Between the Covers's Reviews > Beastly

Beastly by Alex Flinn
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Mar 04, 2011

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bookshelves: fantasy, young-adult

Review courtesy of Louise @ Between the Covers blog: http://t.co/jXvtsWQ

Beastly has been out for several years, but I hadn’t heard of it until an author chat with Alex Flinn on Eve’s Fan Garden. I enjoyed this book, and am hoping that the movie will be . Beauty and the Beast is one of my all-time favorite fairy tales, and Flinn’s retelling of it, set in modern day New York City, is made of win.

The story is told from the point of view of the “beast,” Kyle Kingsbury. Kyle is everything teens want to be...handsome, rich and popular. He’s also a grade-A, world class, “show up at the door to date my daughter and I’m punting you like a football” jerk. The son of a well-known NYC news anchorman, Kyle’s been raised to be superficial. Appearance is all that matters. As long as someone looks good, wears the right clothes, attends the right events, has enough money, that’s all that matters. Kyle’s father is something seen often in YA novels...a very absent parent, who treats Kyle as if he is a bother the few times they interact during the book.

Kyle attends Tuttle, an elite private school, where he is the most popular boy dating the most popular girl. His not so stellar personality gets him in trouble...trouble that his father’s name and money can’t get him out of...when he ticks off a witch who is masquerading as a student at his school. The witch, Kendra, curses Kyle after he does something that would crush most teenage girls...asks her to a dance when he already has a (pretty and popular) date, just to embarrass her. The curse turns Kyle into the “beast,” letting his outside reflect what and who he truly is...ugly. Kyle’s given two (2) years to break the curse, and it can only be broken by the kiss of true love. *insert swoon here*

There were parts to this book that I really enjoyed, such as the “internet support group chats” with other fairy tale characters, such as the frog prince and the little mermaid. These were always humorous and very enjoyable. I enjoyed watching the relationship between Kyle and his “true love,” Lindy, develop. I really loved that Lindy was just an average girl. She wasn’t beautiful, but she also wasn’t ugly. And I loved how Kyle’s perception of her appearance changed as the book progressed and he matured.

There were parts I didn’t enjoy, such as Lindy’s father’s drug addiction. But the dark parts of the book serve to show Kyle’s growth, and to spotlight that good people can come out of very dark environs.

Beastly takes us on Kyle’s journey to becoming a real boy...and eventually a real man, one who recognizes that appearance isn’t what matters most, that who we are on the inside is the true measure of our worth. By the end of the book, I liked Kyle *almost* enough to let him date my daughter. Almost.

Rating: 3 stars
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