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Alex Flinn Bibliotheca

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PostSubject: Alex Flinn Bibliotheca Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:07 pm

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by Alex Flinn

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.


Beastly's Honors and Awards

* 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


“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.
BeastNYC: 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.
BeastNYC: Ditto.
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.
Grizzlyguy: La-ti-da.
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: thats how they all start

Part I: A Prince and a Witch

Chapter One

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.

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PostSubject: Re: Alex Flinn Bibliotheca Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:15 pm

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by Alex Flinn

What did you do on your summer vacation?
Jack found a 300-year-old princess!
A Kiss in Time, a modern Sleeping Beauty (HarperCollins, April, 2009)

Talia fell under a spell…
Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .
I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.
I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger’s soft kiss.
I couldn’t help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn’t know this would happen.
Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!
Now I’m stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

* Junior Library Guild Selection for Spring, 2009


"Alex Flinn has cleverly brought an old fairy tale back to life with a modern twist, offering an incredible and humorous page-turner . . . A Kiss in Time is entertaining, romantic, funny and enchanting." — (Read full review)

"Different enough to stand out from the rest of the tiara throng. Fans of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted (1997) will embrace this charming, lightweight fantasy." —Booklist

"The clash of cultures provides a hilarious backdrop to the developing romance. Chivalry, it seems, isn’t dead — it just has to be awakened." —Notes from the Horn Book

"Flinn builds a credible romance around two vastly different (and highly entertaining) characters, injects a little magic and chivalry into the modern world, and lightly explores concepts of love and fate—all on the road to a satisfying 'happily ever after.'" —Horn Book

"Clever and humorous . . . Fans of happily-ever-after endings will delight in the upbeat resolution, which confirms the notion that 'love conquers all.'" —Publisher's Weekly


Excerpt from A Kiss in Time

Part I: Talia

Chapter 1

If I hear one more syllable about spindles, I shall surely die!

From my earliest memory, the subject has been worn to death in the castle, nay, in the entire kingdom. It is said that “spindle,” rather than “Mama” or “Papa,” was my first word in infancy, and I have little doubt that this is true, for ‘tis the word which lights more frequently than any other upon my most unwilling ears.

“Talia, dearest, you must never touch a spindle,” Mother would say as she tucked me into bed at night.

“I will not, Mother.”

“Vous non toucherez pas un fusee,” my tutor would say, during French lessons.

“I will not,” I told him, in English.

“If ye spy a spindle, ye must leave it alone,” the downstairs maid said as I left the castle, always with my governess, for I was never allowed a moment alone.

Every princeling, princess, or lesser noble who came to the castle to play was told of the restrictions upon spindles – lest they have one secreted about their person somewhere, or lest they mistakenly believe I was normal. Each servant was searched at the door, and thread was purchased from outside the kingdom. Even peasants were forbidden to have them. It was quite inconvenient for all concerned.

It should be said that I am not certain I would know a spindle if I saw one. But it seems unlikely that I ever shall.

“Why must I avoid spindles?” I asked my mother, in my earliest memory.

“You simply must,” she replied, so as not to scare me, I suppose.

“But why?” I persisted.

She sighed. “Children should be seen, not heard.”

I asked several times more before she excused herself, claiming a headache. As soon as she departed, I started in on my governess, Lady Brooke.

“Why am I never to touch a spindle?”

Lady Brooke looked aggrieved. It was frowned upon, she knew, to scold royal children. Father was a humane ruler, who never resorted to beheading. Still, she had her job to consider, if not her neck.

“It is forbidden,” she said.

Well, I stomped my foot and whined and cried, and when that failed to produce the desired result, I said, “If you do not answer, I will tell Father you slapped me.”

“You wicked, wicked girl! God above will punish you for such deceit!”

“No one punishes princesses.” My voice was calm. I was done with my screaming, now that I had discovered a better currency. “Not even God.”

“God cares not for rank and privilege. If you tell such an awful lie, you will surely be damned.”

“Then, you must keep me from such a sin, by telling me what I wish to know.” Even at four or five, I was precocious, and determined.

Finally, sighing, she told me.

