Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1)

Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1)

4.3 2829
by Alex Flinn
     
 

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A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can

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Overview

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

Editorial Reviews

Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
An] engrossing tale that will have appeal for fans of fantasy and realistic fiction”
Publishers Weekly

Flinn (Diva) delivers a lighthearted and contemporary twist on Beauty and the Beast, and while there is nothing shocking nor any striking departure from the original, her retelling is eminently satisfying. Kyle Kingsbury is a gorgeous high school freshman, spoiled rotten by his famous anchorman father, a man who'd rather dole out cash than affection. Kyle attends the exclusive Tuttle School in New York City and torments those poor unfortunates who lack his looks and wealth. When he humiliates a girl at school, she transforms him into a horrific-looking creature. Kyle's only hope for breaking the spell lies in finding true love-as he reports online in meetings of the Unexpected Changes chat group (other members include Froggie and the mermaid Silent Maid). Flinn follows the fairy tale's original plot points closely, but falters in her depiction of the story's bad guys, over-the-top caricatures that simply ring false in her up-to-date setting. Kyle's father, for example, spends literally three minutes with him each day, the time it takes him to heat his dinner in the microwave. Even so, the happily-ever-after ending is rewarding, if not surprising. Ages 14-up. (Oct.)

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KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2007: In this updated retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," handsome, spoiled 16-year-old Kyle is cursed by a witch for being unkind and selfish. He is turned into a furry, clawed monster, and the witch tells him he has two years to find someone who will love him, despite his looks, or remain a beast forever. Periodic entries from an online chat room for those also afflicted by curses (a frog, a mermaid, etc.) provide some comic relief, but essentially this is a deeply felt version of the familiar tale as Kyle relates his story of transformation: first into a monster, and then into a caring being. His cold, wealthy father hides Kyle away in a mansion in Brooklyn, where a housekeeper and a blind tutor attend him. There he learns to appreciate literature and grow roses, and he kidnaps a lonely classmate with whom he falls in love. Will she learn to love him? The modern-day trappings of this fairy tale may help give it new meaning to YAs. Librarians and teachers might want to point readers to other recent reworkings of the story, such as Donna Jo Napoli's Beast and Robin McKinley's Rose Daughter. It's a departure from Flinn's realistic YA novels (e.g., Diva, Breathing Underwater), but YAs will appreciate her storytelling skills and her flawed but ultimately sympathetic main character. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
For hundreds of year the Beauty and the Beast story has enchanted readers of all ages and cultures. In Beastly Alex Flinn takes readers on a journey into the imagination of the beast who is really a sixteen year old by the name of Kyle Kingsbury. Kyle Kingsbury is popular, handsome, and arrogant at the beginning of the novel; he enjoys a high social status in high school along with wealth and privileges. Yet one day he steps a bit over the line and earns the wrath of a witch who casts a spell on him. Moments later he becomes a beast with claws and hair springing from every pore. Suddenly he is afraid of his own reflection—and that the enchantment will never be broken. Just like in a fairy tale, Kyle has to win the heart of the girl to break the spell. Yet can he do this in modern times in New York City? Or is he doomed to remain a beast forever, even though he has developed kindness and sensitivity in his new form? Readers will enjoy this modern retelling of an old story; Alex Flinn's beastly tale is lively, realistic, and enchanting. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
VOYA - Anita Beaman
