Beast by Ally Kennen, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Beast

Beast

4.6 5
by Ally Kennen
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Stephen hasn't had it easy. He's now in foster care because his mom is crazy and his dad is an ex-con vagabond. He's always in trouble or on his way to trouble. But none of these problems compare to the problem of The Beast -- a fierce crocodile that Stephen's been taking care of for years. The Beast is Stephen's biggest secret -- and also his biggest challenge. And

Overview

Stephen hasn't had it easy. He's now in foster care because his mom is crazy and his dad is an ex-con vagabond. He's always in trouble or on his way to trouble. But none of these problems compare to the problem of The Beast -- a fierce crocodile that Stephen's been taking care of for years. The Beast is Stephen's biggest secret -- and also his biggest challenge. And that's when it's in a cage. When the Beast escapes, the stakes get even higher. With a keen eye and a startling voice, Ally Kennen joins the ranks of Kevin Brooks and Chris Wooding on the cutting edge of YA fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kelly Grebinoski
Sometimes when you think you have it bad, you really do not. Bullying, theft, slaughter, trespassing, emotional cruelty, arson, perversion, deception, biohazard sabotage, and soon-to-be murder are the experiences of seventeen-year-old Steven. He is in a foster home known as the Looked-after Child. He lives with the Reynolds family, and he is doing everything he can to keep a secret. His mother is crazy and his dad is in prison. Jimmy, the foster dad, thinks that Steven has a drug problem. He leaves pamphlets for Steven to look at because he cannot figure out what he spends his money on. If he only knew that Steven has to buy a bloody pig a month to feed the beast. How does he keep this secret from his family? The Reynolds' daughter, Carol, age fifteen, is the daughter of Satan. She got Steven in trouble as soon as he moved in three years ago. Now she notices blood on his neck. What else does she notice? If the beast does not eat him, this secret of deception will. Will it be satisfied before he commits murder?
VOYA - Laura Woodruff
What if one is seventeen years old and the secret owner of a twelve-foot crocodile? Suppose that the setting is England, a climate too cold for this reptile? What if one is a ward of the state, child of an insane mother and a convict father, living with a foster family? These are dilemmas that Stephen plans to begin to solve by shooting the beast. His decision requires going to his father to get a gun, a mistake that opens the door to a long series of intricately chronicled mishaps. Close brushes with the law, betrayals of adults who try to help him, and a romantic connection with his foster sister are described in a short-sentenced, stream-of-consciousness that is frequently punctuated with bloody and filthy crocodile encounters. The novel is a bottom-feeder adventure story on several levels. This first novel by a young British author with prior careers as varied as archaeologist and professional singer shows promise. Despite redundancy, a lagging plot, and sketchy minor character development, the voice of Stephen rings true and captures the reader. British colloquialisms are not too obtrusive. Young readers, especially boys, will probably enjoy this easy-to-read book.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Stephen, a British 17-year-old, has been in and out of trouble with the law and with his various foster families since he was 7. He is gearing up for what he expects to be his worst crime yet: murder. In a fast-moving, first-person narration, he reveals that his plans aren't to kill another human-he intends to kill a beast that has been plaguing him for six years. Bit by bit, in hinted details and promises that explanations will come later, the teen plots how to rid himself of the huge crocodile his criminal father gave him without letting his foster family in on the secret. The situation soon spirals out of control, and Stephen must allow himself to trust others with his secret to rid himself of the Beast. Kennen tells the story predominantly in the present tense, and even Stephen's flashbacks, told in past tense, serve to propel the story forward. Though the characters travel from crisis to solution over the course of the novel, there is less growth than revelation about who they are under the facades they show the world. Despite its somewhat urban setting, this is the sort of story that Jack London might have written if he'd crafted tales for hip modern teens. Facts about the crocodile are naturally introduced through Stephen's commentary and dialogue with others. Some reluctant readers may stumble over Briticisms; others will be drawn in by the quick pacing and authentic voice.-Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Stephen has problems. Once again he is about to be kicked out of a foster home. His homeless father shows up demanding money, and Stephen, an experienced thief, is arrested for arson. And oh, yes, the British teen also decides he must kill his "pet" crocodile. Once a cute birthday present from his dad, the monster has grown to over 12 feet long. Captive in an iron cage near the local reservoir's shore, the beast survives on the butchered goats and chickens Stephen drags to the pen. Visits to the croc's iron lair offer tense can't-take-your-eyes-from-impending-disaster moments. These encounters are the best scenes. Stephen's inner turmoil differs from other young adult literary characters because, not only is he angry and frustrated with life, but he also has access to a reptilian killing machine. Non-mainstream British slang (offy, a right knob, knackers) and several undeveloped subplots distract from the tale. On the other hand, dark humor, occasional toe-curling danger and Stephen's bizarre dilemma may keep the pages turning. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439951043
Publisher:
Gardners Books
Publication date:
06/19/2006

Meet the Author


Beast is Ally Kennen's first novel. She lives and works in the UK.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >