Beastly Summary

Alex Flinn


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Beastly Summary

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The 2007 novel Beastly, by Alex Flinn, is a modern fairytale. Based on the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast,” it takes place in New York City and is presented from the perspective of the beast.

Kyle Kingsbury is the handsome son of a well-known anchorman. When he is nominated for homecoming prince at his prep school’s homecoming dance, things do not go as he would have expected. A girl in his class, Kendra, expresses her belief that voting for homecoming court should not be solely based on physical beauty. Kyle disagrees with her, saying the students were free to have voted for anyone they wanted. He adds that, according to his father, people who are fat or ugly do not have to remain that way. Kendra calls him “beastly” and tells him that he should hope that he never loses his looks because he is so ugly on the inside he would never be able to get them back.

Kyle cannot get Kendra’s warning out of his head. He plots his revenge and plans to ask her to the dance with the intent of embarrassing her by arriving with Sloane, who is his actual date. When the evening arrives, Kyle’s plans go awry. Sloane refuses to wear the corsage that Kyle had his maid purchase because it does not match her dress. Kyle gives it to a girl who is checking tickets at the dance. Kyle and Sloane attempt to humiliate Kendra when she gets to the dance, but she is unaffected. She tells Kyle that he has made her decision easy. He asks her to explain what she means by that but all she will tell him is that he will find out eventually.

When Kyle gets home that night, he finds Kendra waiting in his bedroom. He attempts to apologize to her but she knows he is not sincere and refuses to listen to him begging for forgiveness. She informs him that she is a witch and that he is now cursed to be a beast until he is able to win the love of a girl and give that girl his love in return. He will remain a beast forever if he is unable to accomplish this within two years. As proof of her love for him, the girl must be willing to kiss him while he is in his new, beastly form. The curse removes his beauty and he is left a hairy beast with claws and fangs.

Unable to find anyone who can cure his son, Kyle’s father purchases a townhouse in Brooklyn where Kyle lives alone with only Magda, his maid, and a blind tutor named Will. Kyle has a magic mirror that Kendra gave him through which he is able to see other people. To pass the time he observes the lives of other students. He finds himself particularly taken by a girl named Linda. Linda is the girl he had originally viewed as seemingly ordinary, and to whom he gave the corsage at the homecoming dance. She lives in a run-down area with her father, a drug addict.

Kyle plants a rose garden in the backyard of the townhouse and becomes obsessed with the flowers, which are both beautiful and fragile. Kyle remains depressed and changes his name to Adrian, which means “dark one.” The maid is afraid that Kyle has given up on life, while Kyle, now Adrian, says he is just accepting his own fate. Kendra, who is able to speak with Adrian through the mirror, is surprised not only by his acceptance, but also by his asking her if she can restore Will’s sight and help Magda be able to visit her family. Kendra is not able to do those things, however, unless Adrian is able to reverse her spell.

When night falls one evening, Adrian finds a thief in his greenhouse. When the man begs forgiveness, offering Adrian money and drugs, Adrian turns him down. The man says he has a sixteen-year-old daughter whom he will bring to the house to trade for his freedom. His daughter is Linda, whom Adrian now covets. He lets the man get her but warns that should he not return, he will have him arrested. Adrian and Magda get the third floor ready for Linda, making it as attractive as possible, but when she arrives, Linda shows no interest in it. Will reassures her that she will be safe in his house, but she will not forgive Adrian for making her a prisoner. When Adrian realizes that her affections cannot be bought like those of his old friends, it makes him want her even more.

Will convinces Adrian to take his time with Linda, and little by little the two develop a friendship. He falls in love with her and she sees that there is a kindness beneath his outward appearance. Adrian starts to think that he should release Linda even if it means he will remain a beast. A trip to a mountain lodge brings them still closer to each other. When asked, Linda tells Adrian that she would be happy being with him forever but only if she could be certain her father was well. In the mirror, they see her father high and sick in an alley. Adrian sends Linda home to tend to him.

Months go by, Linda does not return, and Adrian fears she never will. Then, in the mirror, he sees her calling to him for help as she is taken by a stranger. Adrian ignores the crowds who fear his beastly appearance and goes to Linda’s aid. He is shot in the process and Linda tells him that she wanted to return to him but her father would not give her the address. Finally, as the time approaches that will leave Adrian a beast forever, he asks Linda to kiss him and he is changed back into Kyle. When they return to the townhouse, they find that Magda was in fact Kendra all along. Kyle and Linda go to back to the prep school, where Will is now their teacher, for their senior year.