Writer’s Wednesday: Book Review: Beastly

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Beastly by Alex Flinn
Publisher: Harper Teen (October 6, 2009 rev edition)
Paperback: 336 pages
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating: 5 of 5 feathers
Source: Purchased

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

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

REVIEW: A beautiful, intriguing, and interesting rendition of Beauty and the Beast. Most people know I love fairy tales. And Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorites, so when my friend forced her copy of Beastly on me, I was surprised I hadn’t seen this book before. I started reading it immediately. At first I hated the MC Kyle. He was exactly the kind of boy I hated in H.S. I honestly had to force myself to keep reading because I disliked him that much. But, as we all do, I knew where the story was going and I knew he’d change and I’d like him. Or at least I hoped I would. And I did. By the end of the story, I was absolutely in love with him.

This is one of the reasons for the five-feather rating. To make me hate a character so much and then do a complete turn around to say that I felt sorry for him and loved him, means Alex did a spectacular job of characterization.

It was really great, also, how Alex used an IM support group to bring in other fairy tales and tell their story.

I also like how she explained why Beast was left all alone to molder away in some abandoned “castle.” While it made me angry that was the reason, it also made complete sense.

She also incorporated several of my favorite things from the Disney version. The enchanted rose, magic mirror, and, of course, the heroine’s love of books.

Honestly, I have nothing but gushings for this particular book. I couldn’t think of something I didn’t like if I tried, and I have. It was the perfect combination of fairy tale meets modern world.

Characters: Kyle is perfectly abominable in the beginning. Like I already said, I hated him. He really thought he was God’s gift to the world, and I was sickly happy that I knew what was coming. LOL. I can’t describe any of the others w/o giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say that they were all as well drawn as Kyle was.

Cover: I like it. I’m not absolutely in love with it, but it’s simple and shows an important part of the story, so I know why they used it.

This is a great book for both lovers of fairy tales and those sick of the overly sweet Disney versions. It even has great boy appeal, and not just because a boy is the narrator, but because of Kyle himself. I think a lot of boys would be able to see themselves as Kyle. In fact, I’m thinking of handing this over to my son to read, when I can force myself to give it up. : ) It really is a perfect blend of classic fairy tale and the modern world, and is a great addition to any one’s library.

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