Title: One to Watch
Author: Kate Stayman London
Publisher: Dial Press
Release date: July 7, 2020
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing my with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
I absolutely loved this! It was everything I wanted and more. As a plus size woman, I connected with tis story on such a deep level. I often get nervous about reading books with plus size main characters. I don’t always feel like they are portrayed in the best light, but thankfully that was not an issue with One to Watch.
Bea Schumacher is a very successful plus size blogger. She has it all…a loving family, tons of loyal followers, and amazing friends. But when her heart is broken by her best friend she has been in love with for years, her world falls apart. Fast forward to when she is asked to be the next Main Squeeze (the equivalent to The Bachelorette). Bea accepts, but she has no idea what she is signing up for. Will she find love on a reality dating show?
Bea is such an incredible character. She goes on a powerful inner journey and it made my heart explode. She learns that she deserves love just as much as anyone else. Stayman-London did a beautiful job showing the reality of being a plus size woman in today’s society. Just like Bea, people all over the country deal with fatphobic comments. Whether it’s being told that crop tops aren’t for people with big stomachs or that plus size people will never find anyone to love them..fat shaming happens way too often.
The dating show/romance side of One to Watch was super unique. Instead of having one love interest, there were 25! Of course the list dwindled down and we were left with a few constituents that we got to know. I loved al of the dramatic twists along the way. They sure did keep the story interesting. I honestly had no idea who or even if Bea was going to end up with someone. I did have a fun time trying to guess though. There were two men in particular (no spillers!) that were the sweetest and I would love a spin off book(s) about them!
One to Watch was written in a multimedia format. Told through emails, podcasts, blog posts, texts, interviews and TV episodes, it was definitely a clever and fun way to tell Bea’s story.
Overall, this book was fabulous. One to Watch was fun and heartwarming. I highly recommend adding this to your TBR shelves! I will definitely be on the look out for Kate Stayman-London’s work in the future!