Alex Flinn
HarperTeen, 2007

In my ongoing quest to read 'Beauty and the Beast' variations, I picked up Alex Flinn's Beastly - which has also just released as a movie. I've seen this one on the library shelves for years, but for reasons unknown never picked it up - I may have passed on it this time, except when I was flipping through the pages I saw the line "It's hard to meet girls when you look like Chewbacca" and cracked up. At that moment, I knew I had to read this!

Beastly is a modern 'Beauty and the Beast' - a popular guy with a rotten attitude becomes the beast and must learn to love and be loved in his beastly state, all in New York City. Since my other 'Beauty and the Beast' reads have been set in a sort of timeless fantasy realm, this was a different sort of read - modern thoughts and conveniences, the whole urban setting and dealing with the beast-ness in that context. It was fun, different than I expected - but a good different. Flinn did a wonderful job of developing and growing Kyle from the annoyingly-snobbish kid at the beginning to a thoughtful, selfless hero at the end. I liked getting to see the transformation take place - the story is focused on Kyle's perspective, on his experience(s) - this is 'Beauty and the Beast' through the Beast's eyes.

It's a fast-read, I read it over 2 days' lunch, and finished up while making a gallon of sweet tea and thawing spaghetti sauce. And while it's not an engrossing read that sucks you in and won't let you go, it's not purely fluff either. It's one of those happy-balance books that you know where it's going -- because you know the story it's telling -- but it's fresh enough that you don't feel like you're rereading the same old story. The characters are well-developed, and there are subtle, interesting twists tossed into the mix here and there. Now that I've read Beastly, I'm wanting to see Beastly - find out what they change, how they make it work. And, of course, find my next 'Beauty and the Beast' read ...

Book provided by my local library.

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