29 March 2011

Beastly by Alex Flinn

With the movie already out in theaters, this may seem a bit late. . . however, I told myself I had to read and blog the book before I would allow myself to go see it in theaters. I wanted to use my own imagination before I had Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer's faces dominating my brain. I'm not sure how well that worked though. . .

Since I just finished the book, I figured I would go ahead and review it BEFORE I see the movie and then once I see the movie (sometime this weekend) I will discuss how I felt about both of them. I've already noticed a few discrepancies with the movie from the previews alone. . .

Kyle Kingsbury is a spoiled NYC prep boy. He lives in a fancy Manhattan apartment with his father-- a newsanchor who is rarely home and he's nominated for 9th grade prince for his school dance. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. He has a girlfriend named Sloane who is just as self-absorbed and focused on popularity as he is and Kyle fails to respect those who are "below" him.

As a joke, Kyle asks Kendra-- an overweight goth girl-- to go with him to the dance, knowing he had no intentions of going with her. His girlfriend, Sloane demands an orchid for her corsage, but instead of getting the corsage, he sends his housekeeper, Magda. Magda finds the beauty in a white rose and gives it to Kyle to give to Sloane. Sloane has a hissey fit about the rose and Kyle ends up giving it to a girl who is taking tickets at the dance.

When Kendra shows up without a ticket, Kyle blows her off after insulting her, but its Kendra who has the final word. She leaves Kyle with a simple warning, "You'll see." and leaves the dance.

Kyle's world is turned upside down when he gets home from Sloane's after the dance. Kendra is there, but she's not just a high school girl. She transforms Kyle into what he was inside-- a horrible beast. She tells him that he has 2 years to find a girl to love and to be loved by her in return or he will be DOOMED to remain a beast forever. Kendra also bestows on him, a magic mirror to see the world with and warns him NOT to break the mirror.

Kyle only has 2 years to find a girl and once his father locks him away in a Brooklyn Brownstone with his housekeeper, Magda and a blind tutor named Will, he looses all hope. It isn't until a drug adict breaks into the greenhouse he built that hope begins to blossom again. . .

This is probably one of my FAVORITE retellings of a classic tale. I never thought to think about things from the Beast's perspective, mainly because I'm a girl. However,  I LOVED how Alex Flinn was able to break into the Beast's mind, show us what lead to his becoming the creature we've grown to love through Disney and through him into 21st Century America. In the decade where we are obsessed with shows like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, it's great to see something from a guys p.o.v. I found myself repulsed by Kyle in the beginning, but loving and rooting for him in the end. Even though I was pretty sure how the book would end, I was still facsinated and engrossed in the way Alex Flinn was able to make Kyle's journey from Beast to Man occur.

This book deserves 4 dragonflies: I love it, recommend it, and someone is getting Beastly as a gift sometime this year.


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