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One to Watch

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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.

417 pages, Paperback

First published July 7, 2020

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About the author

Hi! Thanks so much for coming to my GoodReads page. I love reading and writing the most, and I'm amped as hell to connect with you and talk about both those things. (Or fashion? Or reality TV? Or Taylor Swift? We contain multitudes.)

You can also find me on Twitter (@_ksl) and Insta (@__ksl) if you're into that sort of thing. Official bio below, happy reading! xx

Kate Stayman-London is a novelist, screenwriter, and political strategist. She served as lead digital writer for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and has written for notable figures ranging from President Obama and Malala Yousafzai to Anna Wintour and Cher. When not writing or traveling, Kate can be found obsessively ranking Taylor Swift songs, laughing loudly with friends over really good bottles of wine, and of course, watching reality TV. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,754 reviews
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
1,979 reviews3,301 followers
August 9, 2020
*Note: I also have a 17-minute video review of this one! https://youtu.be/TdfRiQLbq_A

This is one of the most FRUSTRATING books I have read in a long time! It had the potential to be truly incredible, but in my opinion really dropped the ball. This could have used another round of edits and sensitivity readers who might have caught some things. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people give high ratings to this though because

1) It has a fantastic concept! The first plus-size woman on a Bachelorette-type show? Sign me up!
2) It's very easy to read. I breezed through it and there's a lot that fun and melodramatic, especially if you are a Bachelor fan, which I am. (Despite recognizing it's real problems with diversity, which I was excited to see addressed!)

HOWEVER I've got issues with it. And they are mostly things that could have easily been fixed with the above suggestion- namely more editing and sensitivity readers!

1) This is marketed as body positive with fierce and fashionable plus-size heroine looking for love. I was anticipating a heroine who loves herself and her body, and is ready to put herself out there, knowing there are men who will be interested. And I was READY for it! Ready for a heroine I could identify with and root for as she she undermines problematic standards of beauty.

Instead what we get is a heroine who puts up a good facade, but internally is deeply, painfully insecure and refuses to believe that conventionally attractive men could be into her, despite CLEAR EVIDENCE to the contrary! She's so whiny about it and spends way too much time thinking and talking about how she's too fat for these men to actually want to be with her. Not to mention the fact that she spent YEARS pining after this guy who was a shitty friend, even after he was in a long term relationship. Early on in the book she sleeps with him while he is ENGAGED to someone else, and then is devastated when he ghosts her! She's 30 years old and has the emotional maturity of a college student. And this is a heroine I'm supposed to be identifying with and rooting for? Nope. Sorry, this is not what I signed up for.

At the show reunion she suddenly begins spouting all these mature and thoughtful things and it's a complete 180 for her character in a completely unbelievable way. Where was all this maturity and confidence when you were actually on the show?! Not that you can't have a heroine who has moments of insecurity or is hurt by the nastiness of internet trolls, but this ventured so far beyond that it's scarcely relevant.

2) On top of which, I had some issues with the fatness representation. On the show, she talks a good talk about negative and false stereotypes, but in practice she completely plays into them. Shall I enumerate the ways?

- There is lip service paid to the idea that fat people can have healthy diets. But we get a shopping list for her that is primarily lots of chips and soda, nary a vegetable or fruit in sight. Not that you can't have a character who indulges or enjoys richer foods, but can we please have a fat heroine who enjoys a dessert but also eats a salad?! I hate this stereotype and this book did nothing to combat it.

- Another common misconception is that fat people are never physically active. So does Bea talk about her yoga classes, or her love of cross fit, or dance? Nope. She freaks out when bachelors who are personal trainers get judgmental, but we could have had her snapping back about how she already has a fitness routine she loves and is happy with her body. But we don't. Then we get her at her high school talking about how she tried to get out of gym class and hated sports. Way to go with all the stereotypes there.

- We find out early on that Bea (heroine) did not go to prom because she couldn't find a dress. Now, Bea is 30, I'm 33, and I can tell you that when she was getting ready for prom, as an American woman, there were definitely options available for prom dresses. A decade earlier? Maybe not. I can't help wondering if the author wrote her own experience onto this, but at least for me it didn't ring true.

