Flinn, Alex. Beastly. New York: Harper Teen, 2007.
Author: Alex Flinn
Reviewed by: Khadija Bernaz
Recommendation: High School
A Twisted Fairytale: Beastly by Alex Flinn
Alex Flinn, author of the uncanny book Beastly, presented an abstract idea on a classic fairytale we all know and love, Beauty and the Beast. Flinn attempted to merge the old with new and create a story that was well rounded to our modern times. Set in modern-day New York City, Flinn researched many versions of the Beauty and the Beast and finally settled on a playful, romantic, yet artistic view all from the beast’s point of view.
The story is focused on the main character, Kyle Kingsbury, who is best interpreted as “perfect”. Kyle is tall, blonde, rich, and handsome. He is the most popular guy in school and dates the hottest girls. Needless to say, he was untouchable. A little way around, a peculiar witch, Kendra, takes his life by surprise and curses him with an unlikely spell. Luckily, Kendra did not see Kyle for who he was on the outside, but rather in the inside. No beauty could cover up the cold and selfish creature that Kyle was. Perfect became far unrealistic for Kyle, even his own father could not bear to look at him. He was beast, inside and out. Fortunately, with every curse, there is a break. However, it’s up to Kyle to overlook his disgust and find the beauty that is inside him.
Although Beastly was a modern-day telling of “Beauty and the Beast” in the young adult world, it did not stray off from the original fairytale. It was fun and playful, with some modern humor. The one thing I loved was Flinn’s idea of the Beast using an internet chat room to talk to people of the outside world. It threw in an interconnecting fairy tale theme in such a modern way and I loved it. Even though it’s another retelling of an age-old story, I still enjoyed the read. Alex Flinn truly captures what it is that draws us to the classic fairy tales, and I enjoyed that this told the side of Beast. It is a great Sunday read for young adults.
Interview with the author