Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beastly by Alex Flinn [Book Inspection]

Plot Sketch: Kyle Kingsbury is like the hottest freshman at Tuttle Private School in New York City. He's a shoe-in for prince at the upcoming dance, and all of the girls love him. Problem is, he knows it. After a goth girlie named Kendra with green hair stands up in class and tells everyone that the nominees are bunk because it's all based on looks and not anything of substance, Kyle decides to play a trick on her. During gym class, he decides he'll play humble and ask her to the upcoming dance. What he doesn't tell her is that he plans to still go with Sloane, his hottie of a girlfriend. When Sloane learns of his plans to take Kendra, she is hurt, until she finds out that he's still planning to take her in the limo that his dad, Rob Kingsbury (a hotshot reporter on the evening news), paid for with all of the accoutraments she is accustomed to including the purple orchid corsage. FF to dance night, Kyle finds that Magda, the maid has screwed up and gotten the flower that Kendra asked for instead of the orchid that Sloane requested. Kyle throws a little hissy and decides to take the corsage, a single white rose, with him anyway. Sloane hates it because it's a "cheap" flower. At the dance, Kyle takes pity on the ticket taker girl who thinks the flower is pretty and hands it to her. She loves it and is grateful to Kyle, and Kyle is glad that he can't give it to Sloane now that he's given it away. Then Kendra arrives in her purple and black vintage dress. Not only do they make fun of her, Kyle snubs her, and humiliates her in front of everyone. When he gets home that night, Kendra is waiting in his room. She casts a spell on him to be a beast, but because of the one act of kindness with giving the rose to the ticket-taker, she tells him that if he can find a girl that will fall in love with him in his now ugly disgusting state and kiss him, that he will return to the old Kyle. This is the story of Kyle's desperate quest to become human again.

Verdict: I Heart It!! This was a great modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I appreciated all of the work that Alex Flinn put into making the story a mashup of a lot of different cultures takes on the tale including the one that we all grew up with in Disney, and the Greek myth about Cupid & Psyche. Flinn did her research. I also like that the character, Lindy, who is essentially the Beauty character, is not your typical beauty. This is a very well-written and up-to-date take on the myth. Flinn was careful to include enough technology that it is current, but not so much that it would become obviously outdated in a few years. Her characters are well-developed, but not exactly what you would expect. The book is divided into six parts with 6-8 chapters per part, and I really liked the way it was divided. There were chat room transcripts before each part, but I kind of felt like those didn't resolve at the end of the book, and was wondering about Silent Maid... but otherwise, I thought they were a good addition.

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
New York City, NY, USA

What is the main character's name?
Kyle Kingsbury aka Adrian King

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
Defintely not at first, but as the novel progressed and the character transformed, I really started to love Adrian.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
half a day

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?
Nope

Is this a good read for Monster?
He might like it... I dunno. What floored me though, is that my mom wants to read it, LOL. She's not usually one for fantasy or fairy tales. Maybe I'm rubbing off on her.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
The ending. I need to know what Kyle's life plan is at the ending... how he will maintain his lifestyle. Will he always depend on his father?

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
I have several:

"At Tuttle, we'd treated people bad if they had cheap shoes."

"Commercial airlines are tricky. I don't have a credit card. Apparently paying in cash makes one a security risk."

"But Adrian, sometimes is nice to let her be smart too."

"But finally, I decided something in the room should be pretty, and it wasn't me."

How many chapters were in the book?
38 + epilogue + author's note

Stats:

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: September 23, 2008
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006087418X

Acquire It:


Notes:
  • Visit Alex's website for a some an exerpt and the first chapter of Beastly.
  • Check out Alex's blog.
  • Beastly is gonna be a movie!
  • A little about the upcoming movie...