- Virginia Johnson
In Beastly, by Alexandra Flinn, Kyle Kingsbury is the kind of guy who has it all--looks, money, and charm. At his exclusive NYC prep school, of course he's going to be voted homecoming prince. It's a joke that anybody else even has his name on the ballot. Speaking of jokes, there's some new, chubby girl dressed in Goth black who's spent a lot of the morning glaring at him. She even called him beastly. How dare she?
Say, wouldn't it be funny if he asked her to the dance? Hilarious, his friends agree. So he smoothly talks her into going with him. Of course, he wouldn't actually take HER. His real date is the incredibly hot Sloane who demands an expensive orchid corsage for her little black dress, but he knows if Sloane gets what she wants, he'll get what he wants.
When Magda the maid messes up his flower order on the night of the dance, and Kyle winds up with a single white rose, he knows he's in trouble--and Magda should definitely be fired. Roses are cheap. Sloane doesn't want cheap. Sure enough, she throws the box on the ground, and he gives it to some random girl taking tickets at the counter, a scholarship student who acts like she's never seen a rose before.
When the chubby Goth chick shows up in some weird old dress not helped by her green hair and long nose, of course Kyle and his friends laugh long and hard at her. But... she's not humiliated. Doesn't cry. Doesn't even seem the tiniest bit sad. Well, maybe the tiniest bit... because what's going to happen to Kyle next is completely out of her hands once the spell is cast. And what a spell it is.
Can an obnoxious, prep school jock who now looks like--no, is! a slathering beast find someone to love him now that his looks and charm are out of the equation? He's not too worried. He's got friends. And Sloane would do anything for him... wouldn't she? He picks up the phone....
Beastly is a really well-done, modern retelling of the classic story, "Beauty and the Beast," from the point of view of the Beast. There are a lot of nods to favorite versions but it's the characters, particularly Kyle, who hold the reader's attention as the plot unfolds through the seasons and, eventually, true love blooms.