- Bea has this big moment late in the book where she sleeps with someone and leaves the light on for the first time. I can't help wondering, is this REALLY still a thing? And a heroine who's supposed to an icon for body positivity but she can't be seen while having sex? I just....don't get it. There's a place for heroines who have this level of insecurity, but based on the marketing, this book wasn't it. We deserve a fat heroine who has a collection of sexy plus-size lingerie that she isn't afraid to show off.

- I struggled with the fact that she is so certain thinner men won't be into her. That certainly exists, but there are plenty of men who aren't themselves fat that are into larger ladies. And yes, even in Los Angeles. Like my husband. Who I met in the LA area. I mean, you're a fashion icon! Will you face some discrimination? Yes of course, and that's worth talking about, but the extremes this went to played into this negative stereotype of fat women being pathetic and desperate. Does that change by the end? Sure, but that never needed to be her character arc in the first place.

3) (oh you thought I was done? Ha!)

It's clear that the author holds liberal ideals, but the way it's done in this book feels like checking off boxes and feeling good about it while missing some of the racist and problematic depictions that, again, could have been easily adjusted. Lesbian best friend? Check. Guy on the asexual spectrum? Check. Kid who is gender non-conforming? Check. Black and Asian love interests? Check and check!

Except...the POC men are not handled well at all.

Sam is a Black man who is introduced as a Michael B. Jordan look-alike. Which, yes please! But then, if you didn't pay close attention you might NEVER REMEMBER that he's Black! No descriptions of warm brown skin when they're making out etc. Nothing. Until the very end of the book where we are suddenly reminded again that, oh yeah! I guess he's Black! That was such a missed opportunity. Especially because he comes from an elite and wealthy family with parents who have high expectations. This could have opened a conversation about opportunity gaps and race in America. But instead we get more of Bea whining about how no one could be into her. On top of which, Sam is this kind and happy go lucky guy, but he lives at home and doesn't know what he wants to do. Which....I get what she was going for here, but since there is a long history of Black men in America being negatively stereotyped as lazy and feeding off the system, this feels like a real mis-step. She could have had him interested in writing, or art, still allowing for a conflict with his family who want their kids to be doctors or lawyers, but avoiding this problematic depiction.

While Sam is the most egregious example of this, we have similar problems with Asher, our Asian love interest. Again, playing into stereotypes, he's very academically minded (a history professor) and the most reserved and uptight of everyone, not to mention hesitant to get sexy. (Even if he has other reasons for this, it still plays into Asian men being viewed as less sexual, especially with the emphasis on Bea's mental connection with him, not a physical one) But hey, at least we HAVE an Asian man as a viable love interest!


On a positive note, the mixed media format was cool and she really nailed the reality TV aspect of this, as well as the hate women and especially fat women can get from internet trolls. I got a kick out of the nods to the Bachelor franchise and there were moments that made me giggle. But ultimately? This book was a huge disappointment, especially because it had so much potential. I can't help but wonder if the author having had a successful non-fiction writing career led to them not editing her the way that they should have. If so, it's really a shame because this could have been amazing. But this just wasn't it.
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews111k followers
September 23, 2020
This is such an addicting rom-com book with so many twists and turns, just like binging a guilty pleasure TV show! You can tell this is lovingly crafted for reality TV viewers because it has so many juicy plot developments and drama. I appreciate that the story became more than just reality show shenanigans and also tapped into the protagonist’s own emotional journey with self-love and acceptance. The addition of blog posts, magazine articles, tweets, etc. really reflected our culture and how we treat (and often politicize) plus size people, almost to a painfully accurate degree. This is the perfect book to buddy read with a friend because there were so many moments (both infuriating and hopeful) to yell to each other about. I had a lot of fun reading the entire time reading it and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. All in all, a very solid and feel-good story that would be perfect for dating reality show fans.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,474 reviews19.2k followers
July 10, 2020
I went into this one without really having any expectations and it ended up BLOWING ME AWAY. I loved this SO MUCH. I can't find the words to express how much it meant to me to see a fat girl THRIVING the way that Bea thrived in this book. I'm seriously just so happy. This book was fantastic. If you're like me and you also love love, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. It was SO MUCH FUN. I CAN'T STOP YELLING IN CAPS LOCK ABOUT IT YOU JUST NEED TO READ IT. Also- I highly recommend the audiobook! It was really well done and made the experience EVEN MORE enjoyable. Just all around 10/10 recommend this one. IT WAS SO GOOD.

