Magic, Popularity, and Roses REVIEWING Beastly

So here is an actual, legitimate review post for y'all, since I had some fun earlier with the first one I put up. 


Author: Alex Flinn
Genre: YA Fantasy
Year: 2007


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. 


So this book definitely isn't a new one by any means. It has been out for over ten years, now, but when has any publishing year ever gotten in the way of a review here? I really enjoy keeping a variety of things moving through here in case anyone missed a book when it came out, or hasn't heard of something I've read that they may be interested in. 

This is actually my second time reading this book. I first read it in 2014, but did not write a post for it. Recently, my younger sister decided to read it and then said I should write a review on it. However, being six years out from my last reading, I needed to actually read it again, in order to do it. we are. 

Beastly is the story of a teenage boy who has it all. His dad is a popular news anchor in New York City, he has the hottest girlfriend in his private school, and he himself, is incredibly popular. He has no worries at all. Until Kendra, an undercover witch, decides that his inner self is ugly and requires a magic curse. This is ultimately, a contemporary YA retelling of the popular fairytale Beauty and the Beast. As such, the story is one that most of us are familiar with. Interestingly, this story is told from the Beast's perspective. We get to see the confusion faced by the "beauty" of this story, Lindy, but mainly we see the struggles faced by Kyle, our "beast". 


Kyle is the main character. He's supposed to be hot, popular, and the guy everyone wants. Up until he is turned into a beast. Then, his girlfriend wants nothing to do with him, his friends turn out to not be his friends, his relationship with his father becomes even more strained, and his whole life has to undergo a change. He's generally a jerk, but that's the point. I think he had a really good progression through the story. 

Lindy is the romantic lead of the story. She is basically a nobody. She attends the same school as Kyle, but on a scholarship. Nobody really notices her, except maybe once Kyle did, accidentally. Her father is a drugee who has a run-in with Kyle, which leads to a domino effect on Lindy's life, making it come to an intersection point with Kyle's. I liked Lindy quite a bit, and while she isn't a super strong character from a stereotypical standpoint, she has a quiet strength and level of perseverance within herself. 

Kendra is a witch that is in the story a few times. She sets the story rolling by changing Kyle into a beast and occasionally she pops in with some commentary or advice for Kyle. She plays a very low key role for the most part, but she definitely has her way of getting involved as the story unfolds. Kendra is kind of aloof and distant, but she is very important (as one would think since this is actually the first book in the "Kendra Chronicles").   

Will is Kyle's tutor, who is hired largely because he is blind. He is unable to see Kyle, so he has no problems in tutoring him. Will is one of Kyle's only contacts after his transformation and really becomes a sort of mentor guiding Kyle along to being a better person. 

Magda is the housekeeper for Kyle and his dad before Kyle's transformation. She also goes to live with Kyle and Will when Kyle's dad moves Kyle to a new place. Mr. Kingsbury does not live with Kyle, so Magda and Will generally become his new family. 

The Story

This one is simple and straightforward. It's contemporary Beauty and the Beast. Kyle is a jerk, he turns into a beast to learn his lesson. He has to quit school and go into isolation with just his tutor and housekeeper for company. Lindy has a rough life and she helps him as he tries to help her when her life gets turned around too. There aren't any huge twists, there aren't any major differences from the original story apart from the changes made to make it have a present day setting, so there is nothing too new here. It isn't groundbreaking, but it also isn't bad. It's a light read as you watch a couple teenagers figure out their lives and contend with a curse that forces you to find beauty within instead of just outside. It's simple, generally romantic, full of a bit of teen angst and perception. The progression of the story is pretty natural and the pacing is good. I had no problems getting through it either time I read it. The only bonus detail I like and want to note, is that Kyle is also involved in an online chat with other fairytale figures that become familiar as we learn their stories. This isn't used a whole lot, but when it is used, I was very interested in it. I'd really actually like to see more books done of their stories (if they've not been done already), instead of just getting the truncated-Kyle-POV version of them. 

Concluding Thoughts 

Beastly is a decently quick and light read. It isn't emotionally deep or highly innovative for the genre, but its enjoyable. If you just want a light, fairytale retelling, then this is a pretty good one to read. The characters have solid progression and there are some tiny twists involving them that make things interesting. I think this one might also be interesting right now since the main character lives in isolation and has to make the best of it, kind of similar to how a lot of us are having to do things right now, for different reasons. Maybe by the end of this, we will also have a different appreciation and outlook on the world around us. 

I give Beastly a Lone Star rating of ✯✯, because I'm a sucker for light, fun fairytale retellings. My personal enjoyment of it was a 5, but I recognize that this won't be a MUST READ for everyone and at its bare bones, it is probably about a 3.5 - 4. 

Thanks for reading! See y'all at the next review!