"Beastly" by Alex Flinn, is very much geared toward a specific audience. That would be passionate, socially current, fashion minded, emotionally charged, young people. All of which I am most definitely not. I take that back. I am most assuredly emotionally charged (post-partum anyone?) but not the teenage angst type of emotionally charged, which powers a lot of this book.
This novel is a new and current take on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. An arrogant young man is caught in his bad behavior and cursed by a witch. His curse is that his outward appearance match his inner self, which is beastly to behold. And thus starts the young man's journey to discover a truer and more pure heart. As is expected in a retelling, all the ingredients of the original story are there. The castle, the roses, the household help who stand by him and, of course, a young lady with a pure heart who sees through his exterior beastliness.
The fun of the book is in the current surroundings. High school, New York, subways, dances and modern dialogue. I appreciated how the author took the opportunity to show other ugly (or beastly) parts of society as well, beyond just the young man. It kind of made me realize how ugly begets ugly to some degree and perhaps he was somewhat a sum of his surroundings. I was somewhat put off by the amount of teen angst and that most of it was centered on physical desires. It was not horrible and pretty nit-picky of me to even mention it. In fact, I probably wouldn't mention it if the characters were older, but I guess I'm over sensitive to teens thinking that the crushes they have in high school are the ultimate, most passionate relationships they will have. (Don't get me started on Twilight.)
It was a quick book to read, but definitely geared toward a younger generation than me. Nevertheless, I was interested throughout and really cared about what happened to the young man. And the ending was satisfying. 3 STARS (out of 5)