TW: fatphobia, cheating
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,134 reviews39.3k followers
November 14, 2021
One of my fast, smart, entertaining, feel-good books!

It’s refreshing, relaxing and motivational. This is not only plus size fashion blogger’s journey to find her love of her life, it’s her inner journey to realize she deserved to be loved, cared and she have to make peace with her appearance and inner fears to live brighter future she dreamed of.

Bea Schumacher’s life changes when she takes a trip in Paris (lately I read so much books about the city and I start to believe it has its own magical powers!) and change her fashion style, gaining more self-confidence and voila, she starts making videos, finding her power at social media with her creative ideas and now she gets offer from Main Squeeze reality show. Her brand new occupation requires fantasy dates! Another version Blind Date meets Bachelor meets Love is Blind (my husband started to watch it, can you believe it? I’m afraid the home quarantine will eventually fry the rest of his brain cells!)

Bea’s heart is already broken after her long time crush a. k. a her best friend (she should make better friend choices!) and she had a one night stand and he ghosted her! Yes, bastard ruined her self-esteem and now she deserves to have fun. And maybe but just maybe, she can find someone she may truly fall in love.

I think her dating parts are a little superficial, unrealistic but the parts about Bea’s inner fight, her vulnerability and her insecurities prevent her share true self with the world are remarkable. Those sincere parts help us connect with the heroine and understand her pain, her struggle and her need of approval.

Overall: Even though I didn’t get interested the reality show premise and dating parts, I loved Bea and her self-discovery journey and I also enjoyed the supporting characters who contributed Bea’s meaningful journey. (Especially Sam, Asher and Marin) So I give 3.5 stars and I’m naturally rounding them up to 4!

So much thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing/ Dial Press for sharing this amazing ARC in exchange my honest review and help us get through these stressful days with the healing power of great books.
January 19, 2022

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ONE TO WATCH is a book that perfectly captures all of the cringe of reality television, while also providing a pitch-perfect look at the behind-the-scenes manipulation of the reality TV industry, the way people view women's bodies, and what it means to be an empowered woman in a society filled with double-standards. This could have been a heinous, horrible book in the wrong hands, but in Stayman-London's hands, it became a new fave.

Body positivity. I feel like this book really does a great job with its heroine, plus-sized fashion blogger, Bea. She's just an ordinary woman who happens to wear a size 20, which is a pretty typical size for a lot of American women, although a lot of us think of that as unusual because we don't see women with bodies like that in TV or magazines. When Bea is called to be on the very show she criticized on her blog, people treat it like she's breaking a very controversial barrier, even though those barriers should not exist. The body positivity movement has its flaws but I feel like those are addressed here: there's a HUGE difference between living a healthy lifestyle and judging others for the way they look.

The rep. In addition to Bea, who is plus-size, there is a lot of diversity in the guys she's supposed to date (which she demanded on her show). One of the love interests is Asian, one of the love interests is black. There is a character in here who is gender-nonconforming and a character in here who is asexual. One of the (male) love interests is a virgin, and it's treated so respectfully, which I definitely felt like was a call out to how The Bachelor and all of the promo handled Colton, where everyone made SUCH A BIG DEAL OVER IT, whereas here it feels totally normal.

The portrayal of social media and reality television. I loved all of the multi-POVs in here, which I usually can't stand. But the blog posts, the Tweets, the comments, the podcasts, and the mailing groups were just spot-on with how people talk. I felt like the blog posts were a really great portrayal of how people really do consume and write about media. The comments and Tweets about Bea are (sadly) an accurate reflection of how people talk to and about women with a prominent online presence, especially if those women aren't considered conventionally attractive.

The romance. OH MY GOD, so usually in reality TV about dating there's just a whole bunch of jerks and all the good guys get voted off immediately, which is why I find watching them so frustrating (you get invested, you know?), but here, there are a number of good guys that I loved. (And also a ton of guys that I loved to hate, and hated to love.) I'm so picky about chick-lit, and haven't enjoyed a book THIS MUCH since the heyday of Meg Cabot and Plum Sykes and Jennifer Weiner circa the late 90s and early 2000s. This was SO MUCH FUN and I was obsessed with Bea's journey not just to find love, but also to find happiness and to love herself.

