Kyle Kingsbury is high school royalty. Rich, handsome, smart, and the son of a famous TV journalist, he rules the hottest and most popular kids at his private high school. He thinks nothing can touch him - until he crosses paths with Kendra, a new girl at school. She's not wearing the hottest clothes and she's not a size zero, and when Kyle plays a cruel trick on her, she gets her revenge. Kyle is transformed into a hairy wolf-like animal creature and there's only one way that he can change back: he has to find someone who will fall in love with him as a beast, kiss her, and love her back - all within two years.
(Possible spoilers follow, mostly related to the traditional Beauty and the Beast story structure)
Kyle was as unpleasant a character as I've come across. Arrogant, mean, self-absorbed and fake, there was almost nothing that seemed redeeming about him. I really liked Alex Flinn's modern twists to the story, especially how the beast came to be parent-less and roaming a big (urban) castle. Updating to a modern setting did make the part where his intended love is forced into living with him sort of unsettling (it felt like it bordered on human trafficking in a way). I did wonder what would have happened if the two of them weren't compatible: sure, he's changed, and yes, she cares about more than appearances, but what if they just didn't fall in love? Maybe that's a set-up for another story. At any rate, I really enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to seeing how the upcoming movie does (the trailer looks like it changes a lot of details, doesn't it?)
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logstead
Roses by Hazel White
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Beauty and the Beast by Max Eilenberg
Shrek! by William Steig