A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

“You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.”

I liked it. Aside from Beauty & the Beast being my favourite Disney film, this book has plenty to recommend itself. The dialogue is realistic, the characters are (okay, fantastical) real through their flaws and the setting is just creepy enough to be old school, but modern enough to appeal to today’s audience.

We begin in a high school and move to an abandoned building housing misfits. The Beast is physically beastly, and the beauty is beautiful on the inside. It’s a clear role reversal from the Disney film. Departing from animated cutlery we have a foreign housekeeper / cook and a blind tutor / friend.

The ending seemed a little rushed, but I enjoyed the happy part of it. Best parts are the Beast’s attempts to befriend the Beauty. Painful parts are her reactions to him in the initial parts.

Film: Ya’ll know how I feel about books to films (well, maybe not, but you will soon), generally I try to view them as separate stories, to save myself from disappointment. So no, I haven’t seen the film yet, it’s on my to-watch list.

Well worth a read for all romantics or fans of Beauty & the Beast.

3 Stars