Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Saturday, December 28, 2013

Plot Summary:
Kyle Kingsbury is not only beautiful, he is rich. Kyle was raised with the best that money can by and was always told that if you give something, always expect something in return. In other words, Kyle is a spoiled rotten brat who has no consideration, or feelings, for his peers. In fact, if one is not beautiful, or rich, then he or she would never be apart of his circle, nor will he acknowledge the existence of that person. Unfortunately, Kyle is cursed because of his vanity and cruelty and has two years to break this spell. The only problem with this "cure" is that he has to fall in love and the girl must reciprocate those feelings. For Kyle, this is a huge problem because he is not sure that he can feel and he is adamant that a girl could never love a monster.When doctors couldn't figure out a way to heal Kyle, his father, who is ashamed to have such an ugly son, is hidden away and is forced to finish out his schooling under house arrest. With no one to talk to Kyle has joined a chat group where other people, like him, are in a situation they don't want to be. After moving into a new apartment (without his father), Kyle realizes the seriousness of this curse and that his own father wants nothing to with him. Angry, and afraid, Kyle demands that his father provides hime with a few things that will keep the loneliness at bay, which is an internet connection and a tutor. When Will, his blind tutor, moves ins, Kyle a lesson two in humility and respect, which brings him to Lindy (the girl who accepted his white rose at the dance). Although Lindy isn't like his former girlfriend, he learns that she is smart, kind, and caring, which is not only beautiful, gorgeous. The question is: will Lindy see the same qualities in him or will be be cursed forever?

Critical Evaluation:
I just love this re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. Alex Flinn  is so ridiculously talented when it comes to writing that readers find it very hard to put her books down. I have yet to read her debut title and it's been interesting to see how her writing has evolved. Kyle is the typical egotistical guy who thinks money and good looks are what will help him succeed in life. Not only is he vain, but cruel, especially when he decides to ditch Kendra at the formal. However, not only does he get the rude awakening he needs, he is forced into a position that will determine the rest of his life, which is quite an ordeal for a clueless teenager. Although he is ready to give up on life, his only chance for happiness relies on a people whom he has never noticed before, nor would ask them for help. For example, he has always been rude and mean towards Magda, but, when he is exiled, it is her goodness that makes him realize how lucky he is to have her. Secondly, when Will, his tutor, plants the rose garden for him, he realizes that even a beast can be surrounded in beauty. Lastly, in one of his rare moments, he showed kindness to Lindy, at the dance before Kendra cursed him, who will eventually be the girl he falls for. Life can definitely throw us curve balls that not only upset the flow of our lives, but show us the harsh reality of the things we don't want to see or recognize. For Kyle, who is wealthy and has never been denied anything, he is now in the very position that he, and his peers at Tuttle, absolutely loathe; ugly people and freaks aren't worth anything. Lindy, however, is poor and her father is a drug addict and they only thing that brings her any kind of solace are her books. Kyle has never had to suffer and this curse is teaching him that life isn't easy, but full of struggles. These two characters compliment each other beautifully because Lindy, who is surrounded by a world ugly, can find beauty in a beast; whereas, Kyle, surrounded by beauty, can only see the ugliness of people. This is such a fun read and I am so glad I re-read it just I can share with all of you! Enjoy!

Information about the Author:
According to her website:
I was born in a log cabin in the Big Woods of . . . okay, maybe not. I was born in a small town on Long Island, New York. When I was five years old, my mom said that I should be an author. I guess I must have nodded or something because, from that point on, every poem I ever wrote in school was submitted to Highlights or Cricket magazine. I was collecting rejection slips at age seven!
I learned to read early and often. But I compensated for this early proficiency by absolutely refusing to read the programmed readers required by the school system — workbooks where you read the story, then answered the questions. When the other kids were on Book 20, I was on Book 1! My teacher, Mrs. Zeiser, told my mother, “Alexandra marches to her own drummer.” I don’t think that was supposed to be a good thing. Now, when my daughter, Katie, brings home FCAT prep materials where you are supposed to read a passage and answer questions, I want to ask the teacher, “Does she really need to do this? She can read!!!”

My family moved to Miami when I was in middle school. I had a really hard time making friends, so I spent a lot of time reading and writing then. But unlike Christopher Paolini or Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, I never finished writing a novel. That was also when I learned to be a keen observer (Picture Harriet the Spy). By high school, I’d made some friends and gotten involved in various “gifted and talented” performing arts programs. I studied opera in college (I’m a coloratura — the really loud, high-pitched sopranos.) and then went to law school.
I started writing an early (and laughable) version of Breathing Underwater in college (I was really bored on a car trip with my parents). I didn’t get back to it until I had my first daughter, Katie. I’m self-taught. I went to the library and took out books on writing. Then, I read a lot of young-adult novels by writers I admired, particularly Richard Peck. Reading his books is like listening to Mozart — you learn the right way to write a novel. Then, you fill in your own style. I actually got to meet Richard Peck in person at a workshop of the Key West Literary Seminar. Lots of writers have been really helpful to me, especially Richard and fellow YA author, Joyce Sweeney.

I write my first drafts longhand. At first, I did that because I didn’t own a computer. Then, I borrowed a memory typewriter and finally purchased a computer three years after I began writing. A year later Breathing Underwater was finished then accepted.
Right now, I live half a mile away from my old middle school, in Palmetto Bay, a suburb of Miami, with my husband, Gene, and daughters, Katie and Meredith.
Teen Romance, Teen Fantasy

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Beastly:
  • Cinder by Marris Meyer
  • East by Edith Pattou

Awards & Recognition:

“Teens will race to see if the beast get his kiss, lifts the curse, and lives happily ever after.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[An] engrossing tale that will have appeal for fans of fantasy and realistic fiction” -- VOYA. (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

“a must-read for fairy-tale fans.” (School Library Journal) 

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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