The author of Breathing Underwater (HarperCollins, 2001/VOYA June 2001) and Diva (2006/VOYA October 2006), breaks new ground with her first foray into fantasy fiction. It is a tale told and retold many times, but Flinn's rendition of the classic Beauty and the Beast is creative enough to make it an engaging read. Flinn enjoys playing with unexpected narrators in her novels; Breathing Underwater is narrated by an abusive boyfriend, whereas Diva's narrator is his victim. This tale is told by the Beast himself. Kyle Kingsbury, a handsome, selfish young man, judges everyone based on looks. When he intentionally humiliates a strange young woman at the Homecoming Dance, she curses him by taking away his looks and turning him into a frightening manifestation of his beastly inner self. Unable to leave his own house and dismissed by his narcissistic father, Kyle must find a way to live as a Beast until he can break the spell. One kind act has bought him two years to find a girl to love him despite his looks and to learn to love her back. If he cannot, he will remain a Beast forever. The story's Beauty comes into Kyle's life through somewhat contrived circumstances, but she and Kyle are appealing characters who show some genuine growth during the story. Kyle's metamorphosis from arrogant bully to kindhearted gardener could be more unbelievable than his change from boy to beast, but Flinn pulls off both in this engrossing tale that will have appeal for fans of fantasy and realistic fiction.
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up Flinn is known for her gritty novels that openly address serious issues such as peer pressure and domestic abuse. This spin-off of "Beauty and the Beast" is no exception. Kyle Kingsbury is good looking, rich, a ladies man, and one of the most popular students at Tuttle High School. He's the type who everyone wants to be or be around. However, while he might be beautiful on the outside, he is selfish, arrogant, and cruel on the inside. Kendra, an unattractive and unpopular girl who Kyle never noticed before, refers to his behavior as "beastly." To get even with her for that remark, he publicly humiliates her at the school dance, sealing his fate. Later that night, Kendra reveals to Kyle that she is a witch, and that she is going to teach him the most important lesson of his life. The author explores important values through the depiction of Kyle and the people who are there for him (and those who are not) after his transformation. The story is well written and grips readers right from the beginning with an online chat session with Kyle/Beast and other fairy-tale characters. And, since it's told from the Beast's point of view, it will appeal to boys who otherwise might not pick it up. Beastly has romance, true love, tragic circumstances, magic, action adventure, and hope. It's a must-read for all fairy-tale fans, and has a knockout cover to boot.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Cavalier and cruel, Kyle Kingsbury rules as prince of an upper-crust school until he angers the wrong Goth girl, who casts a spell that makes him look as ugly as his inner self. When claws, fur and fangs appear, Kyle is confined to a Brooklyn brownstone, where he grows roses, paws through The Hunchback of Notre Dame and IMs other transformed kids. Flinn's contemporary adaptation of Beauty and the Beast pulls fairy tales and classics like Phantom of the Opera into the context of modern teen life. Kyle's hilarious chat-room sessions most effectively exploit clever convergences of old and new. Chris Anderson moderates (sans Hans), while BeastNYC (Kyle), Froggie (a webbed prince) and SilentMaid (a little mermaid) offer support using the virtual vernacular. Teens will LOL. They will also find their preoccupations with looks, status and pride explored thoroughly. When Lindy, Kyle's Beauty, moves in, much of the interesting adaptive play recedes, but teens will still race to see if the beast gets his kiss, lifts the curse and lives happily ever after. (Fiction. YA)
ALA Booklist
Equally strong appeal for boys and girls.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061998669
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/29/2009
Series:
Kendra Chronicles Series, #1
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
195,156
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Beastly EPB

Chapter One

I could feel everyone looking at me, but I was used to it. One thing my dad taught me early and often was to act like nothing moved me. When you're special, like we were, people were bound to notice.

It was the last month before the end of ninth grade. The substitute teacher was giving out ballots for spring dance court, something I'd normally have thought was lame.

"Hey, Kyle, your name's on this." My friend Trey Parker flicked my arm.

"No duh." When I turned Trey's way, the girl next to him...Anna, or maybe Hannah...looked down. Huh. She'd been staring at me.

I examined the ballot. Not only was my name, Kyle Kingsbury, there for ninth-grade prince, but I was the sure winner. No one could compete with my looks and my dad's cash.

