[Caveat: I'm trying to make good on my New Year's Resolution and get caught up to speed on this blog. That means I'm writing about books I read months ago, my memory might be spotty, and I'm just going to jot down a few sentences.]
I’m a sucker for fairy tale retellings so when I found out that Alex Flinn (a YA author I like and am amazed she can go between emotional reality and these retellings) had written more than just Beastly in that category, I had to give this a try. In this one a teenage boy(who, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t crazy about) comes across Sleeping Beauty’s hidden castle and awakens her. When she (and her whole castleful of people) awake they are in now in modern times. She is at odds with him, no one believes anyone about the fairy’s curse or what happened, and there is much bickering. I liked this approach to the fairy tale-what does happen when she wakes up 200 years later? And all the other people who had to fall asleep as well just because she pricked her finger? It has a great ending too-a nice way to wrap it all up.
I know I’m out of touch because this book came out last year and had I known about it I absolutely would have picked it up right away. As it is I read about it on this blog, and promptly got it from the library. I really enjoy fairy tale retellings, both modern and old fashioned. This is a modern take on (obviously) Beauty and the Beast. [OK, I just looked on amazon and apparently this spring Flinn put out another retelling of a fairy tale. I must get it. I really think Alex Flinn is a super writer and I'm intrigued by this new type of story she is telling. If I think about it though, the main character in Beastly very much seems like a character she would write--she's quite good at angry teenage boy stuff.]
The vain boy/Beast in this version is the very wealthy, arrogant, vain son of a television newscaster. He has no family life to speak of and is used to getting his own way. He also looks down on anyone who is not conventionally attractive. A strange girl at school places a curse on him and he transforms into a beast. There are many elements familiar from the original story-the Beast’s love of roses (this version provides a fuller backstory of why he grows them), the isolated house (in Manhattan in this tale), the unwilling girl whom he grows to love, the library that opens his mind.
I found it all quite charming and especially enjoyed the way contemporary things were incorporated. For example, the main characters are teenagers, what about school? Using the internet to stay connected to the outside world. Which reminds me that the story opens with the Beast visiting a chat room for other fairy tale afflicted beings. This was a device which I liked very much, but it was not continued throughout and as you can see I forgot all about it when I thought of the book.
Definitely recommended to fans of fairy tale retellings.