Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Published: October 1, 2007 by HarperTeen
Received: Bought from Barnes & Noble
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 the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly. {taken from}
I will be honest, I had no desire to read this book until I saw the movie trailer for it that will be coming out in March.  Hello Alex Pettyfer!!!  Plus I am a huge sucker for young romance/fairy tales on the big screen.  I knew I wanted to read the story before I saw the movie, though.  The book is usually better in my opinion; however, I think I would have enjoyed the movie even if I hadn't read the book first.  It comes across as one of those movies.  The ones every guy makes fun of & every girl secretly loves.  Yes, I admit it.  I am a huge fan of chick flicks! Love them!  Now on with this book...

Beastly is a modern day twist on the old fairy tale Beauty & the Beast.  The story is being told through the eyes of Kyle Kingsbury, the beast.  And my oh my are those eyes pretty!!  We first meet Kyle living in his lavish home, on the upper east side of Manhattan.  He comes from a wealthy father, who has instilled the importance of physical beauty.  His father being a news anchor counts on his looks to bring in the big bucks.  Kyle is every bit your typical shallow, conceited, teenage boy.  He takes pride in his good looks & squashes those who he feels are beneath him.  He is nominated prom king, along side his snooty girlfriend, who will also be crowned prom queen.  Their lives seem so glittery, so perfect, so beautiful.  Kyle believes he is above everyone & everything.  Until one day, he meets this mysterious ugly girl.  What Kyle does not realize, is that his fate belongs in her hands.  This ugly girl, which Kyle refers to as a "witch" casts a spell on him to teach him a lesson.  That not every thing in life is based on good looks.  That real beauty lies beneath.  Kyle is transformed in to an ugly, hideous beast.  Fangs, claws, and a mange of hair!  He has two years to find true love & be kissed by his true love to break the spell.. or else he will remain a beast, forever.

Alex Flinn, the author of Beastly, incorporates real world dialogue, current events, & the teenage nostalgia to this twice-told fairy tale.  As the reader you get inside the mind of Kyle Kingsbury & in the beginning start to hate him & resent him for the way he speaks to others & treats them so badly.  Alex Flinn does a superb job of characterization.  He sets the scene with accurate details & helps you to visualize each person, inside & out.  As Kyle transforms, not just in to a beast, but also in to a human boy who realizes his wrong doings; you begin to feel his sadness.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to relate to such a character.  This story represents the cruelty in man-kind & shows us that it can effect anyone.

Kyle Kingsbury, as the beast, is sent away to live alone in a Brooklyn apartment, away from his father.  He is sentenced to complete isolation, except for the aid of his maid & tutor.  It is here in this lonely apartment that we start to understand Kyle.  We get a better grasp as to why he felt good looks were always so important & how cruel his father has treated him his whole life.  After many failing attempts at trying to find true love, Kyle decides to accept his fate as being a beast forever.  He stops searching & loses himself in his rose garden, which has become his only responsibility that gives him satisfaction.  But as fate would have it, Kyle has already met his one true love & she crosses paths with him in more than one instance.  Can Kyle over come his fear of being so ugly & willingly put himself out there for a chance with a girl whom he deems worthy?  Or is it Kyle who feels he is not worthy of her beauty?  The tables have turned for Kyle Kingsbury & he is on a race against time.

The parallels between this story and the original Beauty & the Beast were interesting to read, but with a modern twist.  Though the ending was predictable, I still enjoyed the story.  The lesson of finding true beauty within never gets old.  We must look past the surface in order to see what lies beneath.  It is there you may find a beast, or a beauty.  But it is the risk we all must take, in order to find true love.



  1. Alex Flinn's stories are great for a simple, fun, and sweet twist on fairy tales. They're nothing exceptional, but I enjoy them all. Have you read A Kiss in Time?

  2. i've heard both good and "okay" things about this book; i think im just going to read it, so i can finally make up my own opinion about it! especially now that there's a movie :) i saw the trailer and pfff! the actor who plays kyle is super hott! :)haha! thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, ginger! I love reading your reviews... you always manage to give us enough info about the book w/out any spoilers! keep up the good work!


  3. I am still hesitant to read Beastly, but I like your description. It sounds more interesting than the official one, ha ha.

    Also, have you read Beauty by Robin McKinley, that is an excellent take on Beauty and the Beast.

  4. I plan to read this sometime before the movie comes out. I've heard all of Alex's novels are both fun and sweet, who doesn't need a little bit of that every now and then! :)

  5. I recently read this and totally agree! I can't wait for the movie. :)

  6. I keep meaning to read this one and get sidetracked. It might be a good "in between" book when I'm looking for something quick to read.

  7. Pettyfer will do that to a girl...

  8. Like you, I haven't felt compelled to read this one, as much as I like the idea of contemporary versions of fairy tales. I'll likely read this the week before the movie though - that's what I've done with the whole Twilight series (thus far - one more to go!). I'm a little worried about Pettyfer becoming the "it" YA guy - mostly because he's already more A than YA, but also because I like some variety in my heartthrobs.

  9. I'm just like you! I really had no desire to read this book either until I saw the movie trailer. Both of my roommates have read it since, and they both enjoyed it, though neither would say it's phenomenal. I'm interested enough to give it a shot before I see the film version, though! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)


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