Flinn was born in Glen Cove, New York and grew up in Syosset, New York and Miami, Florida. At the age of five she started thinking about being a writer and submitted early efforts to magazines like Highlights, which did not publish them. At twelve, she moved to Palmetto Bay, Florida, a suburb of Miami, where she still lives.She had a hard time making friends at her new school, and she has said that this experience inspired much of her writing for young adults, particularly her book, Breaking Point. She graduated from Miami-Palmetto High School and was in a magnet performing arts program called PAVAC (Performing And Visual Arts Center), which inspired some of her book, Diva. She graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in vocal performance (opera) then went to law school at Nova South Eastern University and practiced law for 10 years before retiring to devote herself full-time to writing, following the acceptance of her third book. She is married to Eugene Flinn and has two daughters.
Breathing Underwater and Diva
Breathing Underwater was Flinn's first novel. It was originally published in 2001 and was chosen a Top 10 ALA Best Books for Young Adults for that year. The story of 16-year-old Nicholas Andreas, a wealthy Miami teen who is sent to anger management because his girlfriend, Caitlin, takes out a restraining order against him. Ordered by the judge to write about his relationship, Nick tells of falling in love with her, and the eventual time when his anger took over and he hit her. The book is set in Miami and Key West, Florida. An excerpt from the book was included in Liz Claiborne, Inc's Love is Not Abuse curriculum, which was formulated to teach students about dating violence. Diva, a sequel to Breathing Underwater was released in 2006. It tells the story of Caitlin attending performing arts school as she gets over what happened between her and Nick and learns to be her own person while bonding with her often-flighty mother.
Paul Richmond, a Navy brat, moves from homeschooling to a fancy private school, Gate-Brickell Christian, after his lieutenant colonel father has an affair and divorces his teacher-mother. On his first day at Gate, he meets a girl named Binky and a boy named Charlie Good.
Without Binky, life would be pretty terrible for Paul. The kids at school look down on him because his mother is a teacher there. Thanks to his father, Paul looks down on her too. His father, busy with a new wife and baby, ignores his calls and finally tells him to go away. He feels responsible for being a surrogate man of the house for his mother, who is clingy and insecure. This is far too much pressure for Paul, and only drives him away from confiding in his mother about anything happening in his life. Binky knows the score from way back, and knows it wasn’t that much easier on David Blanco, son of the school janitor. When David’s dog is found killed, the school population tacitly blames David, because it’s easier than figuring out which one of the children of privilege is the corrupt one.
In the midst of all this, Charlie Good starts asking things of Paul. If there is an uppercrust at the upper crust school, Charlie is it. He seems, in many ways, to be nearly as lonely as Paul. His father pushes him to be a tennis overachiever, and his mother is barely present. Charlie’s method of blowing off steam is a little harmless vandalism. After a fight with his mother, Paul, tortured by feelings of rejection at the hands of his father, is exhilarated by his night of petty theft and mailbox smashing.
Suddenly, however, it doesn’t seem so harmless when Charlie asks Paul to break into the school and change his grade. Paul starts to get the idea that Charlie is manipulative… but he has yet to find out how manipulative.
Nothing to Lose
Nothing to Lose (2004) is about Michael Daye, a 17-year-old boy, who runs away from home after his stepfather is killed. Michael finds refuge at a traveling carnival and also falls in love with a fellow carny, Kirstie. When Michael finds out his mother is on trial for murder, he must decide whether to stay with the carnival and Kirstie, or come back to Miami to try to help his mother. The book was chosen as a Booklist Top 10 Youth Mystery, and American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults and an American Library Association Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.
Fade to Black
Fade to Black (2005) is perhaps Flinn's second-best known realistic novel and a frequent high school required read. Alex Crusan, a 16-year-old HIV positive high school junior, is attacked in his car early one morning and sent to the hospital. The novel is written in the perspective of three people: Alex Crusan, the victim; Clinton Cole, the suspect; and the witness, Daria Bickel, a young woman with Down's syndrome.
Beastly is a 2007 novel by Alex Flinn. It is a retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast set in modern-day New York City from the view of the beast. Flinn researched many versions of the Beauty and the Beast story to write her book. Many of these are playfully alluded to in portions of the book, particularly the chat room transcripts in which the character of Kyle talks to other teens who have been transformed into creatures.