The feminist themes. Honestly?? So good. Bea was the perfect blend of vulnerability and empowerment. She wasn't portrayed like an icon. A lot of her insecurities were things that I, as a plus-size woman, really related to. She made mistakes and could be irrational and selfish, but I could see myself making and doing a lot of her decisions and having those same doubts. But despite all that, there was an overarching message that women shouldn't have to settle for less, and they shouldn't have to apologize for being the way they are. I loved that about this book; it kept it from feeling exploitative, because it had the heart, and didn't portray this as a throwaway thing.

The hate-watching cringe. ONE TO WATCH is seriously just like watching a television show, and I hope there are spin-offs because I WOULD TOTALLY READ MORE OF THIS WORLD. I found myself rooting for various love interests, and wanting to scream at the book when drama surfaced, especially the love-hate relationship between Bea and the director of the show (omg, Lauren, like, CAN YOU NOT). I don't think I've ever read a book that captures the vibe of reality TV this well, only it's better than any reality TV show that I've seen in like ten years, so.

I found myself at a crucial point about 370 pages in where I knew it was a make-or-break moment, which would determine whether this book was four or five stars for me. The book didn't choose the ending I wanted though-- it one-upped me and found an even better one. I honestly hope that this becomes a movie, because if it doesn't... PEOPLE ARE MISSING OUT. This is the best chick-lit book that I have read in years, and I honestly couldn't put it down once I really started reading.


Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 

5 stars
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books74.3k followers
December 6, 2020
Decir que este libro me tuvo ultra picada es un understatement, NO LO PODÍA SOLTAR.
Profile Image for Jasmine Guillory.
Author 20 books20.4k followers
February 21, 2020
Yes indeed, I read this book in one day, that’s how much it pulled me in and made me want to keep reading. It’s so fun and entertaining and also super smart about body image and the way the media treats women and I loved it a lot. Anyone who watches The Bachelor should totally read this, but I don’t watch it and I loved it anyway!
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,314 followers
October 27, 2020
*5+ stars* *Spoilers*

One to Watch is a story with nuance,
profundity and a cast of diverse characters. I was wrung out and palpably affected by Bea and her not so merry band of suitors.

Note to authors: This is how you represent people. A plus-sized lead. A Black co-lead (who isn't the bad guy) and an Asian love interest who isn't the stereotypical tech nerd. Likewise, myriad sexual preferences were respectfully depicted. I swear this author exceeded expectations I never knew I had.

Stayman-London has now joined a small but elite group of authors who use their platform and brand in advocacy for those who've been oppressed and underrepresented. She's definitely one to watch.

Highly recommend!
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,041 reviews47.7k followers
November 25, 2020
probably wouldn't have picked this up on my own since it leans more women's fic/chick lit (hate those terms but dunno what else to call this) than romance BUT this was really good

Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
1,839 reviews4,678 followers
August 9, 2020
2.5 Stars


This was not the fat rep that I was looking for. Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed the premise of the book. I love reality shows and I love reality shows that have a touch of romance. This book definitely was written in a way in which it grabs the readers attention and it makes you feel as though you're desperate to figure out/know who Bea ends up with in the end. I was always anxiously awaiting the next "episode" in the book to figure out who was going to stay and who was going to be sent home. I definitely understand how people who are fans of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette end up enjoying this book.


Kate Stayman-London writes Bea to fit into fat stereotypes without possibly even realizing that she was doing so. There was a scene that depicted Bea ordering groceries and she ordered nothing but microwaveable dinners and bags of Doritos and other snacks. This fits into the stereotype that fat people are incapable of consuming other food outside out junk food and then she makes Bea fit into the stereotype of "fat people don't work out." It was just awkward to read a book that was seemingly attempting to uplift the voice of a plus-sized character while also writing that character into harmful stereotypes. I am fat/plus sized so it really wasn't the representation that I was looking for. While I resonated with Bea in other ways, these instances truly stuck out to me. I think that Kate did do a good job illustrating the insecurity that all people feel at some point in their life while putting on a "strong" front. I've dealt with that a lot. I've been strong on the outside, but still had to take some time to figure out the issues that I had internally. This may have been the reason why Bea didn't annoy me as a character when she had potential to drive me crazy. I think she truly wanted to be this strong powerful and self-confident woman on the inside as much as she way on the outside. I think the time frame in which Bea gained that internal confidence was unrealistic. It doesn't happen within the time frame of a reality TV show so her character development felt a bit unrealistic.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone else felt this way, but I felt like a few of the characters were used as a check list for representation. I read in an interview that Kate Stayman-London felt that as a queer woman she got tired of seeing shows like The Bachelor with little to know representation especially with body size, race, and sexual orientation/gender identity. So when she wrote this book she wanted to re-imagine The Bachelor in a different way. While I appreciate her attempting to create a more diverse reality show, I feel like characters were added to fit the criteria of Stayman-London's vision and they began to feel like check boxes. By doing this character didn't feel well-developed. In essence they were one-dimensional. It was particularly disheartening to read about a Black character that was essentially white-washed.

