Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Review of 'Beastly' by Alex Flinn

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite a wolf or a 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 about 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.”

I haven’t read this recently. In fact, I’ve read it once. But do you want to know something? It was so good that I remember it pretty vividly even though I read it maybe a year ago.

Originally, I borrowed it from the library (which is what I usually do. I hate buying books and then finding out that I don’t like them). I picked it up one freezing cold winter day and just started reading. I devoted probably six or seven hours to it. Maybe more… I finished it that day because I simply couldn’t put it down. I only stopped for bathroom breaks and the occasional snack.

I think it’s very interesting when you take a traditional fairy tale (in this case ‘Beauty and the Beast’) and give it a twist. This book (if you can’t tell from the description that I got from the back of the book, which you can read above) is from the perspective of the Beast. Alex Flinn uses a chat room called the Unexpected Changes Chat Group where we meet other familiar characters like the Little Mermaid and the Frog from ‘The Princess and the Frog.’ I thought that was very cool to make it as modern as possible.

You start out hating Kyle Kingsbury (who later changes his name to Adrian) because he’s conceited, rude, and just a horrible child. Unfortunately, there’s always going to be someone like him in every high school. I was so glad he was turned into a beast.

Because he is turned into a beast, his father puts him in solitary confinement—an apartment where the doors are locked and the windows blocked so that no one can see him. He is given a collection of DVDs, a blind tutor, and a computer with internet, among other things. Throughout his confinement, he takes up botany—roses being his flower of choice.

If you know how the original story goes (even if you’ve only seen the Disney movie version, it’s very similar to that) then you know how this will turn out… minus the part where he and the girl he chooses (her name is Lindy) get married. They just become an item (was that a horrible way to say that?)

What I liked is how Kyle (Adrian) became his own person throughout the book; turned into that guy you wouldn’t mind hanging out with or the character that you can actually like and appreciate. I like the modern twist on an old story. This whole book is beautifully written.

I can’t say there’s anything I need to warn you about.

If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend picking this book up at your local library or borrowing it from your friend, co-worker, newspaper salesman, shoe shiner… You won’t regret it. If you like this one, read Alex Flinn’s other books (I read one of her books called ‘Nothing To Lose’ a few months ago and it was quite excellent).

I have found that I can not read nearly as fast as I would like to, so I may do more reviews of books I’ve read in the past and liked. Why not review books I hated? Because if I read them a while ago and I hated them, chances are I returned them to the library and did not buy them. Sorry I can’t throw you a warning beacon…

Thanks for reading!


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