Beastly - Special Edition
I am a beast. 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 a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.
#1 New York Times bestseller, now a motion picture from C.B.S. Feature Films!
View the Beastly Trailer
Beastly's Honors and Awards
- Indiana Elliott Rosewater Award Master List, 2011-2012
- Illinois Abraham Lincoln Award Master List, 2011-2012
- Iowa Teen Award Master List, 2011-2012
- International Reading Association Young Adult Choices, 2009
- Detroit Public Library Author Day WINNER, 2009
- American Library Association Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2008
- VOYA Review Editor’s Choice, 2008
- Texas Lone Star State Master List, 2008-2009
- New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
- Missouri Gateway Award Master List, 2009-2010
- New Hampshire Isinglass Award Master List, 2008-2009
- Utah Beehive Award Master List, 2009-2010
- Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award Master List, 2010-2011
- Woozles (Canada)Teen Battle of the Books title, 2010
- South Dakota Young Adult Reading Program High School list, 2009-2010
- Nevada Young Readers Award Master List (Young Adult), 2009-2010
- Grand Canyon Young Reader Award, Young-Adult list, 2010-2011
- California Young Reader Award nominee, 2011-2012
“Teens will race to see if the beast gets his kiss, lifts the curse, and lives happily ever after.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A must-read for fairy tale fans.” —School Library Journal
“Eminently satisfying.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“Engrossing . . . will have appeal for fans of fantasy and realistic fiction.” —VOYA
Excerpt from Beastly
Mr. Anderson: Welcome to the first meeting of the Unexpected Changes chat group.
Mr. Anderson: Anyone here? Or should I say, anyone going to admit being here?
BeastNYC joined the chat.
Mr. Anderson: Hello, BeastNYC.
Mr. Anderson: Hello? I see you there, BeastNYC. Want to introduce yourself?
BeastNYC: Don’t want to talk 1st …... anyone else here?
Mr. Anderson: Yes, we seem to have a lot of lurkers who joined the chat before you.
BeastNYC: Let them talk 1st then.
Mr. Anderson: Anyone else want to give a shout-out to BeastNYC?
SilentMaid: Hello, BeastNYC. Should we call you Beast?
BeastNYC: Whatever. Doesn’t matter.
Mr. Anderson: Thanks for speaking up, Silent – pardon the pun. What sort of creature are you?
SilentMaid: A mermaid. Just a little one.
Mr. Anderson: You were transformed into a mermaid?
SilentMaid: Actually, I’m currently a mermaid, but I’m *considering* a transformation. I thought this group might help me make my decision.
Mr. Anderson: That’s what we’re going to talk about tonight – the experience of transformation, how you became what you are.
Froggie: wer u trnsfrmd, Andy?
Mr. Anderson: Well, no. But I’ve set this up to help you all.
BeastNYC: You’re a girl, SilentMaid? I mean, a female, er, fish. A mer*maid*
Froggie: Hw cn u hlp us wen u dnt know wat is like
SilentMaid: Beast, yes, I am. I’m thinking of becoming a human girl.
Mr. Anderson: Froggie, I’ve studied your type of case. Extensively. I’ve written a thesis on The Effects of Transformation on True Love, based upon the works of Grimm, LePrince de Beaumont, Aksakov, Quiller-Couch, and Walter Disney . . .
BeastNYC: Location, Silent?
SilentMaid: I’m sure you’re very qualified, Andy. It was nice of you to set this up:)
Mr. Anderson: Thanks, Silent.
SilentMaid: Beast, I’m in Denmark. Actually, the Atlantic Ocean, near Denmark.
Froggie: Frgve me asking bt is hard typin w webbed fet.
SilentMaid: Denmark. It’s in Europe.
Froggie: I mean FEET.
Mr. Anderson: Understood, Froggie. I think it will be good for you guys – and girl too – to get together and chat.
Grizzlyguy joined the chat.
Grizzlyguy: I want to talk about these 2 girls I saw.
BeastNYC: I know where Denmark is. Since the curse, I’ve had lots of time to study, cuz I have no life.
Mr. Anderson: Good observation, BeastNYC. We’ll also discuss the lifestyle changes brought about by transformation.
BeastNYC: Cold there, Silent!
SilentMaid: Yes, it is. <grin> But it’s warm under the water.
Grizzlyguy: I want to talk about these 2 girls!
BeastNYC: U single, Silent?
