Beast

( 5 )

Overview

In the caged depths of an urban reservoir lives a monstrous creature. Its existence is unknown to anyone except the teenage boy who feeds it. Six years ago it was a vicious little baby, now it has grown enormous, and its rusting pen can't hold it much longer. Stephen has kept the Beast a secret against all the odds. He's got other painful secrets - like why he never sees his mother, or mentions his brother Selby, and wishes his father was dead. Stephen's life in foster care, always bad, is getting worse, and he's...

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Beast

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Overview

In the caged depths of an urban reservoir lives a monstrous creature. Its existence is unknown to anyone except the teenage boy who feeds it. Six years ago it was a vicious little baby, now it has grown enormous, and its rusting pen can't hold it much longer. Stephen has kept the Beast a secret against all the odds. He's got other painful secrets - like why he never sees his mother, or mentions his brother Selby, and wishes his father was dead. Stephen's life in foster care, always bad, is getting worse, and he's not a boy who plays by the rules. But his extraordinary efforts to free himself of the Beast make him a hero that listeners will never forget.

This thrilling teenage novel, which presents physical and psychological danger with masterful skill, and human relationships with warmth and wit, launches the career of an outstanding new writer.

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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781743139677
  • Publisher: Bolinda Audio
  • Publication date: 9/24/2012
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


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

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 20, 2010

    The Beast

    The Beast by Kennen, Ally is something to be read for if you like science fiction. The Beast is a great book with a really good story that will make you wanting to keep on reading it. Stephen has been sent to foster care ever since he was little. Stephen had finally started getting use to the family but now he is almost eighteen and is now at the age limit. Now that he is leaving his foster house he needs to think of what to do with his biggest problem. His beast, which is a twelve foot long crocodile, that he has been raising up ever since it was little. Lying to his whole family that his beast had died, it is now locked up behind the reservoir in a cage, with little water and rusty bars that look like it will break anytime. Stephen has been buying food for it ever since and now he is low on money. As time goes by it grow hungrier and hungrier. If Stephen goes back to the cage all that separates Stephen and his crocodile is those rusty bars left. What do you think Stephen should do with his crocodile? Or will Stephen even be able to do anything to his beast.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    If you like the Sci-fi channel offered by your local cable company, you will want to read BEAST by Ally Kennen. Its mysterious beginning will grab your attention, and the rest of the book will have you on the edge of your seat. <BR/><BR/>Stephen has been living in foster homes for years. The family he has been with the past four years hasn't been half bad, but he's reached the age limit for foster care and is about to be sent packing. He's got to get packed, find a decent job, and if that's not enough, he needs to take care of a "little" problem he's been dealing with for years. <BR/><BR/>It's the Beast - a twelve-foot crocodile he's raised from a baby. His father gave it to him six years ago for his birthday. No one knows the thing is still alive. Stephen has been keeping it in a watery cage near the local reservoir. Now that he is leaving his foster home, he's got to do something with the Beast. Its cage is becoming dangerously unsafe and finding food is an increasing problem. What can he do? Should he let someone else know about the creature? Can anyone else even help? <BR/><BR/>Kennen's early chapters leave room for speculation that soon change to a frantic, desperate tone. BEAST contains the stuff of nightmares and is sure to entertain even the most reluctant reader.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2007

    a reviewer

    If you like the Sci-fi channel offered by your local cable company, you will want to read BEAST by Ally Kennen. Its mysterious beginning will grab your attention, and the rest of the book will have you on the edge of your seat. Stephen has been living in foster homes for years. The family he has been with the past four years hasn't been half bad, but he's reached the age limit for foster care and is about to be sent packing. He's got to get packed, find a decent job, and if that's not enough, he needs to take care of a 'little' problem he's been dealing with for years. It's the Beast - a twelve-foot crocodile he's raised from a baby. His father gave it to him six years ago for his birthday. No one knows the thing is still alive. Stephen has been keeping it in a watery cage near the local reservoir. Now that he is leaving his foster home, he's got to do something with the Beast. Its cage is becoming dangerously unsafe and finding food is an increasing problem. What can he do? Should he let someone else know about the creature? Can anyone else even help? Kennen¿s early chapters leave room for speculation that soon change to a frantic, desperate tone. BEAST contains the stuff of nightmares and is sure to entertain even the most reluctant reader. **Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka 'Readingjunky'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2007

    great story

    The characters were amazing and unique. I loved Stephen and Eric... definitely recommended

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    this book is so suspensful

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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