Beastly

Beastly - Alex Flinn Very interesting take on the traditional "Beauty and the Beast" fairytale, told from the Beast's point of view.

Kyle Kingston is a spoiled, selfish, obnoxious 16 year old who cares only for himself and certainly not for any of the "ugly" people in the world. When he goes out of his way to torment a self-professed witch, she determines to teach him a lesson by turning his outward appearance as beastly and ugly as his true inner self. Kyle is horrified when he grows hair all over his face and body, claws and sharp, vicious teeth. But no matter how he begs or vows to be different, the witch tells him he has two years to find someone who loves him and whom he loves in return or he will remain a beast forever.

Kyle's dad shuttles him off to a New York brownstone, hires a full time maid and a live in tutor who is blind and cannot see that monster that his son has become. Slowly, Kyle begins to change, to see the true beauty that lies in a simple thing like a rose. But as time slips away, he begins to despair that he will ever find someone who might love him for what he now is.

An easy read, this book certainly holds no surprises as far as plot goes. Flynn does a good job modernizing the tale but sticks very close to the Disney version of the fairytale. Kyle's transformation from spoiled brat to caring young man rings true, and by the end you want him to change back to his old, handsome self as he does.

The only thing keeping this from a full star rating is Kyle's initial depiction as a jerk. It is almost over the top it is so extreme. He comes off more like a "Gossip Girls" cartoon character than a true person. By the end of the story, however, he is far more realistic.