The sub was a new one who might still have been under the mistaken impression that because Tuttle was the type of school that had a salad bar in the cafeteria and offered courses in Mandarin Chinese...i.e., a school where the serious money people in New York sent their kids...we weren't going to bust on him like public school dregs. Big mistake. It wasn't like anything the sub said was going to be on an exam, so we were trying to figure out how to make reading the ballot and scratching in our choices take the entire fifty-minute period. At least most of us were. The rest were texting each other. I watched the ones who were filling out their ballots glancing over at me. I smiled. Someone else might have looked down, trying to act all shy and modest, like they were ashamed of having their name there...but it doesn't make sense to deny the obvious.

"My name's there too." Trey flicked my arm again.

"Hey, watch it!" I rubbed my arm.

"Watch it yourself. You've got this stupid grin on your face like you already won, and now you're giving the paparazzi a chance to snap your picture."

"And that's wrong?" I grinned wider, to bug him, and gave a little wave like people in parades. Someone's camera phone snapped at just that moment, like an exclamation point.

"You shouldn't be allowed to live," Trey said.

"Why, thank you." I thought about voting for Trey, just to be nice. Trey was good for comic relief, but not too gifted in the looks department. His family was nobody special either...his dad was a doctor or something. They might post the vote totals in the school newspaper, and it'd be pretty embarrassing for Trey if he came in last or even didn't get any votes at all.

On the other hand, it would be cool if I got two or three times the votes of the next-closest person. And besides, Trey worshipped me. A real friend would want me to win big. That's another thing my dad always said: "Don't be a sucker, Kyle, and do things out of friendship or love. Because what you always end up finding out is the only one who really loves you is you."

I was seven or eight when he first said that, and I asked, "What about you, Dad?"

"What?"

"You love . . ." Me. "Us. Your family."

He gave me a long look before saying, "That's different, Kyle."

I never asked him again if he loved me. I knew he'd told the truth the first time.

I folded my ballot over, to keep Trey from seeing I'd voted for myself. Of course, I knew he voted for himself too, but that was different.

That's when a voice came from the back of the room.

"This is disgusting!"

We all turned.

"Maybe someone left a booger under her desk," Trey whispered.

"Was it you?" I said.

"I don't do that anymore."

"Disgusting," the voice repeated. I stopped talking to Trey and looked at where the voice was coming from, this Goth freak sitting in back. She was a fat chick, dressed in the kind of flowing black clothes you usually only see on witches or terrorists (we don't have uniforms at Tuttle; it would piss off the parents not to be able to buy Dolce & Gabbana), and her hair was green. Obviously a cry for help. Weird thing was, I'd never noticed her before. Most people here I'd known my whole life.

The sub was too stupid to ignore her. "What's disgusting, Miss . . . Miss . . ."

"Hilferty," she said. "Kendra Hilferty."

"Kendra, is there something wrong with your desk?"

"There is something wrong with this world." She stood like she was making a speech. "Something very wrong when it's the twenty-first century and this type of elitist travesty is still being perpetuated." She held up her ballot. People giggled.

"It's a ninth-grade dance ballot," Trey volunteered. "To choose the royalty."

"Exactly," the girl said. "Who are these people? Why should they be treated as royalty? Based upon . . . what? The people on this ballot were chosen on one basis and one basis only...physical beauty."

"Sounds like a good basis to me," I said to Trey, not too softly. I stood. "That's BS. Everyone voted, and this is who they chose. It's a democratic process."

Around me there were some thumbs-ups, some Yeah, mans, particularly from Anna or Hannah. But I noticed that a lot of people, mostly the ugly people, were silent.

The girl took a few steps toward me. "They're sheep, following the herd. They vote for the so-called popular people because it's simple. Surface beauty: blond hair, blue eyes"...she was looking at me..."is always easy to recognize. But if someone is braver, stronger, smarter, that's harder to see."

She pissed me off, so I jumped on her. "If someone's so smart, they'd figure out how to get better-looking. You could lose weight, get plastic surgery, even get your face scraped and your teeth bleached." I emphasized the you in the sentence, so she'd know I meant her and not just some general sort of you. "My dad's a network news guy. He says people shouldn't have to look at ugly people."

Beastly EPB. Copyright © by Alex Flinn. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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