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A Kiss in Time
Beastly is a 2007 novel by Alex Flinn. It is a retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast set in modern-day New York City. Flinn researched many versions of the Beauty and the Beast story to write her book. Many of these are playfully alluded to in portions of the book, particularly the chat room transcripts in which the character of Kyle talks to other teens who have been transformed into creatures.
Kyle Kingsbury, rich, handsome and popular, plays a mean practical joke on an outcast girl in his class, who is really a witch named Kendra in disguise. The witch then curses him for his cruelty. He starts to turn into a beast; however, because he performed a small act of kindness shortly before his transformation when he gave an unwanted rose corsage to a girl working a ticket booth, she gives him two years to break the spell, or remain a beast forever. The only way he can turn back to normal is if he truly loves a girl and gets her to love him in return, proving the love with a kiss. Kendra later offers Kyle further aid by giving him a magic mirror that shows him whomever he wishes to see. He is locked in a mansion-like apartment by his shallow, image-obsessed father. His only company is his housekeeper, Magda, and, at his request, a blind tutor named Will. After a year of being in this state, and trying and failing to find love, Kyle changes his name to Adrian to reflect his feelings of being a completely different person from the conceited, materialistic boy he used to be. When a robber stumbles into his garden Adrian offers him a deal; he won't report the robber to the police if the robber brings Adrian his daughter, Linda. She is Adrian's last chance to break the spell before his two years are up.
Adrian realizes that Linda is the same girl to whom he gave the rose corsage. He fixes up a room for her, leaving roses and books for her to amuse herself with. When she arrives, she at first wants nothing to do with him as she feels he kidnapped her. As time passes, she slowly warms up to him and he finds himself falling in love with her. The two begin to have tutoring sessions together and during winter they go to a lodge. Shortly before the last year is up, Linda wishes to see her father once more. Adrian lets her see him with the magic mirror and she finds that he has become sick through drug use. Adrian quickly lets her go to him and offers for her to return to the apartment in the spring if she desires, this time as a friend and not a prisoner. On the last day of the second year, Adrian looks for Linda in the mirror and sees her being dragged into a building by a man. He rushes to her rescue and is shot in the process. As he lays dying, he asks Linda for a kiss. She kisses him, breaking the spell and turns him back to normal. He explains everything to Linda and the two go back and live in the apartment together. Adrian had also made a deal with Kendra, and because of which, Will regains his sight and Magda is allowed to return to her family. Kendra reveals that she is Magda, punished to remain a servant forever because of her careless spellwork but she can now return home as well.
Kyle Kingsbury/Adrian KingEdit
- Kyle Kingsbury is the son of Manhattan's news anchor, Rob Kingsbury. He is tall, blonde, rich, and handsome. He is the most popular guy in school and dates the hottest girls. When Kyle asks an unappealing new student, Kendra, to the prom as a practical joke, Kendra, who is really a beautiful witch, transforms Kyle into a beast. Kyle's father is ashamed of his son's appearance and locks him in a large apartment in downtown New York so no one will see him. Kyle's only company is his housekeeper, and, later, a blind tutor named Will and his dog. Kyle changes his name to "Adrian", which means "dark one". His only happiness comes from the rose garden he plants and maintains in his small backyard, encouraged by Will. Adrian has two years to break the witch's spell by falling in love and being loved sincerely despite physical appearances.
- Linda Owens is the modern version of "Beauty". She is described as not beautiful, with red hair, green eyes, and crooked teeth.
The Witch/Kendra Hilferty/MagdaEdit
- The Witch uses her powers too frequently in her youth and, as punishment, is sent by the witch elders to New York City to work as a servant. She disguises herself as a new student at Tuttle to spy on Kyle. She introduces herself as Kendra Hilferty, bearing green hair and dark clothes, and is overweight and ugly. She also is disguised as Magda, the Kingsbury's maid, to serve and, at the same time, spy on Kyle.
- Rob Kingsbury is Manhattan's most popular news anchor. He has a son, Kyle. He is rich and handsome and lives in a large apartment with his son and the maid, Magda. He works 24/7 and barely spends time with his son. When he finds out about Kyle's transformation, he locks him up in a luxurious five-floor apartment because he's embarrassed of him and doesn't want anyone to know that his son is a monster.
Will Fratalli and PilotEdit
- Will Fratalli is in his late twenties, tall and slender with curly hair. He is hired to tutor Kyle after Kyle's transformation. He is blind, and has a dog, Pilot, who serves as a helper and a watchdog. At first, Pilot feels uncomfortable around Kyle but as the time passes, he starts to become fond of him.
- Daniel Owens is Linda's sickly and drug-dealing father. He often physically abuses her, and threatens her because he fears she might leave him like her sisters did. When he is caught breaking into Adrian's mansion in Brooklyn, he promises Adrian his daughter to save himself.
Awards and recognitionsEdit
- ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
- VOYA Editor’s Choice
- IRA/CBC Young Adults’ Choice
- New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
- Texas Lone Star Reading List
- Detroit Public Library Author Day Award
- Utah Beehive Award Master List
- Missouri Gateway Award Master List
- Volunteer State Book Award Master List
- Nevada Young Readers Award Master List
- South Dakota Young Adult Book Award Master List
- New Hampshire Isinglass Award Master List
- Woozles (Canada) Teen Battle of the Books list
Beastly had received favorable reviews, one of which from BookLoons, which states that "An interesting twist on this contemporary version of Beauty and the Beast is that the story is told from the beast's point of view. Despite the fact that everyone knows the plot, Flinn's version is well worth reading. Publishers Weekly writes that "[T]he happily-ever-after ending is rewarding, if not surprising." Donna Rosenblum of School Library Journal commented positively on Flinn: "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." With Beastly, Flinn received positive remarks from reviews. Sonderbooks praised Flinn, saying, "I love the way Alex Flinn worked in all the elements of the traditional tale. I also loved the believable way she showed us Kyle changing, transforming. And of course there's the wonderful blooming of true love. All this adds up to a truly delightful book that I hope will become wildly popular with teens. And any adults who will admit to enjoying Twilight, let me urge you to give Beastly a try." Romantic Times writes that "Flinn does another solid job of giving a fresh perspective to what could have been a preachy story. She keeps the drama and intrigue high and constantly challenges the reader in this twist on Beauty and the Beast"