I think that this had potential to be such a powerful book for me, but it definitely fell short in quite a few areas.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,209 reviews26k followers
June 5, 2020
This was so cute. If you’re a fan of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette then I feel like this is a must read. This book centers on this romantic reality show called Main Squeeze, which is obviously very much inspired by The Bachelorette. Our main character Bea is a plus size fashion blogger and she publicly criticizes the show for not having more diverse body types on the show. Then, the show asks her to be the star of the next season, and 25 men are selected to fight for her attention and date her.

This was entertaining and dramatic as fuck in all the same ways that The Bachelorette is. Even if it’s fictional, it’s great to see what it would be like for a plus size person to be the star of a show like this. This book also has some other diversity to it that I wasn’t expecting.

This book got me out of a reading slump and I was enjoying the hell out of it, but it’s not quite a five star book for me. I got kind of tired of the news articles and the fan reactions to the show after a while. And I feel like the timeline of this story didn’t always make sense to me, I feel like she went from 25 guys to 5 guys so fast and idk the pacing was just all over the place? Also I didn’t like how sometimes we missed the big moments in this book, we just find out about them from a news article, when I would’ve liked to see Bea’s reaction to things in the moment they happen. The ending of this book ended up being just okay for me, but mostly over the top dramatic in the same kind of way The Bachelorette is haha. I guess I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re reading it for the romance, but I would if you are reading it for the fun reality show drama kind of stuff, which is why I wanted to read it, because I’m trash for romantic reality tv shows. 😅

I’m kind of hoping the author writes a sequel with the next season of the show cause I would auto-buy that 😌
132 reviews10 followers
July 6, 2020
This review can be found on my blog, here.

Whenever Bea stepped into patisserie to order something for herself, there were ripples of sideward glances, even occasional bald stares, the accusation always implied: It's your own fault you look like this."

"Even though my date didn't say or do anything to make me feel unattractive, being in that bar surrounded by thin people (ah, Los Angeles), it was perilously easy to backslide into this ubiquitous idea that I'd be so much more happier if only I looked like them."


Written by Kate Stayman-London, this book tells the story of Bea Schumacher, a plus-sized social media influencer and fashion blogger. The book breaks down her life, revealing how she became the woman she is in the book. While touching on the struggles she faced for being larger than the majority of the world that she lived in. However, the main focus of the book reflects specifically on how she landed her dating show where men compete for her affection.

Normally, I absolutely love when books have diversity within them like showing different races and body types as the lead roles. This, however, was not at all what I had anticipated it would be. I don't usually like talking down about books, but I did not enjoy any piece of this book whatsoever. As a plus-sized woman, I thought I would relate to the main character seeing as many of the overweight community frequently have similar stories and feelings. Instead, I felt like this was a terrible representation of larger women or larger people as a whole. Repeatedly in the book, the author tried causing us to sympathize with a woman who constantly insulted others for being thin or not finding her appealing. I hate when others attempt to make people feel awful for having a preference in what they like. I think this is something that should be unencouraged, you cannot claim someone is fat shaming you just because they don't find you attractive. Meanwhile, Bea spends years of her life obsessing over one man that she constantly describes as a "perfect" or "model-like" man. She is an entire hypocrite. She thinks it's okay for her to be attracted to a certain type of man but if anyone else is unattracted to her then it's wrong.

Not only was the hypocrisy bothersome, but her outlook on the world was also disturbing. Every place she went, she let her insecurities cause her to believe ill in others. Claiming she was being judged for her weight simply because people looked at her. It's an unhealthy thing to assume the worst of others because you have a hard time believing people could be looking at you and thinking something positive. She criticized restaurants, shops, and bars just because she felt out of place without anyone doing anything to make her feel this way. I understand what insecurity is because I likewise suffer it at times. However, I don't think that is an excuse to condemn others who have done nothing to deserve it.

