Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: Beastly












Title:
Beastly
Author: Alex Flinn
Release Date: October 2, 2007
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 304
Rating: 4 Cows








Goodreads Description:

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.




“Beastly” is a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which has always been one of my favorite fairy tales.  I loved the idea of someone falling in love with a beast despite their appearance.  Although admittedly, I think my love for Beauty and the Beast stemmed in part from jealousy.  The castle library guys! C’mon! It’s basically every bibliophile’s dream.  Anyhow, I have yet to read a fairy tale retelling of Beauty and The Beast yet, so I thought I’d give this one a go.  It’s been out for years now, and there’s even a film adaptation of it, which I plan to hunt for this week.  Did I mention I found this at Goodwill for $.91?  Needless to say, I couldn’t say no!

As far as YA goes, “Beastly” was a little cheesy at times, but cute.  I really enjoyed the setting though.  I loved that “Beastly” was in modern day New York City, with Linda (our modern ‘Belle’) living in a dumpy apartment with her drug addict father.  It made for an interesting twist on the classic fairy tale.  For any Gossip Girl lovers out there, Kyle Kingsbury is reminiscent of Chuck Bass; lots of money and conceited to boot.  It’s his arrogance and unwillingness to show kindness towards others, that puts him in his predicament.  A witch casts a spell on him, rendering him ugly until he can find someone to love him despite his appearance.  He’s given the deadline of two years, at which end’s time he will be stuck looking like a beast.

I liked the fact that Alex Flinn decided to include two of the characters from the movie Beauty and the Beast: Lumiere and Babette.  AT LEAST I believed that as I was reading “Beastly.”  Kyle (who changes his name to Adrian later in the book, once he’s outgrown his old mean personality) has a tutor at his new house his father sends him to.  His tutor, Will, is blind and acts as a conscious for Kyle.  He encourages him throughout the book to be a better person, and work towards the witch’s cure.  He reminded me a lot of Lumiere!  Also, Magda reminded me a lot of Babette.  In “Beastly” she was Kyle’s maid at both his old and new house.  Despite her small appearance in the book, she does play a pretty large role in the ending.  (don’t worry, I won’t spill it!)

One of the cheesier parts of the book was the online chat room discussion, that is included between each new part of the book (there are 6 parts in all).  In the chat rooms, Kyle goes by his username ‘BeastNYC’ and talks to other creatures going through transformations.  Despite it being slightly corny, it was funny.  In the conversations are other characters who display alikeness to fairy tale characters such as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, the frog from The Princess and the Frog, and even one of the bears from Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  I thought Alex Flinn created a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that was bothnew and exciting, while also sticking to some of the maincharacteristics of the Beast and Belle from the original story.  I’d definitely read this book again, and I’m in the mood to read another fairy tale retelling!  Any suggestions?  What are your favorite modern retellings of classic fairy tales?  



1 comment:

  1. I've read this book many moons ago prior to watching the film. I enjoyed the book, but the film left me feeling meh. I distinctly remember those chat sessions, though. And I agree to the gratuitous sprinkling of cheddar as well. Lol.

    ReplyDelete

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