In anticipation of the Pettyfer-Hudgens adaptation, I borrowed my friend’s copy and read this book in one go. Author Alex Flinn tells the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast but sets it in modern day New York City while incorporating classic magical and Disney elements.
The beast of the novel, Kyle Kingsbury, is a conceited and arrogant teen whose good lucks and wealth make him the king, so to speak, of his school. The girls all fawn over him and the guys want to be him. He crosses paths with a witch, angers her, and gets cursed – you know the drill. The only way to get turned back from being a beast is if someone falls in love with him despite his appearance.
I liked how the novel focuses on the beast’s inner struggle. It was easy for him to act beastly because he was raised that way, yet we see that there was a small part of him that longed to be and do good. It was this tiny part of him that caused him to do one small act of kindness that gave him even a smidgen of a chance of turning to his original form.
I liked how I was able to sympathize with Kyle even during his pre-physical beast transformation. I liked how it was easy to read. I liked how the witch came to sympathize, too, with Kyle and even tried to help him.
I liked the story. It’s not going to win any prestigious awards, but it’s going to win the approval of a lot of young readers out there, I’m sure.