Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: Beastly, by Alex Flinn

I very much enjoyed the Beast’s perspective in Beastly. It was easy to get wrapped up in the story.

Alex Flinn has written a modern day take on the classic Beauty and the Beast story. Our beast, Kyle Kingsbury, is your typical handsome, jerky, high school jock. He makes fun of anyone who he deems less than him. His father is a famous news anchor, he attends a prestigious private school, and of course, he dates the prettiest girl at the school. So, a witch curses him and turns him into a beast.  You know the rest of the story. But the basic story gets some updating, some details, and a little extra power, being told from the Beast’s point of view.

I mostly enjoyed this book except for the chat room segments. Flinn changes the perspective of the book once in a while, by giving us the dialog of a chat room that Beast participates in, along with SilentMaid (the Little Mermaid), Froggie (the frog prince), Grizzlyguy (a man turned into a bear), and a few other characters. This really shattered the mood of the Beast story. It seemed cheesy and stupid. If the book didn’t have those parts, it would have been much better.

The book is entertaining and well-written. The people that help Kyle, Will and Magda, are lovable characters that become integral to Kyle’s growth. The message that we need to look deeper than surface beauty when we evaluate our relationships comes through loud and clear. I think teens that like fairy tale retellings will enjoy this one. They probably won’t mind the chat room as much as I did, since that’s part of their own daily lives. There is a movie based on this book, but I haven’t seen it.

I listened to this audio book and thought the narrator, Chris Patton, did a great job. He changed voices appropriately but didn’t overpower the story with too much emotion.  I’ve posted about the Illinois’ Abraham Lincoln High School Book Award previously. This book is one of the 2012 nominated titles, and that’s why I read it. 

Published by HarperTeen, 2007, audio by Brilliance Audio
Free audio book obtained from SYNC.
320 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. I've had this book on my shelf for a while and I want to read it before I see the movie.

    Sometimes I like when the author includes extra info like letters, discussions, etc. but sometimes it does seem to interrupt the story. It's too bad to hear this was the latter.

  2. I enjoy modern takes on classic fairy tales, but I was not sure about this book due to the extreme reviews I had read. I might give it a try since you say it's entertaining. Thanks for the review!

  3. The movie version doesn't have the chat room parts. I also liked the way Alex P played Kyle. I thought he did a nice job. It was nice getting the beast's perspective in this book, since usually we're always seeing these stories through the girls' eyes.

  4. I didn't LOVE this one, the way I do a lot of fairy tale retellings, but I did really enjoy it, mostly I think because it was told by the beast. I mention this in my review of this book, but this fairy tale has always seemed to be about Belle learning to look beneath the surface & love a beast. BUT the beast is the one being punished... So why is it Belle that needs to learn a lesson?! Makes no sense... I'm SO glad that this book shows that the beast learns a lot through the experience also. I thought it was a very strong point in this book.

  5. I love retellings of fairy tales and I was not surprised to find that I loved Alex Flinn's BEASTLY. This is a beautifully written story with a twist of modern times. Flinn kept the heart of the old fairy tale while injecting it with a fresh feeling. I especially enjoyed the author's note and will seek out the other fairy tale books that were mentioned.
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