Beastly by Alex Flinn
My friend Jessica recently read Beastly and recommended it to me. It's a modern retelling of Beauty and Beast set in New York City. The Beast-to-be is Kyle Kingsbury, a rich, gorgeous, arrogant guy who is the top pick for homecoming king at his posh school. He's changed into a beast after his attempt to humiliate an unattractive and overweight goth girl (who is really a witch in disguise) in front of the whole school.
While I did enjoy Beastly overall, I was put off by it in the beginning. In addition to the main storyline, Flinn imagines an online support group for individuals who have been magically transformed run by Chris Anderson (presumably Hans Christian Andersen). He uses the group to bring in other fairytale characters like the little mermaid, the frog prince, and the bear from "Snow White and Rose Red." I personally don't think that the support group added all that much to the story and listening to the audio version I was quite put off by the chats. All the characters have screen names, but it was a bit hard to keep track of who is saying what (especially at the beginning).
Last night I saw a commercial for the movie adaptation and I have to say that I'm a bit confused. The casting is a bit odd. Neil Patrick Harris is perfect for Alex. Alex Pettyfer makes a great Kyle, but the make-up they use to transform him into the Adrian character comes across as odd body modification rather than animal transformation. He definitely doesn't look beastly and I can't imagine the movie version of Adrian causing a fear-induced riot in a New York City subway. Vanessa Hudgens probably has the personality to play Lindy, but she's far too pretty to play a character who is so plain she's beneath notice (Lindy is described as a "somewhat mousy-looking girl with a red braid and freckles"). Mary-Kate Olsen as Kendra may be a good fit (despite the fact that they don't have her look as she's described in the book), but I'd really have to see how she plays the mellower Kendra from the end of the book.