For my first review of 2021, I’m revisiting the world of Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series. We started with Geekerella, the story of a fangirl who ends up getting a direct line to the star of the movie version of her favorite TV show…but she doesn’t know it’s him. Then we ventured to The Princess and the Fangirl, wherein a normal girl switches places with a famous actress to uncover a saboteur. Now, we visit a young lady who wins over a beastly young disgraced actor in Bookish and the Beast.
Rosie is the Beauty in the pairing, she who wants much more than this provincial life (That was actually directly quoted in the book, as well as a few other memorable lines from the Disney movie). Her plan is to get into NYU, although the admissions essay is giving her trouble. She doesn’t have a lot to make her stand out, and she refuses to use the recent death of her beloved mother as inspiration.
She is being pursued by Garrett, the most popular boy in school. Garrett thinks that if he wins Homecoming King, Rosie will have to attend the dance with him. Rosie isn’t interested, and tells him so. Unfortunately, Garrett doesn’t believe in taking no for an answer.
Meanwhile, Vance Reigns is an actor in the Starfield movies. He recently encountered a scandal with Elle/Geekerella that ended with a car in a pond and broke up Elle and Prince Carminder/Darien. Vance was exiled to stay in a small town to get out of the spotlight, at least until he turns 18.
The pair meet when Rosie follows a dog into a castle-like large house. She thought the place was abandoned, but was surprised by the library that contains a massive collection of sci fi, including the entire Starfield series, the books her mother used to own that they were forced to sell to pay for her hospital bills. Suddenly, Vance appears and startles Rosie, who runs away into the backyard…straight into the pool…while holding one of the very valuable books.
In order to make up for the $1500 book, Rosie agrees to work in the house, arranging and cataloguing the library as a surprise for the owner. The two don’t get along, and Vance isn’t very agreeable to helping with her task. After some mishaps on Rosie’s part, eventually Vance softens to her and realizes what an a-hole he has been. There’s also he fact that the two of them met at a convention not too long ago and had a great night getting to know each other. Vance worried that Rosie would exploit all his secrets, while Rosie thought that Vance was disappointed to meet the real her
Of course, they eventually come to like, then even like like each other. It is nice how Vance knows how to take no for an answer, when he’s all famous and isn’t even used to hearing the word. There’s still another misunderstanding and need for more reconciliation, but these are fairy tales. Of course they’re going to live happily ever after.
P.S. These books are fantastic in how inclusive they are, lots of great LGBTQ+ characters. In this book, Rosie’s non-binary friend runs for Homecoming Overlord in order to save her from Garrett, and it’s awesome.