury.  It's a great story and I never felt like I was reading Beauty and the Beast.  It's completely contemporary and feels very genuine except for the witch and  the enchantment.

I really enjoyed it and read it in just a few hours.  I suggest it for anyone that loves the classic fairy tales or wants a simply enjoyable read.  There was some slightly suggestive remarks in the beginning but that was it.
Heather in Sandwich


  1. Great review! I actually really enjoyed the book, too, though I thought it lagged for a good bit in the middle. I'm also sad that the movie completely changes the look of the Beast...shame! haha :)

  2. Melissa-

    Me too. I think if he was written as a beast he should be a beast, not a guy with tattos or veins or whatever the guy has. I was disappointed with that too!


  3. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite stories, so I can't wait to read something from the Beast's perspective to bring something new to the story! Thanks so much for sharing this review, I'm really looking forward to this one now!

  4. I've always loved Beauty and the Beast too, Jenny. Such a great love story. The same author has another one coming out in February that looks something like The Frog Prince, again, with a twist. And there is already one out called "A Kiss in Time" about Snow White. She has many more novels out that aren't fairy tale remakes, but I haven't read them.


  5. You had me hooked right from your first sentence - this sounds like a wonderful story, thanks for mentioning it.

  6. Love the review!

    I also enjoyed this book :)


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