I bought this book because Beauty and the Beast was (and still is) a favorite Disney movie and fairy tale growing up. I'm a sucker for modern retellings and had heard so many good things about this book that I decided to go ahead and purchase it. The fact that a movie had just been released based on Beastly also helped me towards the book. That being said, I did not enjoy this book in the least. I gave Beastly two stars because Flinn stuck to the basic Beauty and the Beast plot equation and there were a few redeeming parts.
My main problem with this book are the characters and their development - mainly that of Adrian/Kyle. There were only two times through out the entire book in which I felt that Adrian/Kyle was a believable character. The first - when he was pretty boy Kyle. Flinn crafted Kyle Kingsbury into a shallow and materialistic teenage boy who was all but dead to the world. His insensitivity and apathy were completely realistic - Flinn nailed it. The second time was after Lindy left Adrian. Flinn wrote this scene in such a way that I felt Adrian's despair and I felt for him despite not being able to relate to him at all or believe that he actually cared for Lindy in the least.
Unfortunately, those were the only times... and those two sections of the book were hardly enough for me to like Adrian/Kyle as a main character. His transformation seemed so shallow to me. There was no depth. Flinn began very strong but fizzled out towards the middle of the book. One day, Kyle is desperately trying to find a mate via Myspace and the internet and the next chapter, he's transformed into Adrian who does not care anymore. I'm sorry... but giving "7 Months Later" as a subtitle to your chapters does not equal adequate character development. I wanted to feel Kyle's desperation and accept his transformation into Adrian but it never happened.
Lindy was also an unbelievable character but only because we were never allowed to see her perspective. Her rapid acceptance of her imprisonment did not seem real. Lindy was delivered to Adrian, cried for a few days and then shared popcorn with him. I don't know what more I can say other than I just did not buy her. Will was the only character that I liked. He was the only consistent character through out the entire story and only because of that, did I like him.
My other problem with the book was how awkwardly Flinn attempted to place fairy tale elements into a modern day setting. I'm sorry to be harsh, but she failed and I felt strange reading some parts of the book. A main example I have is the difference between the language that Kyle uses and the language that Adrian uses. Kyle's vocabulary is very true to a 16 year old kid. Adrian, however, says things like, "the beast that I am" or "my love" when speaking to Lindy. At the end of the day, although Adrian has drastically changed from what he was before the transformation, he is still a 16 year old kid.
I regret buying this book. I should have borrowed it from my local library. I will attempt to read it again to see if I'm missing the thing that has made it so popular. I did not enjoy it and because it rubbed me the wrong way so early in, I spent most of my time reading picking it apart. I'll revisit this review after I've read it a second time... but for right now, I recommend borrowing it from a friend or library. You won't be stuck with a book that you really didn't enjoy. But, if you DID like it, please let me know what you liked about it.