This week’s Throwback Thursday Review is Beastly by Alex Flinn. The book first came out in 2007 and coasted along until the movie adaptation came out in 2011. The movie made $10.1 million in the box office its opening weekend. After the movie release, book sales went up and Beastly skyrocketed to #1 on the New York Times Young Adult Best Sellers list and stayed in the top 10 for a few months. Flinn came out with another version of the novel, Beastly: Lindy’s Diary in 2012. The second novel is the story from another character’s point of view.
Synopsis: Beastly is a retelling of the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, from the point of view of the beast. The novel is set in New York City and it’s about Kyle Kingsbury, a vain and handsome teen who gets cursed by a witch. He has two years* to get someone to fall in love with him for who he truly is on the inside or he will remain a beast forever.
*The movie changes it to a year.
My take (spoilers…duh!): To be honest it’s been a while since I’ve read this book so I’m a little sketchy on the details. But I remember enough to right a half-way decent review. My favorite detail of the book was the chat room portions. Kyle would go onto a chat room with other people who have gone through unexpected changes and it was led by Mr. Anderson. Froggie, SilentMaid, Grizzlyguy, and BeastNYC (aka Kyle) would all talk about their various problems with being cursed. I loved how Flinn was able to fit in all of these little details that would refer to other of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. It also did a good job of breaking down what was going on with Kyle. Another thing I liked about Beastly was Kyle’s character development. Flinn turned this asshole of a character with a fake charming smile into someone who was genuine, kind and for once cared about someone other than himself. Then again if you’re basically being told to change your attitude or stay a glorified werewolf like creature for the rest of your life then yeah, character development is expected. As far as the romance aspect of this story, it was a little lacking. It tried to mimic the slow falling in love through forced kindness and books sequence from Beauty and the Beast and it just didn’t work for me. Maybe because I still feel like a) it’s bestiality and b) I could never fall in love with someone who basically has imprisoned me in their home. That seems like Stockholm’s syndrome to me (I’m so romantic aren’t I?). I don’t know I just felt a little weird about the whole romance but then again I always feel weird about the romance in Beauty and the Beast (it’s one of my favorite Disney movies but still he’s a beast.) I know it’s all about falling in love with what’s on the inside but that doesn’t exactly make it okay for me. I can’t remember enough of the book to see if I took strong offense to its writing, so I won’t comment on it. Overall, I like fairy tale adaptations and I think if you like the show Once Upon a Time or The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, you’ll like Beastly.