Friday, June 18, 2010

Beastly by Alex Flinn


Young Adult Fantasy / Fairytale Retelling


A beast. Not quite wolf or gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature withfangs, claws, and hairs springing from every pore. I am a walking monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. And I'll stay this way forever--unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turne 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, the perfect looks, the perfect girl, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly... beastly.


Kyle Kingsbury, your typical blond, rich, top o' the foodchain highschool stereotype, embarks on a whirlwind adventure as he lives out the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Accompanied by his real-life beauty, Lindy, a demure semi-nerdy gal, Kyle overcomes his true ugliness on the inside with the help of his blind tutor, Will, and his maid-in-disguise Magda.

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought Alex Flinn did a really stellar job in reinventing one of my absolute favorite fairy tales. No butchering at all, which was really nice.

This novel relies heavily on dialogue to move, and thank goodness that Mrs. Flinn knows how to write it well! Conversations and themes flow easily into one another, which was really a plus. I enjoyed how Flinn used the dialogue to really show her characters maturing and growing to become the characters we know and love.

I also enjoyed how Mrs. Flinn put her own spin on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. She even comments on one part of the story, the part where Beauty's father agrees to give her over to the Beast, which I found really interesting:

"As a writer, I write about what disturbs me, and what disturbed me about many versions of Beauty and the Beast was that beloved as Beauty was said to be, in each case, her father gives her over willingly to the Beast, in order to save his own life." --Alex Flinn

In this story, Beauty's (Lindy's) father is a hard core druggie who the Beast (Kyle) catches prowling in his green house. In order to save his own hide and stop the Beast from calling the cops, Beauty's father offers her very willingly to the Beast, without thinking twice. I liked the way Alex Flinn wrote this important plot point, and gave it a really memorable modern twist. Flinn made it really believable that a druggie father would definiltely give up his own daughter to save his own arse.

All in all, this book was a really great read. And an easy read, too (I think I finished it in about 2 days). Didn't have quite the "amazing" factor that I know Beauty and the Beast for, but still a great spin on such a beloved tale!

P.S. Be sure to read this before you see it IN THEATERS (that's right!) starting July 30th!! I've included a link to the trailer below! Looks really good.



Watch the trailer here:

Don't bother with the movie. It's really awful. Nothing like the book unfortunately.

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