Literature: Beastly

And white is for true love...

Beastly is a 2007 Young Adult novel written by Alex Flinn. It is a modern retelling of the classic Fairy Tale "Beauty and the Beast", set in New York City.

Kyle Kingsbury, rich, handsome and popular, plays a mean practical joke on an outcast girl in his class, who turns out to be a witch named Kendra in disguise. Disgusted by his cruelty, she casts a spell on him, transforming him into a beast. However, because he gave an unwanted rose corsage to a girl working a ticket booth - a small act of kindness he performed shortly before his transformation - she allows him exactly two years to break the spell, or else remain a beast forever. To do this he must fall in love with a girl and she must 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 when he speaks their name to it.

Kyle's father, a well-known news reporter who is shallow and image-obsessed, is repulsed by the thought of any association to Kyle in his beast form, and locks him away in a mansion-like apartment in Brooklyn, with his only company being his housekeeper, Magda, and at his request, a blind tutor named Will.

After a year of being a beast, and trying and failing to find love, Kyle changes his name to Adrian, meaning "dark one" 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.

The movie was released March 18th, 2011; instead of Kyle being turned into an inhuman beast, in this version, he turns into a "human monster" — a huge, ugly punk covered in tattoos, piercings, and scars. It was received poorly by critics, with only a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 41 out of 100 rating on Metacritic.

This book provides examples of:

  • Animorphism
  • Beast and Beauty
  • The Beautiful Elite: Kyle used to belong to them before the curse; he even uses the actual phrase "the Beautiful People".
  • Blind and the Beast: Kyle's tutor Will is blind and hence isn't frightened by him even after Kyle tells him about his curse. It's worth noting, though, that Kyle only asked his father for a "tutor" and isn't happy with the implications behind his father sending him a blind one.
  • Bookworm: Lindy.
  • Curse
  • Curse Escape Clause: Kyle's spell can only be broken if he falls in love with a girl and gets her to return the love within two years of his transformation, or else he'll be stuck as a beast forever.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Flower Motifs: The meanings of different roses are brought up at various points in the book, and Kyle plants a specific kind of miniature called "Little Linda" in honor of Linda's arrival.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: This ends badly for Kyle when the girl he's dancing with tries to pull off his "mask".
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Especially when she lets her hair down.
  • Heroic BSOD: Adrian, after he lets Lindy go off to help her father.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Why Adrian lets Lindy leave in the first place.
  • Jerkass: Kyle, at first.
  • Karma Houdini: Kyle's father is just as narcissistic as his son, with less excuse. In fact, he's arguably the cause of Kyle's cruelty. But nothing happens to him. Kendra should have gone after the father once she'd straightened out the son.
    • Given how he was in the public eye so much, she probably couldn't have gone after him. She already was banished from ever going home for cursing Kyle.
  • King Incognito: Magda, Kyle's seemingly Hispanic caretaker, is revealed at the end to be none other than Kendra in disguise.
    • Kyle himself is this for Lindy, who had a crush on him when he was human and who has no idea that he's her friend "Adrian".
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The chatroom Kyle frequently visits after he's transformed is set up as a support group for transformed people, and the other members talk as if they're from other fairy tales. Whether the other members are legitimately living out their respective stories in real life, or are just role-playing online is left to interpretation.
  • Meaningful Name: Kyle starts calling himself Adrian after his transformation, a name which means "dark one", as he decides that "Kyle", which means "handsome", doesn't suit him anymore. In reality, Adrian is a Latin-derived name that simply means "man from the town of Hadria" and Kyle comes from a Gaelic word which means "channel" or "strait", but the inaccuracies can be Hand Waved by the reasoning that Kyle looked them up on the Internet which is not a 100% reliable source. Linda is also the Spanish word for pretty.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kyle's father never paid much attention to him even before the curse, and Lindy's father is a drug user who gives her up to what he believes is imprisonment in a beast's dungeon. This is one of the things they bond over, really.
  • Rage Against the Reflection
  • Satellite Love Interest: Sloane, although it's less about her not having a personality than her personality being genuinely shallow and her interest in Kyle based solely on him being handsome and popular, which is why Kyle trying to kiss her to break his curse fails.
  • Setting Update: It's a modern-day adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast" told from the Beast's perspective. The Beast is a Jerk Jock with an emotionally distant media mogul father, the Beauty is a Hollywood Homely bookworm with a drug-dealing father, and the setting is modern New York.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Lindy, after trying on the dress she and Adrian find in the attic.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Snow Means Love
  • Title Drop: Kyle begins the story by saying he'll tell the reader how he "became... beastly."
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside
  • True Love's Kiss