I had been a long-wished for babe (this, I knew, for it had been told to me almost as often as the spindle speech), and when I was born, my parents invited much of the kingdom to my christening, including several women rumored to have magical powers.

“You mean fairies?” I interrupted, knowing she would not speak the word. Lady Brooke was highly religious, which seemed to mean that she believed in witches, who used their magic for evil, but not fairies, who used their powers for good. Still, even at four, I knew about fairies. Everyone did.

“There is no such a thing as fairies,” Lady Brooke said. “But yes, people said they were fairies. Your father welcomed them, for he hoped they would bring you magical gifts. But there was one person your father did not invite: The witch Malvolia.”

Lady Brooke went on to describe, at great length and in exhausting detail, the beauty of the day, the height of the sun in the sky, and the importance of the christening service. I closed my eyes. But when she attempted to carry me into my bed chamber, I woke and demanded, “What of the spindle?”

“Oh! I thought you were asleep.”

I continued to demand to know of the spindle, which led to a lengthy recitation of the gifts I had received from the various guests. I struggled to remain attentive, but I perked up when she began to describe the fairy gifts.

“Violet gave the gift of beauty, and Xanthe gave the gift of grace, though surely, such qualities cannot be given.”

I did not see why not. People often remarked upon my beauty and grace.

“Leila gave the gift of musical talent . . .”

I noted, privately, that I was already quite skilled on the harpsichord.

“. . . while Celia gave the gift of intelligence . . .”

It went without saying . . . .

Lady Brooke continued. “Flavia was about to step forward to give the gift of obedience – which would have been much-welcomed, if I do say so myself.” She winked at me, but the wink had a hint of annoyance which was not – I must say — appreciated.

“The spindle?” I reminded her, yawning.

“Just as Flavia, was ready to step forward and offer her much-desired gift of obedience, the door to the grand banquet hall was flung open. The witch Malvolia! The guards tried to stop her, but she brazened her way past them.

“’I demand to see the child!’ she said.

“Your nurse tried to block her way. But quicker than the bat of an eyelash, the nurse was on the floor and Malvolia was standing over your bassinet.

“Ah.” She seized you and held you up for all to see. ‘The accursed babe.’

“Your mother and father tried to soothe Malvolia with tales of invitations lost, but she repeated the word, ‘accursed,’ several times, and then she made good the curse itself.

“’Before her sixteenth birthday, the princess shall prick her finger on a spindle and die!’ she roared. And then, as quickly as she had arrived, she was gone. But the beautiful day was ruined and rain fell freely from the sky.”

“And then what?” I asked, far from being interested in the weather now that I understood that I might die by touching a spindle. Why had no one told me?

“Flavia tried to save the situation with her gift. She said that since Malvolia’s powers were immense, she could not reverse her spell, but she sought to modify it a bit.

“’The princess shall not die,’ she said. But as everyone was sighing their relief, she added, ‘Rather, the princess shall sleep. All Euphrasian citizens shall sleep also, protected from harm by this spell, and the kingdom shall be obscured from sight by a giant wood, unnoticed by the rest of the world, and removed from maps and memory until . . .’ People were becoming more nervous with each pronouncement. ‘one day, the kingdom shall be rediscovered by one who is destined to be the princess’s true love and the savior of the kingdom. The princess shall be awakened by her true love’s first kiss, and the kingdom shall return to normal and become visible to the world again.’”

“But that is stupid!” I burst out. “If the entire kingdom is asleep and and forgotten, who would be left to kiss me?”

Lady Brooke stopped speaking, and then, she actually scratched her head, as persons in stories are said to do when they are trying to work some great puzzle. At the end of it, she said, “I do not know. Someone would. That is what Flavia said.”

But even at my tender age, I knew this was improbable. Euphrasia was small, bounded on three sides by ocean, on the fourth by wilderness. The Belgians barely knew we existed, and if Euphrasia disappeared from sight and maps, the Belgians would forget us too. Other questions leaped to mind. How would we eat if we were all asleep? And wouldn’t we eventually die, like old people did? Indeed, the cure seemed worse than the original punishment.

But to each successive question, Lady Brooke merely said, “That is why you must never touch a spindle.”

And it is nigh upon my sixteenth birthday, and I never have touched one yet.

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