by Flinn, Alex

A modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" from the point of view of the Beast, a vain Manhattan private school student who is turned into a monster and must find true love before he can return to his human form.

In this unusual foray into fantasy by an author best known for gritty realism, a wealthy, narcissistic ninth-grader, Kyle, plans a mean trick right out of Stephen King's Carrie; less than 24 hours later, he has been transformed by his victim (an undercover witch) into a hairy beast and given two years to break the spell. The remainder of Flinn's Beauty and the Beast retelling chronicles Kyle's redemption from his own, rapidly evolving point of view, culminating in his sensitively forged relationship with houseguest-hostage Lindy, whose presence in the beast's Brooklyn mansion is explained in a manner befitting the contemporary setting. Flinn's storytelling is least convincing whenever the reality beyond the mansion intrudes, with comic chat-room interludes seeming especially jarring. Some readers may also question why a public outburst of violence committed by Kyle has no consequences. But through her character's psychological transformation, Flinn finds ways to address some larger, painful truths about male adolescence, making this a rare fairy-tale-inspired novel with equally strong appeal for boys and girls. Copyright 2008 Booklist 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) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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