By the Book is a charmingly written romance and the second Meant To Be novel by Jasmine Guillory. Released 3rd May 2022 by Hyperion Avenue (Disney), it's 320 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats.
This is a sweet and completely escapist romantic modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast with an intelligent and strong protagonist Izzy as Belle and bad boy Hollywood hunk Beau as the Beast. I loved the plot centered on writing and the cutthroat publishing industry. It was sweet but not cloying and the dialogue really had me cheering for a happy ending.
It was predictable but in a comforting way. I smiled throughout the whole read. I also liked the healthy friendship between Izzy and BFF Priya. The book (for the most part) is free from the cattiness and subtle undermining that I feel is really prevalent in romances with strong female leads. Izzy isn't dumb, she's appealingly intelligent, and she stands up for herself, but doesn't ever come across as overbearing or arrogant.
Four and a half stars. This is a bookish and fun romance. For younger/more sensitive readers, there is some profanity and lots of "kissy bits" but nothing really explicit.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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