- Title: Bookish and the Beast
- Author: Ashley Poston
- Publisher: Quirk Books
- Release Date: 8/4/20
- Genre: Fiction
- Age Range: Young Adult
- Rating: ★★★
- Publisher’s Summary: In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe. 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.
I LOVE Beauty and the Beast. Belle is my favorite Disney princess. I was very excited that the third installment of the Once Upon a Con series took on Beauty and the Beast.
As a Beauty and the Beast superfan, I appreciated when the book directly quoted the 1991 Disney film. Rosie describes a book by saying, “Magic spells. Daring Sword Fights. A prince in disguise,” which is exactly how Belle describes a book in the film’s opening number. Moments like this made me smile.
Bookish and the Beast alternates between Vance and Rosie’s perspectives, which is one of my favorite book formats. I found Rosie very relatable as a fellow nerd who loves to read, but I had a harder time relating to Vance. I did appreciate that the chapters from his perspective give the reader a glimpse into his growth from a selfish rich boy to someone who truly cares for Rosie.
In Beauty and the Beast, Belle is very much a loner, but I loved that Rosie had two best friends in Bookish and the Beast who loved and supported her through the loss of her mother and through the events of the book.
Quinn, one of Rosie’s best friends, is non-binary, and I loved that this book included that representation. I definitely have not seen enough non-binary characters in the books I’ve read.
I would recommend this book (and the series) to my fellow Disney fans.
Food Pairing: Egg Rolls
As Belle and Maurice have a close relationship in Beauty and the Beast, Rosie and her father have a close relationship in this version of the story.
Rosie and her father frequently order takeout and there are several mentions of a favorite local Chinese restaurant, so I decided that egg rolls (which Rosie mentions as a favorite) would be the perfect pairing for this book.
I fully plan on one day learning to make egg rolls, but this time, I picked up frozen vegetable egg rolls from Trader Joe’s.
The egg rolls were full of different kinds of vegetables including mushrooms and edamame, but the wrapper was a little lacking. The wrapper wasn’t as thick and crunchy as I would have wanted and the veggies kept falling out of the middle of the rolls. Next time, I want to try the chicken egg rolls Trader Joe’s makes to see how those hold up!
I paired the egg rolls with Trader Joe’s gyoza dipping sauce, which was deliciously sweet and tangy. If you see it at your Trader Joe’s, I would definitely recommend trying it.