Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2020 with Ashley Poston

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as twenty authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Ashley Poston

Ashley Poston loves dread pirates, moving castles, and starry night skies. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in English, and went on to work at both Kodansha USA and Bloomsbury Publishing. But the dazzling bright lights of New York City couldn’t keep her away from old country roads, so she moved back home to pursue a full-time writing career.

Her books have been on the Indie Next List multiple times, and have been featured in Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Entertainment Weekly, Hypeable, and Buzzfeed, among others. She has also been a Goodreads Choice Finalist in 2017 for Geekerella, and a semi-finalist for The Princess and the Fangirl in 2019. She also wrote a critically-acclaimed space opera series, the Heart of Iron duology, which was named on 2018’s Rainbow List along with The Princess and the Fangirl in 2019.

When not writing, she can be found playing Dungeons and Dragons and writing fanfic. She lives in South Carolina with her bossy cat, and they are firm believers that we’re all a bunch of weirdos looking at other weirdos, asking for their username.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

Sophie Hatter never thinks things through.

She is the eldest daughter, and as such she is fated to take over her family’s hat shop and spend the rest of her life in the small town of Market Chipping. She rarely thinks things through, which she has admitted to herself on more than one occasion. If she never started talking to hats, then perhaps she wouldn’t have been cursed. If she had never been cursed, then she would’ve never wandered up the hill to the wizard Howl’s moving castle. If she’d never struck a deal with Calcifer, she might never have met Howl. She would stayed in her small hat shop in Market Chipping.

Sophie’s nosy, and sometimes she bothers where she shouldn’t, and she is often the hero of her own mistakes — but I think that’s what I love the most about her. No matter what life throws at her, she manages to make an even bigger mess of things. She isn’t malevolent about it — she genuinely thinks she’s trying to help when she accidentally sews Howl’s suits too large, or rearranges his hair dyes, or talks life into hats. She keeps messing up again and again, and every time she tries to correct her mistakes she just makes things worse.

And yet at the end of the story, even through her mistakes, she learns and she grows as a person — and most importantly, people love her through her mistakes. Her sisters, her mother, Michael and Calcifer and the not-dog and the scarecrow with the turnip head, and the wizard Howl even (who was definitely probably still very cross about her ruining his favorite suit).

Sophie Hatter came in to my life exactly when I needed her. When I was in high school, I wanted to be perfect — the perfect student, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend — and I was terrified of messing up. I was terrified to try new things. More than that, I was terrified that once I messed up, no one would want me. It’s silly now, thinking back on it, but in the moment it was a real fear of mine. I was afraid. And that’s valid.

But then I found Sophie tucked into a small paperback on the discount shelf of my local Books-A-Million, and I fell in love with her story, and her mistakes, and her gumption.

And, slowly, page by page, I began to think that maybe I didn’t have to be perfect, after all. I could try the best I could, and sometimes I would fail, but what mattered was that I kept learning. I started to give myself permission to be good enough. I didn’t have to be perfect.

I could just be me.

It was novel to give myself that sort of permission. It didn’t come instantly. I didn’t read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and suddenly everything was okay. The realization came slowly, piece by piece, but it started with a story of an eighteen year old young woman who went off to seek her fortune.

Find Howl’s Moving Castle on GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book DepositoryBarnes & NobleIndieBound

Title Bookish and the Beast (Book 3 in the Once Upon A Con series)
Author Ashley Poston
Intended Target Audience Target Audience
Genre Contemporary, Romance, Retelling
Publication Date August 4th 2020 by Quirk Books
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book DepositoryBarnes & NobleIndieBound

A tale as old as time is made new in Ashley Poston’s fresh, geeky retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

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.

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Jen is a thirty-something Canadian book blogger and bibliophile currently residing in the wilds of suburbia. Aside from a penchant for older men, particularly those with the surnames Firth, Elba and Norton, Jen is also passionately interested in running, Mad Men, and Marilyn Monroe. In addition to being a voracious reader and self-proclaimed television addict, Jen is also an aspiring children and youth services librarian who would like to pursue a MLIS and better help readers find the perfect book for them.