Author: Alex Flinn
Bookshelves: 2011, fantasy, fiction, for teens, New York City, New York City, paranormal romance, romance, USA
Begun: March 15, 2011
Finished: March 17, 2011
Media Type: paperback (larger sized)
Setting: present day New York City, present day upstate New York
Characters: Linda "Lindy" Owens, Kyle Kingsbury (aka Adrian), Will Fratalli, The Witch (aka Kendra Hilfert), Magda, Rob Kingsbury
Review: I picked up Beastly because the movie was being released and I decided that I should read the book (at the time I really, really wanted to see the movie too – since reading the book, I think I will wait for the DVD to come out and then go get it for free at the library). The story is … well the plot, at least, in its most basic form, is a good thing. Think: an updated Beauty and Beast.
And what little girl didn’t love the story behind the Disney classic.
In this reworking of the fairytale, we open the book to an online chatroom transcript where the moderator’s name is Mr. Anderson (all I could think was Hugo Weaving playing Agent Smith from The Matrix asking Keanu Reeves (Neo/Mr. Anderson) saying “You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability... It is the sound of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Anderson...”). Maybe others missed it but “Mr. Anderson,” is a not so cleaverly veiled reference to Hans Christian Anderson who authored many (if not most) of the fairytales that are still so popular today! In the chatroom we meet the little mermaid, a bear, and the frog (the prince who was turned into a frog) … and a beast who proceeds to tell us his story.
Kyle Kingsbury was the most popular person at his private prep school. But inside, he’s kind of messed up. His mother left his father and him without, really, any good reason when he was pretty young. His father, Rob Kingsbury is a self-loving and beauty obsessed anchorman. He doesn’t have that much time for Kyle other than to make sure he’s not getting into that much trouble.
Kyle, who is a shoe in for Prom King, plays a trick on the goth chick in his English class, Kendra Hilfert, by asking her to the dance even though Kyle is actually taking the “cool girl,” who becomes ticked at Kyle for getting her a “simple, common” white rose for her corsage instead of the exotic orchid she wanted. When they get to the dance, Kyle hands the offending rose to a “scholarship” girl who is manning the ticket desk. This simple act of making the girl’s day with the flower is the only thing that saves him from what is about to happen.
When Kendra realizes that Kyle has an ugly heart as she suspects and has been playing her for a fool, she reveals that she is actually a beautiful witch. She transforms Kyle into a beastly visage to match his heart. But, because he was kind to the “scholarship girl,” the Witch gives Kyle a chance to redeem himself. He is given two years to get someone to fall in love him.
He figures that this will never happen. He thinks he’s gross because he’s covered with fur, disfigured, and has claws. He’s basically an amalgamation of a bear, dog, man and gorilla. When the doctors can’t cure him of his physical deformities, his father gets him a five story apartment away from his apartment in Manhattan. Kyle realizes that his father can’t stand to look at him and has shunted him out of his life. Magda, the family’s maid, goes with him and his father pays for a blind tutor to become his companion and teacher.
Slowly over the course of the first year, Kyle comes out of his self imposed prison, changes his name from Kyle (which means “handsome”) to Adrian (which means “the dark one”), and builds a greenhouse where he begins to grow roses of all sizes, colors and types. One night, he catches a robber who broke into the greenhouse intent on stealing things in the house for drug money. The robber bargains his daughter for payment (of not being turned over to the authorities). His daughter is Linda (“Lindy) Owens who it is revealed is the “scholarship girl” from the dance.
Could she be the girl to break the curse? How could anyone see though the horrific exterior to see what’s within Adrian’s heart? And is that heart worth seeing?
To break the curse, make Lindy love him, and return to his “normal” life, Kyle/Adrian only got months left …
- ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
- VOYA Editor’s Choice
- IRA/CBC Young Adults’ Choice
- New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
- Texas Lone Star Reading List
- Detroit Public Library Author Day Award
- Utah Beehive Award Master List
- Missouri Gateway Award Master List
- Volunteer State Book Award Master List
- Nevada Young Readers Award Master List
- South Dakota Young Adult Book Award Master List
- New Hampshire Isinglass Award Master List
- Woozles (Canada) Teen Battle of the Books list
Recommended by: myself after seeing a commercial for the movie which was released in Feb. 2011
Recommend to: Twilight saga fans, fans of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Kate U. (my friend)