Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly: Book Review

April 11th, 2017 by

I’m a big fan of the one and only 🎶 “Tale As Old As Time” 🎶 — meaning the movie Beauty and the Beast. When I discovered YA author Jennifer Donnelly was writing the companion book, Lost in a Book, I couldn’t wait to read it!

Warning: There are some spoilers for the movie Beauty and the Beast (both the animated and live action versions) so if you haven’t seen it yet… get thee to the movie theater (or streaming site, for the animated film)! This book is recommended for 10- to 14-year-olds and is perfect for fans of either version of the movie, fantasy books, and classic mythology — especially the Greek myth of Persephone visiting the Underworld.

Lost in a Book takes place just after Belle runs away from the castle, only to be attacked by wolves and saved by the Beast. Belle and the Beast are slowly becoming friends, and all of the servants in the castle are kind to her, but she still feels lonely and longs for more.

In the prologue of Lost in a Book, we meet Love and Death: two sisters who politely bicker over the fate of all beings. They have waged a bet on who will capture Belle first: Will Belle fall in love first, or will she die? Love is confident that she will win, but Death sneakily decides to stack the odds in her own favor, sending Belle the magical book Nevermore.

Belle has always longed for 🎶 “more than this provincial life” 🎶 and Nevermore transports Belle to a world where she can travel to exotic locales, attend fancy balls, meet interesting people, and eat delicious food. But not all is as it seems in Nevermore

I don’t want to give away too much, so I won’t spoil any more of the book. Okay, just one more tidbit: The book does include a pretty intense chase scene that had me flipping pages very quickly — even though I knew Belle would survive, I was still stressed out for her!

The subtitle of Lost in a Book is “An Enchanting Original Story,” and that is precisely what the book is — just enchanting! It adds to the story of Beauty and the Beast, so if you’re a fan of either version of the movie or even the original fairy tale, you’ll probably enjoy this book. It was lovely to see the charming personalities of Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip on the page. The author captured the cantankerous and pompous personality of Cogsworth perfectly, and it was nice to see the friendship between Belle and the Beast grow. While you can read the book on its own, you’ll probably enjoy it even more if you’ve seen the movie because there are some Easter-egg-like references.

Have you seen the movie or read the companion book? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

— Nancy

Nancy has been listening and singing along to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack longer than most of you have been alive. She’s old(er than you), and she loves loves loves musicals, to the chagrin of any hearing-capable people and animals nearby.

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