Grizzlyguy: These 2 girls – 1 is Rose Red & she’s really hotttt!!!
SilentMaid: Sort of single, Beast. I think I know where this is going . . . .
Froggie: hardest prt 4 me is eatin flys
Grizzlyguy: The other one is Snow White
SilentMaid: I’m single, but there’s this one particular guy . . . a sailor
Grizzlyguy: Not *that* Snow White. A different one – Rose Red’s sis. Quiet. She's nice 2.
Froggie: dont lk flys
BeastNYC: Thing is, Silent, I’m looking to meet a girl, a girl who could love me.
SilentMaid: Flattering, Beast, but I’m in love w/ another. There was a boy on a sailboat. I saved him from drowning.
Mr. Anderson: Can we not *all* talk at once?
BeastNYC: But we don’t have anyone 2 talk 2 usually.
Froggie: Lnly being a frg when ur not rlly 1.
Mr. Anderson: Understood. Still, we need to take turns so the threads aren’t too confusing. This is the first session, so I thought we’d discuss how we got the way we are – how we were transformed.
Froggie: Thts ez – pissed off a witch.
SilentMaid: Considering a deal with a witch, here. Sea Witch, actually. My voice for human legs. That’s why I’m Silent.
BeastNYC: U type great, Silent.
SilentMaid: Thanks, Beast. I have fingers, not claws.
Mr. Anderson: Beast, why don’t you tell us about your transformation?
BeastNYC: I don't feel like it.
Mr. Anderson: You’re among friends, Beast.
Grizzlyguy: Yeah, go ahead so I can talk about the 2 girls.
BeastNYC: You know *2* girls, Prince??? Where are *you* located???
Mr. Anderson: This isn’t a dating service, Beast.
BeastNYC: Yeah, well I could use one. It’s hard meeting girls when you look like Chewbacca! And I need to meet 1 to end my curse.
Mr. Anderson: You need a support network too. That’s why I set this up.
SilentMaid: Please, talk to us, Beast. You’re among friends.
BeastNYC: All right, all right. The first thing you need to know about me is, I’m a beast.
Froggie: henc the SN.
Mr. Anderson: No flames, Froggie.
BeastNYC: Yeah, right. But there was a time when I would have said about a fat girl, “She’s a beast.” I’m not a beast like that. I’m an animal. Fur, claws, you name it. Everything about me is an animal, except the inside. On the inside, I’m human still.
Grizzlyguy: Ditto here.
BeastNYC: It’s really hard for me because before I was a beast, I was . . . well, beautiful. Cool, popular, rich. Like, my friends at school, they’d elected me their prince.
Grizzlyguy: Elected? Prince?
Froggie: princ not elcted Bst……i ws a princ once
BeastNYC: It’s a long story.
Froggie: i ws a princ
Mr. Anderson: We have nothing but time, Beast. Talk to us.
BeastNYC: <sigh> OK. It all started because of a witch.
Froggie: thts hw they all strt
Part I: A Prince and a Witch
I could feel everyone looking at me, but I was used to it. One thing my dad taught me early and often was to act like nothing moved me. When you’re special, like we were, people were bound to notice.
It was the last month before the end of ninth grade. The substitute teacher was giving out ballots for spring dance court, something I’d normally have thought was lame.
“Hey, Kyle, your name’s on this.” My friend, Trey Parker flicked my arm.
“No duh.” When I turned Trey’s way, the girl next to him – Anna, or maybe Hannah – looked down. Huh. She’d been staring at me.
I examined the ballot. Not only was my name, Kyle Kingsbury, there for ninth grade prince, but I was the sure winner. No one could compete with my looks and my dad’s cash.
The sub was a new one who might still have been under the mistaken impression that because Tuttle was the type of school that had a salad bar in the cafeteria and offered courses in Mandarin Chinese – i.e., a school where the serious money people in New York sent their kids – we weren’t going to bust on him like public school dregs. Big mistake. It wasn’t like anything the sub said was going to be on an exam, so we were trying to figure out how to make reading the ballot and scratching in our choices take the entire fifty minute period. At least most of us were. The rest were texting each other. I watched the ones who were filling out their ballots, glancing over at me. I smiled. Someone else might have looked down, trying to act all shy and modest, like they were ashamed of having their name there – but it doesn’t make sense to deny the obvious.
“My name’s there too.” Trey flicked my arm again.
“Hey, watch it!” I rubbed my arm.
