Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beastly by Alex Flinn (4.5/5 stars)

This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with some changes; firstly the book is set in the modern day and secondly it is from the Beast's point of view. When I started this book I wasn't sure I was going to like it but as the story continued I really got pulled in and ended up loving it. It helps that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales.

Kyle Kingsbury is a jerk. He is your typical perfect looking, rich, snob. Everyone is beneath him and he is cruel about it. He gets his comeuppance when he stands up a strange girl with funny green hair and gothic clothing. You guessed it, she is a witch, and she curses him to look on the outside like he is on the inside. That is unless he is kissed by his true love within 2 years of his changing. Funny thing is Kyle's dad is a news anchor and basically disowns Kyle when he finds that his son is permanently beastly.

This story started out okay. I thought the writing was kind of choppy and awkward, with lots of slang, in the beginning. As Kyle becomes a better person; the book ends up being written quite beautifully. Since it is written from Kyle's viewpoint I guess that makes sense. So, just a warning, if the book irritates you at first keep with it because it is worth the read.

Flinn did an excellent job showing Kyle's transformation. There is some humor in between the different sections of the book in the form of online group chats; where Kyle goes to discuss his transformation with others who have been transformed. I thought Flinn did an excellent job of staying true to the original Beauty and the Beast story while updating the surroundings.

The only part I thought was awkward was when Kyle forces Lindy to live with him; the author mentions in the back that she also had a bit of trouble reconciling this part of the story with the modern world. Besides that I was very happy with this book. It is a sweet re-telling and stays true to the many versions of the story out there. It is appropriate for kids of all ages; not a ton of violence or making out.

Overall I really liked it. It was a quick and easy read. I had a lot of trouble putting the book down and ended up staying awake until the wee hours of the night to see how it ended. I will definitely be checking out more of Alex Flinn's books in the future.

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