Book Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

beastlyTitle: Beastly
Author: Alex Flinn
Genre: YA fairy tale fantasy
Publisher: Harper Teen
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: I could feel everyone looking at me, but I was used to it.

alexI came across this book in a round-about way. The other day, my kids and I watched Stormbreaker, the movie based on the Alex Rider series of books. My boys loved the spy stuff; my 13-year-old daughter, Natalie, loved the star, Alex Pettyfer. (On a completely random note, I think he would be perfect to play Jace in the City of Bones movie.) Natalie checked out his Wikipedia page, and discovered that young Mr. Pettyfer is starring in a movie adaptation of the book Beastly by Alex Flinn. She borrowed the book from the library and read it in a few days, then said, “Mom, you HAVE to read this – it’s soooooo good.”

And she was right – it is soooooo good. Beastly is a modern day retelling of the fairytale “Beauty and the Beast.” Kyle Kingsbury is a sixteen-year-old at a private high school. He’s everything that every girl wants, and every guy wants to be: rich, gorgeous, charismatic. When he plays a nasty prank on an ugly girl at school, he gets the shock of a lifetime when he discovers that she is a witch. She puts a curse on him, making him as beastly on the outside as he is on the inside. He has two years to break the curse, two years in which he must find a girl who will look beyond his horrible exterior and love him.

Alex Flinn has taken the typical tale we all know so well, and peopled it with wonderful characters and the story of a shallow young man finding out that there is more to life than beauty and money, that there is value in kindness and intelligence and self-sacrifice. Kyle’s transformation goes so much deeper than his change on the outside. He is helped along the path by his blind tutor, Will (to be played by the fantastic Neil Patrick Harris in the film), and his housekeeper, Magda. They show him how to love unconditionally, how to become a person that a girl may find worthy of love.

Even though the story was predictable – how could it not be? – I was turning the pages faster and faster as I came to the end. This is a wonderful re-imagining of a tale that has much to teach us about what true beauty is.

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29 Responses to Book Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

  1. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)
    Twitter: SavvyVerseWit
    says:

    I used to love Beauty and the Beast as a kid…this sounds like a great new rendition.
    .-= Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)´s last blog ..The Writing Space of Nafisa Haji, Author of The Writing on my Forehead =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Serena – if you love Beauty and the Beast, you should definitely give this one a try.

  2. I love that your daughter is recommending books to you!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – I know, it’s been a lot of fun as she’s gotten older to swap titles.

  3. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I love the Beauty & and the Beast concept. Lots of good messages! I will have to look up this book for my daughter, so we will be ready when the movie comes out. Boy that guy sure is cute!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Maui #1 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – yes, we are definitely excited about the movie! And I have to say, it was very nice to read a YA title that didn’t have a cliff-hanger or leave me waiting for the next book to come out.

  4. Ladybug says:

    Books can be great even if they are predictable =D And this one sounds like a great and predictable read. Thank you for the lovely review. Also I have to say that I have no problem with understanding that your 13 year old thought Alex Pettyfer was good looking!
    .-= Ladybug´s last blog ..Every Little Thing in the World – Waiting on Wednesday =-.

  5. heidenkind says:

    This book was just okay for me. I did enjoy reading it, but I didn’t really buy the fact that Kyle had reformed at the end–my parents would have made me go to school even if I was cursed into hideousness. Just sayin’–he seemed to have it pretty easy.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Novels & Gender =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Tasha – but his dad was more concerned with the personal embarrassment to himself – he wanted him out of school and out of society so that no one knew that he had a less than perfect son. But yeah – it would have been a completely different book if he had still had to go to school.

  6. Kailana says:

    I am curious about this book. It looks interesting! If I read it, though, it will probably be through the library.
    .-= Kailana´s last blog ..New Books! Yay! =-.

  7. Trisha
    Twitter: Trish422
    says:

    This sounds absolutely perfect for the Read the Book, See the Movie challenge! On a side note, what is up with that cover? Is it just me or are all YAL book covers copies of each other?
    .-= Trisha´s last blog ..Book Review: A Room of One’s Own =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Trisha – I thought that, too! I hope the movie comes to our little town.

  8. Bella says:

    I’ve heard a lot of great things about Beastly and I keep meaning to check it out. Great review Carrie. I definitely have to move it to the top of my wishlist.

  9. Ah! You answered me question on your Tuesday Teaser post. :-) I am glad you enjoyed this one, Carrie!
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..Review: A Deadly Paradise by Grace Brophy =-.

  10. Alita says:

    I’m adding this to my to-read list right now! I definitely need to read it before the movie comes out.

    And how fun that your daughter is recommending books to you :)
    .-= Alita´s last blog ..Quick Thoughts: Two Books of Fives =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Alita – yes, since I discovered YA, we’ve been passing books back and forth left and right!

  11. Jennifer says:

    I want to read this! I love love love Beauty and the Beast so much. I’m definitely going to pick this up (and see the movie too when it comes out!) Thanks so much for this review and bringing this to my attention. Now that I know about it, I will not miss out!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Review: Alice in Wonderland =-.

  12. Miss Remmers says:

    I’m so looking forward to reading this! I’m glad you enjoyed the book and I’m also excited for the movie (I didn’t know there was one until I read your post!)
    .-= Miss Remmers´s last blog ..It’s Monday 3.15.10 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Miss Remmers – my daughter is counting down the days for the movie!

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