The Film of the Book provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Kyle Kingson, as opposed to the original Kyle Kingsbury. Also, when changing his name, Kyle opts for "Hunter" instead of Adrian.
    • Magda's name is changed to "Zola".
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The "beast" just looks like a really hardcore punk kid who's been in a fight, which to a modern audience is arguably a lot sexier than his pretty boy form.
  • Adorkable: Lindy, particularly when she is listening to her headphones while walking down the street, starts singing out loud, and claps her hands over her mouth as soon as she realizes what she's doing.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Everything that qualified this as PG-13 (the words "slut" and "bullshit," 30 seconds of violence, and a couple of drug references) could have been easily removed or slightly altered down to PG without affecting the story.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Hunter leaves a message telling his father not to pretend to care anymore after one too many canceled plans via text message. Lindy does this too when she points out her father is leaving her with a total stranger and that he basically sucks as a parent.
  • Chick Flick: Lampshaded by Will when he pokes fun at Hunter's decidedly un-macho plan for building a rose garden greenhouse as a romantic gesture.
  • Chick Magnet: Kyle, and it's easy to see why. Although of course, the whole message behind the film is the importance of inner beauty, as opposed to outer.
  • Clark Kenting: Handwaved due to Kyle and Lindy having only briefly spoken twice before his curse (despite her crushing on him). She makes sure to mention both times that they hadn't met or talked in the previous three years so it's clearly spelled out for the audience.
  • Fantastic Romance: Between Hunter and Lindy.
  • Feigning Intelligence: Invoked by Kyle. He tries to get lesson plan answers in advance to sound smart and impress Lindy, and confesses to Will that he looks up modern poetry to pick up girls. To his initial dismay, he accidentally selects one of Lindy's favorites.
  • Follow the Leader: It certainly has a few intentional stylistic elements in common with Twilight.
  • Freudian Excuse: Kyle's viewpoints and poor treatment of others directly mirror his father's, and it's implied he spent his entire childhood being ignored by him.
  • Hot Witch: Kendra.
  • Karma Houdini: Rob Kingsbury treats his son like garbage the whole film, and it appears his only comeuppance is a hurt voice message from Kyle, until the very end when the trope is subverted: Kendra pays him a little visit as his new assistant. Cue credits. Subverted when Lindy's father overdoses on drugs but played straight when he survives.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Kyle is trying to explain to Lindy what happened to him, and in doing so basically describes the plot of "Beauty and the Beast".
    Lindy: Everyone knows that story.
  • Lighter and Softer: The film is overall, a lot sweeter and lighter than the book. The more graphic self-harm and just-plain-harm scenes are not included, nor is the climatic end scene where Kyle gets shot (although it is available on the DVD as an alternate ending). Also, Kyle is not as obsessive about Lindy to the point of it being creepy, nor is he as ugly or brooding as he was in the novel.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Blink-and-you'll-miss-em clips of Lindy hanging on Hunter and him giving her a piggy-back ride, him standing on top of the Manhattan Bridge, Hunter running through a park, Kyle rubbing Lindy's lips with his thumb, Hunter catching Lindy as she jumps off a wall, and Lindy telling Hunter he's the most beautiful man she's ever met (the angle and the fact that she's crying suggests it might have been the scene from the book where he gets shot).
  • Mysterious Protector
  • Neil Patrick Harris: Will, in the movie.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Alex Pettyfer, kind of a lot.
    • Also Lisa Gay Hamilton, who plays "Jamaican" maid Zola
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Surprisingly, this is Kyle's campaign speech... to the people voting for him. And then they still elect him.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Sloane, again. After Kyle disappears, she immediately goes out with his wing-man. However, it's heavily implied she knew this when she is heard confessing she didn't like herself while dating Kyle and felt like she had to pretend to be someone else.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Hunter. Despite the fact that he mysteriously presents Lindy with several boxes of her favorite candy, Jujyfruits, she never calls him out on it.

The later books provides examples of: