YA sync is a program that matches an old book to a thematically similar new book and gives both audiobooks away during the summer. It is a great program to introduce teens to both new and old books that they might not find another way. (The 2014 summer schedule has been released and it includes Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.)
I picked up Beastly two or three years ago through YA Sync but until now had not listened it. Beastly is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story. I read the original short story a while ago. So I am familiar with both the Disney and original story and this feels more like the Disney than the original (although Disney is pretty true to the original.)
Kyle is a spoiled, rich 16 year old. His father is a network news anchor that has no time for Kyle. His mother ran off years ago. After being mean to a girl at school (asking her to the dance and then publicly standing her up at the entrance to the dance) he is cursed and turned into a beast. He has two years to get someone to love him and kiss him or else the curse will become permanent.
There is an online chat group of other people that have transformed, Little Mermaid, the Frog Prince, etc. This is supposed to bring some humor and provide a place to tell back story, but it feels like a distraction.
The audiobook is well read. But the story reads a little young to me. It is listed as a 6-9th grade book, but the characters are pretty flat, especially at the beginning. The book gets better as it goes on but it is not one that I would highly recommend.
Alex Flinn has several other books that are similar retellings of fairy tales. And there has been enough interest that this was turned into a 2011 movie (only 21% on rottentomatoes.) It was fine for an afternoon’s listen and a free audiobook, but mostly was a meh.
I have read a number of books that have riffed off of old fairy tales. So maybe I have been spoiled.