Erin's Reviews > Beastly

Beastly by Alex Flinn
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Apr 16, 14

bookshelves: young-adult, fairy-tales
Read in January, 2010

I am obsessed with Beauty and the Beast tales. It started when I saw the Disney movie, and then came full bloom after reading Beauty by Robin McKinley when I was in seventh grade. Since then I’ve read various re-tellings, even started my own, and researched the origins of the fairy tale. That research led me to the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, which was the inspiration for the story cycle I was working on last month, called Wings.

Roses too have played a big part in my life. My grandmother grows roses in her front yard and some of my earliest memories are of the perfume of those roses. I remember taking petals for the basket I would carry at my cousin Heather’s wedding. I even remember my dad taking a picture of me in front of my favorites from my grandmother’s garden: small, white-pink roses that I still think smell better than any other flower.

Over four years ago I was told about this book, Beastly. I checked it out from the library, read the first section (which is a chat session with the main character and other modern-day fairy tale characters) and somehow got it into my head that the rest of the book would be in chat form. I turned it back in and didn’t really give it much more thought. Then a few weeks ago I saw a poster for the new movie they’re making of this book. So when I was at the library yesterday I looked to see if they had it, and they did.

I finished in about five hours today. And I loved it (which I should have known I would). The story is unique among Beauty and the Beast tales in that it is told from the perspective of the Beast. Also, it takes place in modern day New York City.

Beginning before the curse, the book takes you through Kyle’s entire journey. You see the snotty, cruel spoiled boy. You watch him turn into a Beast and lose all hope. Then you see him meet the girl, Lindy. And you watch them become friends, and eventually fall in love.

Sure it’s a little sappy and yeah it’s a romance. But it does what no other Beauty and the Beast tale has done: it make the Beast very, very human. And I thought making the characters 16 years old worked for the whole falling in love thing. When you’re 16 finding true love is totally possible.

Kyle’s voice was engaging and very true. He changes as the story goes along, but never lose the sense of self established at the beginning. He doesn’t lose his confidence or the core of who he is. Not to sound cliche, but its more the surface of him that changes, even while his appearance does not.

To round this all off: Beastly was excellently done, and a pleasure to read. It’s a romance, and it’s a discovery. And most of all: it’s a fairy tale.
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