Kyle Kingsbury has got it all. With his dad being a news reporter, he has access to riches that are practically un-limited. Sure, it might make it so he only sees his dad--on the television aside--for less then ten minutes a day, but isn't money all that matters?
Plus, Kyle is beautiful. As in, practically every girl in his private high school (the best New York City has to offer, of course) is drooling over him. But his current girl is Sloane--hot, popular, seductive Sloane. He gives her what she wants, and she gives him what he wants. And, of course, all of his other friends come from the group of "cool" people. But they are just superficial, bratty, selfish bullies.
And so is he.
Kendra, the ugly school witch, knows this. She has been observing him his whole life, and has decided it is time for a change.
As a prank, Kyle invites Kendra to go to a dance with her, planning to show up with Sloane and leave Kendra mortified.
Yet Kyle's maid doesn't buy the exact flower that Sloane demanded, and Sloane refuses it. So Kyle gives it to Linda, a dork he would've otherwise ignored or had been cruel to, yet slipped two petals into his pocket before he gave it to her.
Kendra doesn't get upset, only angry. She tells Kyle that there will be consequences.
Kendra's words haunt Kyle as he goes home to his apartment. Even though it is the middle of the night, Kendra is there in his room, wide awake.
She tells him that she is sick of him only thinking of outer beauty. Sick of him using his beauty to bring others down.
Kendra turns him into a beast--fur, claws and all. But because of the two petals that he kept from Linda's rose, she gives him two years to make a girl fall in love with him (and for him to fall in love with her), and if she kisses him, the spell would be broken. She also gave him a magical mirror that allows him to see anyone he wants, wherever they are.
He tries shaving--it doesn't work. He kisses Sloane in the dark, so she can't see him--it doesn't work. His dad takes him to surgeons and doctors around the world--they tell them that it's hopeless. No surgery could ever fix him--he has to fall in love.
Embarrassed, Kyle's father stashes him away in a mansion and leaves him with a blind tutor and Kyle's maid as caretakers, never bothering to visit himself.
Kyle Kingsbury decides to change his name to Adrian King to help put his past behind him. He does tutoring lessons with Will, his tutor, reads and discusses books like crazy, and he watches people. Every day on the fifth floor on his house, Adrian sits on an old couch and stares at people going about their business from a window.
And Adrian discovers a love for something he never thought twice about before: roses. Will shows him how to care for them, and together they plant a beautiful garden, where Adrian often spends his time. Where he expresses himself. Where he can be himself.
He looks into the mirror more and more often, staring at people.
Eventually, he stumbles upon Linda. He watches her read. Feed her sick, drug addicted father. Be helpless when he, in a drunken state, tried to beat her up. Watches her as she studies so that she can continue going to her school on scholarship.
And one night, he gets a visit from her father as he attempted to rob his house to get drug money. Then, to save himself from getting arrested, he offers Adrian his daughter: Linda.
Adrian greedily accepts her as payment and spends the full next week buying her everything she could ever want in time for her arrival, convinced that she is the one. Books, clothes, decorations. . .
But when she shows up, Adrian is in for a shock. She hates him, and rightly so.
Yet, over the months, everyone watches as all of the remains of Kyle Kingsbury's shell of ice melt away, revealing Adrian King.
Linda's dad sounds abusive and is an abuse scene is described somewhat vaguely. Kyle is described as hearing someone's bone break behind him as he pulled himself away. There is some violence in the scene where Linda's dad breaks into Kyle's house. Adrian is described as going through the subway, not caring if he harmed anyone in his way. Towards the end, Adrian fights someone is a scene that is described in a way that, though isn't gruesome in any way, I wouldn't reccomend younger children to read.
Sloane is described as trying to grope Kyle in front of a huge party ( and this is refrenced to later). Kyle also uses his mirror to view camp shower houses. Sloane braggs to Kyle about how she would be wearing a dress with very little material. There are things that reference to Kyle and Sloane having pre-marital relations.
Kyle (or rather, Adrian)'s relationship with Linda is touching. He realizes that he can't win her over with material objects, nor can he seduce her. He becomes her friend, and slowly more. He learns to be delicate with her, and learns what true love is. How much better it was that way then before.
He talks to her and gets to know her. He reads what she reads, does what she does. Adrian does whatever he can to be close to her--to show her that he isn't completely a monster.
Sloane and Kyle are referenced as drinking at Sloane's apartment when her mom isn't home. Linda's dad is shown many times as being a drug addict and as being drunk.
Well, obviously, Kendra is a witch. Normally, I would mind this a lot more then I did with this book, because it was meant to be a modern-day Beauty and the Beast, and there was a witch in that. But she still is there, and is definitely something to be wary of.
There are some great morals in this book--looking at the heart, past what someone looks like.
There are some uses of swear words, more in the beginning of the book then towards the end. I can't pinpoint exactly how many of each one, but they are there.
I LOVED the romance between Linda and Adrian. I love how they bond with the roses, I love how he respects her space, how he tries to connect with her. . . it's inspiring. All of it.
Though there are some inappropriate things towards the beginning, but Alex (the author) doesn't get overly graphic; and they show just how deep into sin Kyle was, just how amazing his transformation was. I don't mind it because it contributes to the story and is necessary later on, but I also believe that there should be some cautions.
My over all rating is .....
I think that, though it is an excellent read, it definately belongs in the YA genre--as in, I wouldn't reccomend it to those under 12 for obvious reasons. And, if you are under 12, you should seriously get some parental permission first--maybe have them read this review.