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Beastly - Alex Flinn

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Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Author: Alex Flinn / Edition: Reprint / Paperback / Reading Level: Young Adult / 336 Pages / Book is published 2008-12-12 by HarperTeen

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    2 Reviews
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      19.05.2011 11:51
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      Beauty & The Beast in NYC

      Synopsis: Taken from the back of the book
      I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright - a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
      You think I'm talking fairy-tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever - ruined - unless I can break the spell.
      Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night/ I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly...beastly.

      Review:

      Wonderfully humorous and entertaining retelling of a classic fairytale. I giggled out loud from the beginning of this book, much to the disgust of my 4 year old who just could not get why I was laughing at a book. The notion of an online support group for mythical characters is hilarious.

      Written in first person narrative from the point of view of the Beast. Surprisingly easy to relate to in this instance.

      We all know the moral of the story Beauty and the Beast of beauty being on the inside not just the physical manisfestation of it, so it is not a surprise that it should be woven into the plot in Beastly, the surprise occurred with the theme of nature versus nurture interwoven within the main plot give pause for contemplation as to the conflicting arguements of this debate, adding a touching element where I felt sympathy for the Beast.

      My quest for education via osmosis was gratified with the numerous refernces to classic literature and Shakespeare's sonnets. The rose imagery paralleled with the Shakespeare Sonnet quotation was genius. Alex Flinn brings the entire fairytale theme up-to-date with references to the movie The Princess Bride (which I have seen and loved).

      The use of other mythical characters - The Little Mermaid, The Frog Prince, etc via the online support group added a sense of realism to the story.

      A highly recommended entertaining read and a lovely piece of escapism.

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        04.02.2010 23:53
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        Completely different to Beauty

        Kyle Kingsbury was one of the most popular guys in school, possible the most popular. He had everything that any other guy could possibly want, the hot girlfriend, his father is loaded and everyone loves him. Well, mostly everyone. Although Kyle is really popular, he has the attitude that comes with it. He's only nice to the beautiful kids, thinking that anyone who is ugly or fat is stupid for not changing their looks.

        When a weird, fat girl in school tells him how horrible he is, he decides to play a trick on her by asking her to the dance, only to show her up by going with his girlfriend. Sloane, the girlfriend, is the popular, high school bitch who everyone is jealous of. When Kyle brings her the wrong kind of flower to go with her dress, he gives it to the girl selling the tickets, which seems to make her day.

        Later, that girl, Kendra, tells Kyle just how beastly he is and puts a spell on him to turn him into one. He has two years to find true love and be loved back, as the beast. The only thing that Kendra leaves him with is a magical mirror that can show him anyone that he wants to see.

        Kyle's dad is just as shallow as he is and when doctors don't know how to fix the change, he buys a big, five story house in Brooklyn. Kyle and the maid, Magda move into the house without his father. Realising that he really is all alone now with nothing to do, Kyle demands that his father hires a tutor for him. When the tutor arrives and tells Kyle that he is blind, he feels a little bit more at ease. Kyle remembers the lonely ticket sales girl and decides to in look on her in. All she seems to do is study and read and he realises that he might as well make the most of his time alone and better himself by reading. Will, the tutor, also teaches Kyle about gardening and he begins to grow his own roses.

        When someone tries to break into the house and nearly destroys his roses, Kyle wants revenge. The guy was after money to buy drugs with but Kyle makes him a deal, he can either stay now and lose his life or he can bring his daughter in his place. Through the magical mirror, Kyle learns that the daughter is Linda, the ticket sales girl. When she first arrives, she is furious at being a prisoner but she soon realises that she has nothing to be afraid of. Linda begins to take lessons with Kyle and Will and begins to feel more comfortable around him. As the two begin to become friends, he is hoping that she will be the girl to break the spell.

        My Opinion
        This is another of my randomly picked books by Amazon's recommendations and I didn't actually know that it was a version of Beauty and the Beast until it arrived. I've just read Beauty which is the same kind of book so I was a little disappointed that I had bought two very similar books. I was a bit unsure about reading this one but once I got started, I realised that the two were completely different.

        What made this one different from Beauty was the fact that it is set in the present day and has been brought up to date. The books begins in a chat room for people who go through unexpected changes. This is a very modern twist on a classic story which will make it easier for people to relate to. The chat room reappears at different times throughout the story and it gives us a different prospective on the story and how Kyle feels. To begin with, he doesn't want to talk about what has happened to him, he only wants to know about other people going through the same thing. I loved that other characters from different fairy tales turn up in the chat room like The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Frog. I really enjoyed how different characters were all brought together in the same fairy tale that is so well known.

        Kyle's character was developed really well and I enjoyed reading the ways that he changed once he became a beast and not just in the looks department. As soon as the change happens, Kyle realises that no one will ever be able to look at him the same way and they'll probably always be scared of him. His personality changes quite quickly and he realises that he had been wrong to be so mean and hurtful towards anyone who wasn't as fortunate as himself. Although this happened very fast, I think that it happened the right way because I would probably change the way I think if the same thing happened to me.

        I found that Linda wasn't developed enough though. We see a glimpse of how her life was before she was taken to Kyle but don't really know a lot about her. The only changes that her character go through are when she realises that she actually trusts Kyle and wants to be his friend. Kyle isn't a monster so it was only a matter of time for Lindy to come to trust him.

        While we all know how this story ends, this version shows a little more of what happens once the spell is broken. It was nice to see that Kyle's personality changes stayed with him and proved that looks and popularity aren't everything in high school.

        I've just learned that this has been made into a film, to be released in July 2010. Although I am not too sure about the casting, Vanessa Hudgens as Linda, I will still be going to see this as I loved the book so much. Alex Pettyfer will play Kyle, who I am happy to know is British and he played the love interest in Wild Child. Read it before the film comes out.

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