Kyle Kingsbury, rich, handsome and popular, plays a mean practical joke on an outcast girl in his class, who is really a witch named Kendra in disguise. The witch then curses him for his cruelty. He starts to turn into a beast; however, because he performed a small act of kindness shortly before his transformation when he gave an unwanted rose corsage to a girl working a ticket booth, she gives him two years to break the spell, or remain a beast forever. The only way he can turn back to normal is if he truly loves a girl and gets her to love him in return, proving the love with a kiss. Kendra later offers Kyle further aid by giving him a magic mirror that shows him whomever he wishes to see. He is locked in a mansion-like apartment by his shallow, image-obsessed father. His only company is his housekeeper, Magda, and, at his request, a blind tutor named Will. After a year of being in this state, and trying and failing to find love, Kyle changes his name to Adrian to reflect his feelings of being a completely different person from the conceited, materialistic boy he used to be. When a robber stumbles into his garden Adrian offers him a deal; he won't report the robber to the police if the robber brings Adrian his daughter, Linda. She is Adrian's last chance to break the spell before his two years are up. Adrian realizes that Linda is the same girl to whom he gave the rose corsage. He fixes up a room for her, leaving roses and books for her to amuse herself with. When she arrives, she at first wants nothing to do with him as she feels he kidnapped her. As time passes, she slowly warms up to him and he finds himself falling in love with her. The two begin to have tutoring sessions together and during winter they go to a lodge. Shortly before the last year is up, Linda wishes to see her father once more. Adrian lets her see him with the magic mirror and she finds that he has become sick through drug use. Adrian quickly lets her go to him and offers for her to return to the apartment in the spring if she desires, this time as a friend and not a prisoner. On the last day of the second year, Adrian looks for Linda in the mirror and sees her being dragged into a building by a man. He rushes to her rescue and is shot in the process. As he lays dying, he asks Linda for a kiss. She kisses him, breaking the spell and turns him back to normal. He explains everything to Linda and the two go back and live in the apartment together. Adrian had also made a deal with Kendra, and because of which, Will regains his sight and Magda is allowed to return to her family. Kendra reveals that she is Magda, punished to remain a servant forever because of her careless spellwork but she can now return home as well.
Beastly: Lindy's Diary
This book is written as a diary showing the events of Beastly from Lindy's perspective, along with a few extra things.
Bewitching is another story involving Beastly's witch, Kendra. It begins with Kendra's original family and we get to see when she found out she was a witch. Then we see the story of Emma and follow her as we learn about her stepsister, who turns out to be manipulative. Kendra tries to help, but as usual, magic can sometimes be unpredictable.
A Kiss in Time
A Kiss in Time was released in 2009. A Junior Library Guild selection for 2009, the novel is a modern version of Sleeping Beauty, in which Talia, princess of Euphrasia, touches a spindle, falling into a deep sleep for three-hundred years. She wakes to the kiss of an American boy named Jack, on a tour of Europe. Since everyone in her kingdom is angry at her for touching the spindle, she persuades Jack to take her back to his Miami home, where she enters a modern world, replete with South Beach models and Jell-O shots. A humorous fish-out-of-water romance, Booklist magazine said in their review that "fans of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries and Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted (1997) will embrace this charming, lightweight fantasy." Publisher's Weekly called the book, "clever and humorous," while HornBook magazine called it "satisfying."
Is a melange of several fairy tales, including The Frog Prince, The Shoemaker and the Elves, and The Six Swans. Set in Miami, it tells the story of a teen who works at the shoe repair counter at a posh South Beach hotel until he is sent on a quest by a princess, whose brother has been turned into a frog and set loose in the Florida Keys. It was released on January 26, 2011.
Many of her books have made the American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults lists, as well as Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. They have also received such teen-selected honors as the International Reading Association Young Adult Choices list (Breathing Underwater, Nothing to Lose, and Fade to Black). Flinn's books seem to appeal to teens who might otherwise prefer not to read, which is the charge of the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list. Her books have also been nominated for numerous state awards. Breathing Underwater won the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award in 2004. Beastly was nominated for the 2009 Lone Star State (Texas) Award and recently won the teen-selected Detroit Public Library Author Day Award.
- Flinn, Alex. "About the Author". HarperTeen. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "2005 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). American Library Association. 2005. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- Official website
- Official blog
- "Love is Not Abuse" curriculum, copyright, 2006, Liz Claiborne, Inc.
- Hollywood Reporter Article  "CBS Films Sinks Teeth Into Beastly", December 5, 2007
- Alex Flinn at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Alex Flinn at Library of Congress Authorities, with 11 catalog records