The final thing I detested about this book was the writing format. I feel like fifty percent of this book contained nothing but texts, emails, blog postings, and other news outlets. It took me out of the story more than a few times. Mostly because not only did I already not feel like a connection with any of the characters, this was just a lazy way to describe what happened in the story. Rather than showing news postings and texts, I would have liked seeing the main character experience it and go through the emotions of things. She didn't. So it felt lazy and utterly boring.

The character overall was annoying, rude, hypocritical, and one-note. As I did not complete the book, she likely got better in the end, but I just personally could not stomach this. I may try once more in the future.
Profile Image for Brandice.
825 reviews
October 15, 2020
In One to Watch, plus-size fashion blogger Bea critiques the stereotypical casting of reality dating show Main Squeeze. Following her post, which goes viral, Bea is offered the chance to star in the next season of the show. After some hesitation, she decides to accept, maintaining the mindset that she will not fall for any of the men.

Bea meets a variety of bachelors on Main Squeeze, some she’s skeptical of, and others she’s immediately drawn to. She does question their motives, and her insecurities and self-doubt play a role in this story.

If you’re a fan of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, you might like this book. If you’re not a fan of the show, you might still like it. I have only watched one season of The Bachelor, one of the very first ones, back when I was in high school. While I love my share of reality TV, this show is not my jam.

Overall, I enjoyed One to Watch, an easy to read debut. Even if not specific to body image, most women can find at least some aspect of Bea’s mentality relatable. There were predictable elements in the story and while at first I appreciated the various forms of media included: articles, podcasts, group texts, etc., it felt like there were a lot of these as the book progressed.
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,481 reviews29.4k followers
August 13, 2020
Boy, I sure did love this one!!

Bea Schumacher is a popular plus-size fashion blogger, determined to show women they can look and feel beautiful, no matter what the fashion world and others may demonstrate.

But while she demonstrates confidence and pride outwardly, she doesn’t always feel worthy inside. And when the one man she’s been in love with forever leaves her hanging and hurting one time too many, she wonders if she’ll ever find the right person.

After a ranting blog post about a popular dating show’s lack of body diversity, the show’s eager new producer offers Bea the chance to become the next bachelorette on "Main Squeeze," so she could choose one lucky suitor among men vying for her heart. Bea wants to do it to show the world that you don’t have to be stick-thin to be worthy of love, and she hopes that she can further her career by appearing on the show.

However, the one thing Bea does NOT want to do is fall in love. Yet as much as she steels herself against getting her emotions involved, when amidst a group of handsome men (some of whom seem genuinely interested in her), going on romantic dates to beautiful locales, and being dressed in gorgeous outfits, how can her heart not be moved? But is true love possible from a show like this, or does her heart still belong to the man from her past?

I’ve never watched “The Bachelor” in its various permutations but I was utterly hooked on One to Watch . Having struggled with my weight most of my life, I recognized some of the things that Bea felt and thought the book did a great job in being realistic about the various reactions people had to her. All of the various dates and manipulations were pretty interesting as well, and I wondered how closely they hewed to the shows this was modeled on.

This is a funny, sexy, emotional book that I stayed up super late to finish. I could totally see this as a movie or series I’d absolutely binge watch!! Kudos to Kate Stayman-London for such a great story!!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,760 reviews32k followers
January 8, 2023
3.5 stars

I’m SO conflicted with this one. First off, I absolutely five star loved the first half. I thought it was so fantastic. I could relate to Bea and I found myself laughing out loud at so many parts. It was funny and heartwarming and just everything. 50-80% was also good, but then right after 80% things took a turn for me and I didn’t love all the drama and twists and turns. It was just too much for this reader. The last 5% I also really liked but that 15% towards the end brought my rating down big time, unfortunately.

Also- I need to get this off my chest for just a second… as an avid romance reader who reads hundreds of romance books a year- this is NOT what I would call a romance. Sure, it has some romance in it, but to me- not a romance. What it was was a fantastic debut novel. One to Watch is so well written and has amazing representation. Even though there was a section I didn’t love, I would recommend it to other readers because overall I liked it a lot and that issue could have definitely been more of a ‘me’ thing.

