Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beastly by Alex Flinn

The popular boy at school, the good-looking, rich boy that every girl is in love with, the conceited jerk that is cruel to everyone he deems unworthy- that is Kyle Kingsbury.  And one step too far demeaning Kendra in class sentences him to two years living as a beast.  He has two years to fall in love and to convince someone to fall in love with him.  If he fails, he will never be changed back to his former self.  Beastly by Alex Flinn is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in high school. 
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this book.  Often I am disappointed with YA Fiction and it's inability to reach deeper levels, but this one was just what I had hoped it would be.  Granted, it was a fast, light read, but it was just want I needed at the time. 
Kyle is a horrible person, but he's been given the chance to become someone better.  Of course he doesn't see it as an opportunity at first, but as he grows, he learns.  I don't worry about giving away any spoilers.  We all know this story, but it is the details that make it fun.  I like the way Flinn arranged for Lindy (Belle, for those thinking of the Disney version of this story) to come and live with Kyle.  I like that she still made her a big reader.  You know how I love Smart Girls that Read.  And Lindy's favorite book is Jane Eyre !  And I also enjoyed the way she wrote the witch that cast the curse on Kyle.  She actually makes the witch an active part of the story. 
Included in the version that I read was Lindy's Diary, the story told from Lindy's point of view. 
Usually I enjoy extras, deleted scenes and different points of view, but this one seemed a little forced.  The reader does gain a few insights into the story, but it just felt a little silly.  One quote I did enjoy:
"I don't like to think I can be bought, but if I could, this guy definitely knew the currency.  Roses and books- I could survive in these rooms forever."
I also watched the film based on the book.

By and large, this was not a great movie.  It was made for teenagers and it was even sappier than the book.  It had a lot of changes from the book.  I did like the way the filmmakers interpreted the beast's appearance.  Rather than looking like a bear/wolf/monster, Kyle skin looks as though his veins are on the outside of his skin and like his face has been slashed multiple times.  Also, his eyebrows read "Embrace the Suck" if you look closely enough.  And Mary-Kate Olsen as the witch was fantastic.  This is a great book/movie combo if you are in need of a break.  I really did like the book.

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