29 January 2009

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Kyle is your average teenager. Okay, well, maybe he’s a little bit above average. Or, if you ask him, a lot above average – in the looks department, anyway. And in the getting-girls-to-like-you department, and pretty much in the getting-everyone-to-like-you department. Kyle figures he has it all: he’s dating the hottest girl at their super-elite NYC high school, he’s just been nominated for Spring Dance Court (at which he’ll obviously be crowned), and his dad, a big-time news reporter, has more money than he (Kyle) knows how to spend. It’s just that Kyle isn’t necessarily the nicest guy in the world, and when he sets up a fellow student, Kendra, to make a fool of her, she knows that she’ll have to teach him a lesson. Beastly is a very strict retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it never seems to stray from the mind of a true-to-life teenage boy. When Kyle is transformed into a beast (no, really), and his dad can’t fix it for him, he is basically sent into hiding, with only the company of the family maid, Magda, and his blind tutor, Will. Through a series of well-known events, Lindy comes into his life. Now, all Kyle needs to do is make Lindy fall in love with him and get her to kiss him before the two-year deadline. It’s not as easy as it seems, but like all successful fairy tales, how well the lesson is learned by the end of the story is what determines the final happiness of the story characters.

Fans of retold fairy tales will eat this up; for a completely different perspective, try pairing it with Donna Jo Napoli’s Beast.

Recommended for high school readers.
Call number: YA FLINN (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian

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