Audio book source: Libby (library borrow)
Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrator: Kristen Sieh
Narration Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Contemporary fiction/women’s fiction
Length: 11 hours and 42 minutes
Profile Image for Olive Fellows (abookolive).
567 reviews4,599 followers
July 13, 2020
Anyone with a reality show addiction can confirm that body shapes aren’t that diverse in our favorite shows. Appearances rank high across the lifestyle, dating, or competition-based programs we know and love, and the contestants seem to be selected based upon how well they fit a “traditionally” attractive mold. But in One to Watch, Kate Stayman-London’s debut novel, a plus-sized woman becomes the one to catch in a Bachelorette-style dating show.

In the early pages, Bea Schumacher uses her popular fashion blog to call out one of her favorite reality shows, Main Squeeze, for not featuring more women who look like her, a self-accepting size 20. The show responds by offering Bea herself a chance to find love on the show.

Bea accepts mainly because it will open doors for her professional career. She has recently gotten her heart broken by a complicated friends-turned-lovers situation that ended with a devastating ghosting. At first, Bea is invested in the show because of all it represents, but understandably remains apprehensive about actually opening up her heart again.

Episode by episode of Main Squeeze, we see Bea go on dates with the men and fight with her own insecurities that have plagued her since high school. Because even if a larger woman doesn’t hate her body, she is still painfully aware of the scrutiny of everyone’s eyes on her, especially if those eyes number in the millions. The classic dating show question, “are you here for the right reasons?” is doubly important for Bea as she wonders if any or all of the men are secretly “not that into” her solely because of her shape.

The reception Bea receives from the public is brutally realistic as she is supported in some corners and torn down in others. It’s part of what makes this story feel so real. That plus the hilarious addition of podcast transcripts and Slack channel discussions featuring commentaries by viewers who are, true to form, far too invested in the outcome of the show, will make any reality show fan feel oh so deliciously seen.

It’s nearly impossible not to start rooting for your favorite contestant as the book goes on. As it typically goes on these kinds of shows, the men start out as caricatures based on their hometowns and/or occupations, but as the season progresses, we find out what each of them have to offer and we get to see their bonds with Bea strengthen.

But this is reality TV, so the producers have some surprises up their sleeve. The drama is edge-of-your-seat good and Bea is a character you can root for as she navigates this new wild world and figures out what it is she really wants.

One to Watch is a sassy and smart take on reality television and there’s no way you’ll want to stop after one episode...er, chapter.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,386 reviews11.8k followers
March 18, 2021
I know you all are dying for an update. I am now 3 seasons into the Bachelor franchise, and I am happy to report that the book is indeed better than the show. However, I think I maybe hooked into the whole Bachelor discourse (especially the latest season), and I can't wait to see what new lows this pandemic is going to make me reach.
1) This is not a romance novel.

2) I have never had any desire to watch Bachelor/Bachelorette.

3) Do I need to start watching Bachelor/Bachelorette?

This book is a page turner! But outside of it being an unputdownable trashy reality TV bonanza, this book succeeded at offering a clever takedown of the Bachelor franchise, at presenting an astute commentary on the discourse around reality TV, fatness and women in the public eye, and, somehow, found positive things to say about the possibilities a show like Bachelorette can present. Well, color me surprised.

I am not exactly down with the ending, but can be talked into it.
Profile Image for Tina.
2,396 reviews1 follower
February 24, 2023
This is romance. I loved the character Bea, and I liked that she was plus size. I also like this bring up some of the problems with being plus size. I really did not like how the book changed between normal text, to emails, phone texts, messages, blogs posts, and more. It just took so much from the book for me, and that is the only reason I give it two stars. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher or author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review , and I want to send a big Thank you to them for that.

You can get this book from book of the month
Profile Image for Arini.
696 reviews1,553 followers
May 10, 2021
thought i was going to meet the fictional version of ✦ Ashley Graham ✦, but what i got was a DUD. who am i kidding, right?? apparently, thats just too much to ask. 😭

heres another plus-size heroine portrayed as,

➝ strong & confident on the outside but whiny & deeply insecure on the inside,
➝ always suspicious of people looking at her and afraid they’ll only see her weight,
➝ doesnt believe that conventionally attractive men could be into her; YET she—
➝ spends yearsss pining after one of those exact type of men and lets him yank her chains any chance he gets; she also—
➝ plays into the stereotypes she claims she wants to subvert.

say what, body positivity my a$$!!

