Beastly by Alex Flinn

beastly cover originalKyle Kingsbury had it all. The handsomely perfect looks, rich and famous dad who gives him lots of money to spend and impress his friends, and popularity and a gorgeous girlfriend at his expensive private school in New York City. Unfortunately, he has an arrogant, better-than-everyone attitude to go with it. He never thinks of anyone but himself. Then he sees a new girl in school, Kendra, an ugly freak who makes the mistake of picking on Kyle in English class. Kyle decides to get back at her by inviting her to the Spring formal, and then blowing her off to be with Sloane, his girlfriend, in front of everyone. He gets a good laugh out of Kendra’s misery, but he’s not laughing later when Kendra shows up at his apartment and claims to be a witch. Kendra curses Kyle to be as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside, and turns him into a hideous beast. If Kyle can’t find someone to love him for who he is instead of what he looks like in two years, he will be stuck as a beast forever.

I have been reading lots of fairy tale re-tellings lately, and I am always impressed when authors try to take “old school” fairy tales and set them in present day. I was intrigued about how Flinn was going to manage with this particular story, since having a secluded castle in the middle of New York City didn’t sound plausible to me. I thought her idea of having Adrian (what Kyle changes his name to as he learns to accept being a beast and forms a new identity for himself) live in a mansion with a screened in back yard was rather brilliant, and totally believable. I also liked how Adrian got involved with Lindy, his Beauty, whose father broke into his mansion and who Adrian forced to turn over his daughter in order to stay out of jail. Strange, but it worked.

Adrian and Lindy’s relationship was an interesting one. They bonded through reading, and Lindy’s love of books. I liked how Adrian’s need to impress Lindy inadvertently led to him growing as a person too, by reading and interpreting all that classic literature. That was a nice touch. I could have done without Adrian’s whining, though. I mean, I would have been happy to be turned into a hideous beast either (a rather obvious statement, I know) but he whined about everything, even when things started going his way. I suppose I just get a little tired of books where the main character is always whining.

beastly cover movieThis wasn’t my favorite fairy tale re-telling ever, but I did like it. It’s one of those books-turned-movies (hence the two covers, I wanted to post both the original cover and the new cover now that publishers insist on putting movie photos on books. Does anyone else hate that? Anyway, I digress…). I have heard good things about the movie, and wanted to read it before I saw it. I’ll let you know what I thin of the movie!

Happy reading,

-Branwen

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