A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
What's the story?
In Bookish and the Beast, bad-boy teen actor and tabloid fodder Vance Reigns is sent to live in a small town after yet another publicity disaster. The idea is to keep him out of trouble and out of the spotlight for a time. Rosie, a teen girl who lives in the town, is a huge fan of the Starfield book, TV, and movie franchise, and Vance stars in the newest movie. Rosie finds herself in the huge castle-like house where Vance is living and ends up destroying a rare and valuable Starfield book. Because she and her dad can't afford to reimburse the owner for the damaged book, she agrees to work off the debt by organizing and cataloging the house's extensive sci-fi book collection. Vance is supposed to help her, but he's too busy moping about his exile and is too irritated by Rosie to actually be helpful. Complicating Rosie's life is Garrett, a popular classmate who refuses to take no for an answer when he publicly asks Rosie to homecoming multiple times. The story follows the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, in that Rosie and Vance don't get along at first, but they eventually let their guards down so that each can see the other's true nature.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about books and movies that are new versions of old stories, in the way Bookish and the Beast is the story Beauty and the Beast in a modern setting. Do you connect to the story better if the language and locations are more current? Do you think anything gets lost in the update?
Have you ever judged someone based on what you've heard about them or how their life looks from the outside? Have others judged you this way? Have you ever been wrong about your assumptions?
Are you a part of a fandom, for movies, books, or games? Have you connected with other fans and become friends with them because of it? Do you think fandoms can be too rabid sometimes?
- Author: Ashley Poston
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Fairy Tales, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Quirk Books
- Publication date: August 4, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: August 24, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love romance and fairy tales
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