Maybe we judge people too much by their looks because it’s easier than seeing what’s really important” – Beastly, Alex Flinn
First Impressions: This modern-day love story is based on the story of Beauty and the Beast… with a twist. It is told through the “beast’s” point of view.
Kyle Kingsbury has it all. The looks, the fame, and the fortune. But on the inside, he is perfectly beastly. When he decides to play a cruel trick on a loner girl in his class, Kyle’s life begins to spin out of control. Kyle gets transformed into a beast with the condition that he must find someone to love him or he will remain a beast… forever…
About the Book
Author: Alex Flinn
Series: The Kendra Chronicles: Beastly (book #1), Lindy’s Diary (book # 1.5) Betwitching (book #2), Mirrored (book #3), Beheld (book #4)
Movie adaptation: Beastly (2011) starring Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens
Year Published: 2007
Genres: Young adult fiction, fiction, romance, fairy-tale adaptation, Beauty and the Beast adaptation, fantasy
The story begins with a teenage boy named Kyle who thinks that he is God’s gift to the world. He is rich and handsome, and he knows it. At first Kyle’s arrogant attitude seems to be way to hard to believe… that is until I remember that there actually are people like that (how unfortunate is that?!). The only way for Kyle to realize that he is a super obnoxious jerk is to be transformed into a beast by a witch. The novel’s description is a bit hard to conceptualize, but just imagine lots of fur, claws, and fangs. Doesn’t it sound charming?
Not only is Kyle turned into a beast so that his outer “beauty” reflects his inner hideousness, he is given a task. He has two years to find someone to love him or he will stay a beast forever. Faced with utter hopelessness, Kyle lets the first year go by without action. He is radically changed. If there was a prequel to this novel where Kyle was his usual obnoxious self throughout the entire novel, I wouldn’t bother to finish it. Luckily, Kyle becomes just your run-of-the-mill angst-filled teenager after he becomes a beast.
The story of Beauty and the Beast has been retold many many many many many many times. There is something that keeps readers drawn to this timeless classic over and over again. Mind you, some adaptations fail miserably. Beastly is a balance between the classic story without being overly familiar. As the novel is told only through Kyle’s point of view (which is rare for a Beauty and the Beast adaptation), it is almost as if you are hearing the story for the first time. Suddenly you begin to understand why the beast is always cold and distant when beauty first meets him. After all, if you were once human, and then transformed into a hideous monster, and then told that you have to get someone to fall in love with you, wouldn’t you be stressed too?
Another perk that comes with the story told through Kyle’s perspective is that you get to witness his transformation first-hand. Stories that are told through beauty’s perspective are severely limited. Basically, in beauty’s eyes, the beast goes from aloof and ill-mannered, to kind and caring, and that’s it. In reality, the beast transforms from arrogant and selfish, to a period of self-loathing and self-doubt, to a period of realization, and then transformation into a kind and caring person.
Beastly’s beauty is a bookish nerd girl named Lindy. Unlike the original Beauty and the Beast where beauty never knew the beast when he was human, Lindy and Kyle know each other. Of course, when Lindy is sent to live with Kyle, she does not recognize him (too much hair?). As a character, Lindy does not have very much depth in comparison to Kyle. Her character is a little too predictable, but not unlikable. Maybe Alex Flinn wrote her that way in order to make her seem relatable. However, I would have enjoyed a little more backstory than what was given.
This book is the first in a series of 5 books (so far). However, it the other books are about the witch instead of being a continuation of Kyle’s story. There is a prequel to Beastly called Lindy’s Diary which is told through Lindy’s perspective.
Overall, this is a great adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. It is a perfect novel to read around Valentine’s Day!
Final rating: A-
Until next time,