Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

My Rating: 4/5


The novel Beastly adds a contemporary twist to the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. Centered around Kyle Kingsbury, the “it” boy of his school and spoiled rotten brat, the story depicts his metamorphosis from someone with a disgusting and ugly personality and beautiful features to one capable of experiencing love. Growing up with a father on television who believed that nothing was greater than an image that must be preserved, Kyle is excessively proud and vain, marring his charming assets and turning him into a beast; what he truly is inside. After a cruel joke on a witch that goes terribly wrong however, Kyle is “cursed” to the life of a beast and the monster that existed within came blubbering to the surface. The book then shows his transition from being the most loved in school due to his money and looks to becoming the next victim of vicious gossip and ridicule.Kyle’s father, as demonstrated before, is a man of power and image and no one, including his son will take that from him. Not ready to give up his esteem and respect, Kyle’s father hides him from the world and Kyle becomes an ideal example of the Beast in the Disney classic, locked away and in turmoil, rooting for a chance at his love story. What follows next is the not-so-terrible decision of a father, the entry of the heroine Lindy, and the chance for Kyle to make friends not blinded by his material possessions. 


What I liked about both the main characters of the story was  their metamorphosis. Sometimes in stories, the "bad guy" becomes the "good guy" overnight and it's just black and white. In this story however, you see the wrongs that each character does and how their stubbornness affects others but you don't always label them as good or bad. There are layers of grey, just like in real life. The characters pose a gradual change into something else and it's not rushed or abrupt, something I really appreciated. The side characters of the novel were great as well and had every characteristic that they should have. Some friendly, others wise, and others not so nice; they were all there. 

Overall Review: 

I picked this book up at the library when I was in 6th grade and I had realized that I loved it. Years later, I saw it peeking it out from it's little niche in the library shelves, practically shouting at me, "Sidra, come over here and read me again!". So I did. I reread it. And that's when I realized that the magic that the book had cast over me as a pre-teen wasn't really there anymore. It was like talking to an old friend after a long time and realizing that they've changed, or maybe you have. Reading it a second time, I noticed the simple wording and somewhat middle-grade structuring of the story. The ending was rushed, I admit as well and the whole "romance" lasted about half of the book and seemed crammed in, as if the author was running out of time and had to put it in somewhere. Beastly is a typical contemporary where the main characters fall in head over heels in love pretty easily (I hope these aren't spoilers, it is based on Beauty and the Beast after all). Besides a few flaws though, I give this book a 4/5 just simply because I adored the transformation of the characters and how the story lived up to one of my favorite Disney classics. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a respite from other books and who want to read something short and sweet.  

Find it on Goodreads

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