If like me you are a sucker for happy endings, princes, princesses and spellbinding curses, then Alex Flinn’s fairytale adaptations are definitely your next read. Alex Flinn is one of the most inspiring writers for the Young Adult genre, she manages to reinvent stories we have heard a million times and somehow make them fresh and new. The modern day twist she cloaks over the fairytales is really intriguing because when you are reading the stories you are still wondering what is going to happen and how it’s going to end. It seems nothing is ever obvious because her writing technique adds a twinge of suspense, making the story flow differently. Even though the tales are as old as time, you are still hoping for the same perfect happy ending. Alex’s writing from a teenage perspective is always authentically believable and never false.
Alex Flinn grew up in New York and Miami, at the age of five she started writing and entering various writing competitions. She practiced Law for ten years before giving it up full time to concentrate on her writing. Her first published novels, Breathing Underwater, Diva, Breaking Point, Nothing To Lose and Fade To Black, are all heavily influenced from her career in Law. The novels tackle tough and realistic life situations that some teenagers face in their lives. Some subject matters include domestic violence, disabilities, divorce and HIV.
One of Alex Flinn’s most successful fantasy novels was recently turned into a motion picture staring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer.“Beastly” was written in 2007 and the film was released in 2011. The book has been very popular winning numerous awards from the Young Adult genre categories. “Beastly” is a romantic fantasy story retelling the widely known tale of “Beauty and the Beast”. Kyle Kingsbury is the popular and wealthy high school student. One day he disrespects a classmate with his arrogant attitude, little did he know she was a wicked teenage witch in disguise. She casts a spell cursing him and disfiguring his face and body. Kendra the witch gives him the ultimatum, before one year passes he must find his one true love or be left as a beast forever. It is during this time he befriends quiet classmate Lindy and begins to fall in love.
One of the ways in which Alex Flinn conveys a modern day twist is through her setting of the scene as the story takes place in busy New York City. The description of bright lights and noisy streets is a far cry away from the little town and countryside from the original story. Also the use of technology throughout the story, for example when Kyle/Adrian reaches out to other victims of curses using the internet. There is a part in the story dedicated to showing his conversations. The story is told from the Beast’s perspective, which is completely readable as this puts a twist on a contemporary tale and ultimately tells an unheard story. As fairytale book readers, we are so used to reading about how the Princesses or female protagonists are feeling, I really enjoyed the change. If you haven’t read Beastly yet, it is an absolute must!
This year “Beastly” has been recently re-released with additional chapters called, “Lindy’s Diary”. The chapters you can purchase as an e-book or the new special edition of “Beastly”. The chapters are from Lindy’s perspective while she was captured by the Beast. The diary entries are a very honest and are an emotional insight into the characters captivity and feelings.
Also, this year my favourite character, Kendra from the “Beastly” novel got her own book, thank you Alex Flinn! Kendra’s tale is called “Bewitching”. This novel tells the tale of her life dating back to 1666 to the present day. The story splits into two perspectives, one being Kendra’s and another being a young girl she is trying to help, but, Kendra trying to help is normally when things go terribly wrong. My favourite chapters include the mermaid she once found on the Titanic lifeboat and the witch who lived in the famous gingerbread house. The story dips in and out of many famous fairy tales so you are never bored and constantly entertained throughout.
Excerpt from “Bewitching”
“If you read fairy tales, and who doesn’t, you might believe there are witches all over the place—witches baking children into gingerbread, making princesses sleep hundreds of years, even turning normal teenage boys into hideous beasts to teach them a lesson. But, actually, there are only a few of us. The reason it doesn’t seem like that is because we’re pretty long-lived. We live hundreds of years, as long as we don’t find ourselves fuelling a bonfire”.
The book art for all novels are beautifully old fashioned and true to it’s fantasy and fairytale like genre. Everyone has their fairytale favourites, so read my guide below to try and spot your favorite and maybe try the Alex Flinn version. I promise, you will not be disappointed but remember to expect the unexpected.
For fans of YA fiction - best YA fiction
For fans of Sleeping Beauty read, “A Kiss In Time”.
For fans of Princess And The Frog and The Swan Princess read, “Cloaked”.
For fans of Beauty And The Beast read, “Beastly”.
For fans of Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Hansel And Gretel and other old fashioned Grimm Tales read, “Bewitching”.
All books mentioned are available in book stores and as e-books.