BEAST by Ally Kennen


Age Range: 14 & up
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Seventeen-year-old Stephen has problems. Once again he is about to be kicked out of a foster home. His homeless father shows up demanding money, and Stephen, an experienced thief, is arrested for arson. And oh, yes, the British teen also decides he must kill his “pet” crocodile. Once a cute birthday present from his dad, the monster has grown to over 12 feet long. Captive in an iron cage near the local reservoir’s shore, the beast survives on the butchered goats and chickens Stephen drags to the pen. Visits to the croc’s iron lair offer tense can’t-take-your-eyes-from-impending-disaster moments. These encounters are the best scenes. Stephen’s inner turmoil differs from other young adult literary characters because, not only is he angry and frustrated with life, but he also has access to a reptilian killing machine. Non-mainstream British slang (offy, a right knob, knackers) and several undeveloped subplots distract from the tale. On the other hand, dark humor, occasional toe-curling danger and Stephen’s bizarre dilemma may keep the pages turning. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-439-86549-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: PUSH/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2006