Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston
Rosie Thorne feels stuck—she’s neither here nor there, and she just wants out of her small town life and her overwhelming grief. Until she smacks into teenage pop star Vance Reigns while saving a dog, accidentally destroys a rare book, and then is forced to work with the smug asshole (the actor, not the dog) to pay off the price of the book. Things can’t get any worse, can they?
“Really? Don’t like the political intrigue of the Noxian Court?” I slide up onto the stool beside him. “And the ball. I love the ball. Magic spells. Daring swordfights. A prince in disguise.”
“I definitely figured him out before chapter three,” he replies, amused, and puts a bookmark in before he closes the book.
Well this was super cute. Lots of queer rep (bi dad! bi male lead! nonbinary BFF!), and so many B&B Easter eggs (and, as much as I hate her, I was thrilled for the SJM Easter Egg because so many bookish books only have the character loving The Classics and honestly chuck that trope into the sun).
And the other Easter Eggs. Titanic. Howl’s Moving Castle (Vance is, quite literally, Howl). And so much more.
Right from the get-go, I loved Rosie. She’s a huge Starfield fan, although she’s never gone to ExcelsiCon before because it always seemed to big and too loud (I hear you girl, social anxiety is a bitch) and because she and her dad are paying off the medical bills after her mother’s death.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you are the daughter of a librarian who was also the president of your kindergarten’s PTA, your father will volunteer to be a chaperon at the Homecoming Dance just to destroy any prospects you might have for a good time.”
It’s definitely a sign that I am firmly in middle age and old, because I have long since stopped thinking YA heroes (or heroines) are cute (they are 18 or under and are fucking children). But now I have reached the age where I am…really into the parental figures? Rosie’s dad is a bi ex-rocker turned librarian and, well damn. Dude is super cool.
I also loved how absolutely queer it was, and how they got Rosie’s BFF into Homecoming with a wonderful gender neutral title of Overlord.
However, despite the pop culture references and book love, this was definitely the weakest installation in the series. I just wasn’t feeling Vance as a character or as a romantic lead—and the power differential between him and Rosie felt like it was too much. I was more interested in the off-page action of Elle and Darien than of the on-page banter between Rosie and Vance.
The ending faltered a bit, but it was definitely a fun read.
Maybe I’m just happy to see my favorite fictional fandom back in action. Maybe I’m just here for the books.
I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review