“Watch it yourself. You’ve got this stupid grin on your face like you already won, and now you’re giving the paparazzi a chance to snap your picture.”
“And that’s wrong?” I grinned wider, to bug him, and gave a little wave like people in parades. Someone’s camera phone snapped at just that moment, like an exclamation point.
“You shouldn’t be allowed to live,” Trey said.
“Why, thank you.” I thought about voting for Trey, just to be nice. Trey was good for comic relief, but not too gifted in the looks department. His family were nobody special either – his dad was a doctor or something. They might post the vote totals in the school newspaper, and it’d be pretty embarrassing for Trey if he came in last or even didn’t get any votes at all.
On the other hand, it would be cool if I got two or three times the votes of the next-closest person. And besides, Trey worshipped me. A real friend would want me to win big. That’s another thing my dad always said: “Don’t be a sucker, Kyle and do things out of friendship or love. Because what you always end up finding out is, the only one who really loves you, is you.”
I was seven or eight when he first said that, and I asked, “What about you, Dad?”
“You love . . .” Me. “Us. Your family.”
He gave me a long look before saying, “That’s different, Kyle.”
I never asked him again if he loved me. I knew he’d told the truth the first time.
I folded my ballot over, to keep Trey from seeing I’d voted for myself. Of course, I knew he voted for himself too, but that was different.
That’s when a voice came from the back of the room.
“This is disgusting!”
We all turned.
“Maybe someone left a booger under her desk,” Trey whispered.
“Was it you?” I said.
“I don’t do that anymore.”
“Disgusting,” the voice repeated. I stopped talking to Trey and looked at where the voice was coming from, this Goth freak sitting in back. She was a fat chick, dressed in the kind of flowing, black clothes you usually only see on witches or terrorists (We don’t have uniforms at Tuttle. It would piss off the parents, not to be able to buy Dolce & Gabbana) and her hair was green. Obviously a cry for help. Weird thing was, I’d never noticed her before. Most people here, I’d known my whole life.
The sub was too stupid to ignore her. “What’s disgusting Miss . . . Miss . . .”
“Hilferty,” she said. “Kendra Hilferty.”
“Kendra, is there something wrong with your desk?”
“There is something wrong with this world.” She stood like she was making a speech. “Something very wrong when it’s the twenty-first century and this type of elitist travesty is still being perpetuated.” She held up her ballot. People giggled.
“It’s a ninth grade dance ballot,” Trey volunteered. “To choose the royalty.”
“Exactly,” the girl said. “Who are these people? Why should they be treated as royalty? Based upon . . . what? The people on this ballot were chosen on one basis and one basis only – physical beauty.”
“Sounds like a good basis to me,” I said to Trey, not-too-softly. I stood. “That’s BS. Everyone voted, and this is who they chose. It’s a democratic process.”
Around me, there were some thumbs-ups, some, Yeah, mans, particularly from Anna or Hannah. But I noticed that a lot of people, mostly the ugly people, were silent. The girl took a few steps toward me. “They’re sheep, following the herd. They vote for the so-called popular people because it’s simple. Surface beauty – blond hair, blue eyes . . .” She was looking at me. “. . . is always easy to recognize. But if someone is braver, stronger, smarter, that’s harder to see.”
She pissed me off, so I jumped on her. “If someone’s so smart, they’d figure out how to get better-looking. You could lose weight, get plastic surgery, even get your face scraped and your teeth bleached.” I emphasized the you in the sentence, so she’d know I meant her, and not just some general sort of you. “My dad’s a network news guy. He says people shouldn’t have to look at ugly people.”
“Is that what you think?” She raised a dark eyebrow. “That we should all transform ourselves to be as you want us to be, Kyle Kingsbury?”
I started at my name. I was sure I’d never seen her before. But of course she knew me. Everyone did. Probably had some pathetic crush on me.
“Yeah,” I said. “Yeah. That’s what I think. That’s what I know.”
She walked toward me. Her eyes were light green and her nose was long and hooked down. “Then you’d better hope you never get ugly, Kyle. You are ugly now, on the inside where it matters most, and if you ever lost your good looks, I bet you wouldn’t be smart or strong enough to get them back. Kyle Kingsbury, you are beastly.”
Beastly. The word was from another time and place. It made me think of fairy tales, and I felt this weird tingling, like the hairs on my arms had caught fire from her eyes. I brushed it off.