Review: One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

So, funny story (not really): I was fortunate enough to get a NetGalley copy of this book at the end of May. A couple of days later, it was also a June Book of the Month selection as an early release, so I got a very cute hardcover, too. And still didn’t manage to read it until after it published. 🤦🏻‍♀️

What it’s about

From the Goodreads description:

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.

Full disclosure: I don’t follow fashion blogs, wouldn’t have the faintest clue about being ‘devastatingly stylish,’ and have never seen a single episode of The Bachelor or any similar shows. Still, I found some enjoyment here!

My thoughts:

This book was a good summer read: it’s a fun romance, with a likable enough main character and some intriguing love interests, and the writing is light and funny. I started it last night and finished today, so it can’t be said that I wasn’t in to it.

The book isn’t without issues, though: Bea is sold to us as a body-positive influencer who is confident with how she is and looking to blaze the way for women who don’t fit the size norms. All of that is great, except she’s really not those things. Bea does a lot of whining, and seems to think it’s impossible that any man, especially a conventionally handsome one, would find her attractive.

While there is a lot of diversity thrown in to this story in addition to the plus-size MC (a lesbian best friend, an asexual character, a non-binary child, suitors of multiple races), some of this feels superficial and written in just because. I would have loved to see a bit more depth there, although to be fair, depth isn’t really the point of this book.

Still, the premise is so fun, and the book was literally impossible to put down as the show unfolded. When she wasn’t whining, I liked Bea and was rooting for her to find some happiness and truly feel comfortable with herself. Some of the bachelors she got were super hot, and that didn’t hurt my feelings at all. I loved the over-the-top drama of the television show production.

Come for the trash-tv, romantic fun, and you won’t be disappointed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

6 thoughts on “Review: One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

  1. This is the l the first review that I’ve seen that mentions that Bea is not as body Paige positive as the synopsis claims.

    Great we’ll rounded review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was concerned that trying to mix something as superficial as The Bachelor and having a fat main character wouldn’t equal out to as much body positivity as the synopsis claims. Sad to see it true, but this still sounds like an entertaining trash read, so I’ll keep it on my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m currently concentrating on galleys for August and once I get caught up I’m going to do my best to do a better job of getting them read before they publish. Eek!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same! I’ve got two that are coming out this month that I’m gunna try and get read in time and the next published one isn’t until November, I think so backlogged stuff until then.

        Like

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