Monday, March 14, 2011

Bad Boys

Alex Finn's Beastly is one of those YA books that isn't really anything more than that.  I would definitely recommend it to a fourteen year old girl who loved Twilight.  That's who it was written for--a teenage girl's dream of a troubled, sexy beast. As a story of the human condition goes, though, it's got less character depth than your average Babysitter's Club book.

Kyle is a hot, rich, snobby jerk.  He thinks he's better than anybody else because he's rich and gorgeous.  Then, in the famous fashion of fairy tales (how do you write a book about a world where nobody has seen Disney's Beauty and the Beast?), he angers a witch and is turned into a monster.  One loophole, true love's kiss, deadline, yada yada yada.

I'm in the last 50 pages of the book now, and I'll say that the last third is the best part, because it's got an authentic pang of adolescent love and longing, which is like a little hit of a cheap drug, like the smell of a Sharpie. 

Most of the book, though, is about Kyle being a jerk and, through his experience as a beast, becoming somewhat introspective and nice.  The picture painted here of a jerk--what he thinks of himself and of other people, his motivations, the feeling of why you'd be mean to people--it's all two dimensional.  Nobody wants to be the bad guy--most people think they're doing their best, or they don't think at all.  If you want some insight into an Evil/Popular High Schooler, read Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver.  That was a fabulous book.  This is an after school special.

I won't un-recommend it.  Like I said, it's meant for fans of Twilight, which I am most staunchly not.  Those fans will love it, and they should.  I wish the romance part started earlier, because it's the strongest part--the most convincingly written, the most poignant.  He aches for her.  The movie's going to be insufferable, I can tell you already.  At least in the book he has fangs, claws, and fur.

But hey, it only took about two hours to read.  Even I can't argue with that.

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