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About the Book
One to Watch
by Kate Stayman-London
Published 7 July 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 417
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?
Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.
But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads.
One to Watch is so much fun! I’m sorry to have missed it for almost a year already and glad I finally picked it up. This is reality TV’s The Bachelor / The Bachelorette in all but name, and plus size fashion blogger Bea Schumacher was selected as the next eligible young lady after publically challenging the show to be more diverse. What could go wrong? Everything.
This book is full of all the great beats you expect from the show it’s based on, plus all the great beats you expect from a happily-ever-after clean romance. Not everyone is on the show for the right reasons, and some of the ones who are, aren’t ready. You’ll be cheering for Bea all the way, laughing and crying with her, and you’ll definitely have a favourite guy. (Team Asher!)
There’s also plenty of healthy LGBTQ+ representation in this book. Bea’s best friend and outside confidant brought onto set is a loud and proud lesbian, at least one of the guys is definitely bi, and one of the guys competing comes out as aro-ace.
I’ve seen some criticism that while we got a lovable, fierce fat protagonist and that’s great, we didn’t get a fierce fat girl demonstrating that she’s making an effort to be healthy and love what she’s got. We just get a fat girl who tries her best to love herself. The criticism I’ve read points out that despite all the food and meals mentioned or even focused on, there aren’t many veggies, and despite the repeated focus on fitness from the men, we never get a mention of anything Bea ever does to take care of herself in that way. Basically, body positivity at every size is great, but let’s show body positivity from someone who is actively trying to be healthy at her size. My stance is I get it, I hear that, and I don’t disagree, but I also don’t think that’s what this book was trying to be about. That might be something to address in a sequel, be it Bea’s “happily ever after,” or be it the next season with her rejected suitor who wants a diverse cast of ladies on his upcoming season.
Overall I think this is a really cute book with some great 21st century messages. I recommend this to all fans of shows like The Bachelor, all fans of romance, and all readers who like a little romance but aren’t sure about romance titles lest they turn out to be more boudoir than you bargained for (this isn’t!)
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