A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Some science fiction books and authors discussed. A look at the downside of celebrity.
Healthy relationships of any kind are built on honesty and trust. Don’t assume you know what people are going through. It's OK to make mistakes. Admitting them and learning from them is an important part of personal growth. Practice forgiveness. Putting up walls around yourself doesn't make you strong, it mostly leads to loneliness.
Positive Role Models
Rosie is a smart, strong, caring girl. Friends Quinn and Annie are supportive of her. Vance is moody, often rude, but is covering up his own emotional issues and grows as a character. The adults are caring, loving toward the kids. Aside from Vance's uncle, who is Latinx, other characters are presented as White. Quinn is nonbinary, and a few other characters are bisexual, but they're not the focus of the story.
Violence & Scariness
A teen boy frequently harasses Rosie, mostly by refusing to take no for an answer when he asks her out. Characters fall and get mildly injured. A character gets a nose bleed when accidentally hit in the face with a door. A fight between three characters, with some punches, kicking, pushing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance is the main focus, so lots of talk about love, attraction, the sexiness of characters. A couple of erection and masturbation jokes, a few descriptive scenes of kissing and making out.
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Some strong language, but not frequent, including "butt," "d--kweed," "s--t," "ass," "hell," "a--hole," "balls," and British swear words "bloody," "shite," and "fecking." "God," "Jesus," and "Christ" used as exclamations.
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Products & Purchases
Brands and media mentioned for scene setting, including Pokémon, GameBoy, GoPro, iPad, YouTube, TikTok, Tumblr, Reddit, Ford, Tesla, TMZ, Twizzlers, and Starbucks.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bookish and the Beast, by Ashley Poston (Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl), is a modern version of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. The beauty is Rosie, a sci-fi-loving teen girl, and the beast is Vance, a bad-boy British teen actor who is starring in Rosie's favorite movie franchise. Vance is sent to Rosie's town to lie low after yet another high-profile scandal, and through a series of mishaps, the two end up spending a lot of time together. Of course, they irritate each other to no end at first, but then the fairy tale takes its natural course. The story is a romance, so expect lots of talk about attraction and some kissing and making out. There's some strong language ("s--t," "hell," and "God"), little violence, and no drinking or substance use. The book offers discussion opportunities around the downsides of being a celebrity and what happens when we judge people without knowing them.
Is It Any Good?
This modern take on Beauty and the Beast is a light confection of a story but is lackluster overall. Readers who love the two other books in the Once Upon a Con series will likely enjoy Bookish and the Beast, too. Everything is there: the meet-cute, the misunderstood handsome bad-boy, the fighting that ultimately sparks respect and romance, and the big romantic finale. Those looking for deeper plot and character development will be disappointed.
This installment of the series is missing some of the depth of the previous two. Yes, these are fairy tales, so the reader knows to suspend disbelief, but even so, the setup in Bookish and the Beast feels especially forced. When the reader knows the story's outcome, as most do with fairy tales, the author has to work a little harder to create great characters, settings, and dialogue to keep the reader engaged, and Poston does only a so-so job on that front.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.