The Once Upon a Con is one of my favorite contemporary series. Poston always delivers sass, meet cutes, and plenty of geeky references. While Bookish and the Beast doesn’t take place at a con, unlike Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl, it has the same re-telling vibe and fabulous characters. Keep reading my book review to see why I enjoyed this sequel!
Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.
On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.
When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.
But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Bookish and the Beast, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, may be simultaneously one of Poston’s largest departure from what you might expect and the most subtle. Let me explain. It doesn’t take place at a convention, but it takes place in the same Starfield world starring Vance Reigns from The Princess and the Fangirl. If you’ve come expecting something that is ultra geeky – like how I associate books one and two – you may be disappointed as it’s more subtle and geared towards books.
Characters and Sass!
But Poston still delivers the geekiness and some of my favorite touches was how in love with books Rosie was and the video games Vance plays (I love the dating simulator touches!). And the same amount of detail to characters that I have come to associate with Poston is present. I loved reading the ways that Beauty and the Beast was transformed in Bookish and the Beast. There are so many wonderful touches. From Vance’s characterization in Hollywood, the consequences of Rosie’s working for Vance, and more, the re-telling elements were incredibly clever.
I will always love bookish characters and Rosie is going to make the list! She’s incredibly sassy, supportive of her friends, and has some great quote-worthy lines about her love of books. At the same time, I really loved how this dual POV novel illustrated Vance’s depth (and I loved his friendship with Imogen!). It was great to see some diverse side characters like Rosie’s bisexual librarian Dad and her nobinary best friend. These three side characters took my entire heart – SPACE DAD!
Bookish and the Beast is full of character. They formed the backbone for a plot that kept the pages turning. While I missed the convention setting, it was also lovely to see more of the high school setting. I appreciated seeing the ways the Starfield world could expand in this new setting. If you are searching for a book full of heart and charming characters, you can definitely add Bookish and the Beast to the list.