Once Upon A Con #3

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Summary from NetGalley:

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.

ARC provided by Quirk Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

This is the third book in a series, although it could be read with out having read the other two. The connection between all of these books is a fandom based on a fictional TV show called Starfield. While this book was a fun retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale it also fell a little flat for me.

The story is told from both Rose and Vance’s points of view, which was something I really liked. I liked both of them as individuals, but their romance just didn’t really work for me. Their meet cute at Escelsicon was wonderful and so fun, but when they meet up again and started spending time together it just sort of fell apart for me. Rose is a sweet book nerd girl who had a couple of wonderful friends. Vance was a Hollywood bad boy on the surface, but really was a sweet guy on the inside.

The plot is pretty basic and moves through the usual retelling tropes. I did like the relationship between Rose and her father, who apparently is a retired semi rock star that is now a librarian?! I really wanted more about that story, but still a nice father figure which doesn’t always happen in YA. Also, Rose’s friends were often a source of humor for the story and very loyal to Rose. I also liked the weird little subplot of one of the popular guys trying to get Rose to go to the homecoming dance with him. It was a tad creepy and felt a little out of place in the story, but it was still kind of fun. The whole homecoming dance was fun though.

The one thing that I was really missing in this story though, was ExcelsiCon. The first two books revolved around and mostly took place at this FanCon, and I really missed it. I think it would have been hard to do a Beauty and the Beast retelling with the Con as the setting, but I did miss it.

If you enjoyed the first two books you will like this one, especially if you like Beauty and the Beast retellings. I don’t think there is another book planned in this series, although I certainly hope there will be. If you have not read the other two, I do suggest you start at the beginning, although you don’t need too.

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