this book was upsetting and triggering. even for me who’s the very opposite of fat. i think that women no matter the body type grapple with body image enough that we can all empathize with the heroine in some way. even so, as much as i sympathized with her putting on a facade and her self-doubting, i was also frustrated. please, not the heroine finding her self-worth after joining some dating show. 😭 though, i guess thats better than never feeling good about herself.

speaking of which, i’ve never been one to indulge in dating shows like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, but i think the book does a pretty good job in exposing how fabricated and manipulative reality TV sometimes are. NGL the producer of the show in this book annoyed the heck outta me cause i thought she was a b!tch and so insensitive. the dating show here is also juicy and full of drama. so if youre a fan of such programs, i think you’ll enjoy this.

on another note, the book also features a range of diverse characters. though, to me it seemed to be more for the purpose of fulfilling the diversity checklist than a genuine rep. i didnt agree with how the story took a turn at the last 30%, but what else is new?? i wouldnt call this a romance. womens fiction or chick lit is more like it. i think that the format of the book is interesting, but there are probably those who dont like and will find it irritating or confusing.

bottom line, i appreciated the character development, and im sure there are people who can resonate with this book and find it authentic. this just isnt exactly the fat rep i was looking for. 😬

still, this is a good book to BR with a friend!

(read as an audiobook)
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,048 reviews13k followers
Want to read
November 22, 2020
DNF at 150 pages.

This was a big yikes and so far from a book for me. It just might be me, but I could not stand anything about this book. Bea is NOT body positive whatsoever, even though she's a plus-size fashion blogger. Everyone was so nasty to her about there weight and she was so insecure about it. This is definitely not the book it was marketed as.

I urge you to check out Bethany's review because she said everything I was thinking!
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
858 reviews1,730 followers
September 27, 2020
I should not have picked this as I belong to the category who think the "reality tv" is scripted down to each word. Whatever is said and tried to show is for publicity and put on a show for to win the ratings and momentous fame. In this time of internet you are famous in the morning but by the evening everyone forget about you because there is always someone new to take/steal that fame. But I try to read something light for weekend reads, that cover and that blurb sold me the book despite my reservations about the reality tv shows.

I was excited to see how the author will play out the story about a plus size woman on a Bachelorette of show looking for love who also wanted diverse men competing for her. And the book failed me on both aspects. I wanted the protagonist to be confident of herself, her body but it was all sham. She was far from comfortable with her body, she blames her size for not having a love life and how her would be lover be ashamed of her. And this drama was stretched for almost 90% of the story. Sadly, she was not what I was expecting and not what the blurb sold me this story to be.

About the diversity, I can count on my finger tips about how many times the race or the body types of these suitors was mentioned. I felt cheated on with this lack luster drama. It was like watching any reality show with no win for body type and diversity which this story tries to sell.

Still there were one-two things that I liked about this book. 1) The social commentary about how people sat behind the safety of their computer screen and spit the poison about everything good and bad irrespective of whether it was effecting them or not. 2) the reunion chapter, why could not be the whole book like that?

But no reason to suffer other 7-8 chapters before you reach the reunion part.
Profile Image for Emily.
Author 15 books68.9k followers
July 5, 2020
I was really excited for this one, but it was still so much better than I even expected. The writing itself is fantastic--effortlessly fun and clever, with a multimedia aspect that somehow never felt gimmicky (I'm honestly not usually a fan of these kinds of elements, but... I genuinely loved it? The podcast transcripts were possibly my favorite part of the book). Beyond that, I found the tension impeccable. I truly had no idea how this book was going to end, and that made my reading experience incredibly propulsive. Read it in a day and a half.

Profile Image for aarya.
1,210 reviews
June 14, 2021
2020 Fall Bingo (#fallintorombingo🍁): ‪Plus-size Heroine on the Cover‬

Content Notes:

2.5 stars

Sooo... I have no idea how to rate this. I truly don’t. I devoured it in a few hours once my library hold came in, but I also disliked so many things? I couldn’t quit, either. It’s like, I know I’m reading something that scratches my trash id but also the Smart Criticism part of my brain is saying, “Hold on, what the fuck just happened and why aren’t we mad about this?”

Ironically, this conflict is what I feel when I watch The Bachelor. Fitting. I would not recommend this book without a gazillion caveats. The most important of them: the hatred Bea endures from trash/miserable stains on the human species is very real and very painful. It’s a lot, and please don’t read this book if you think 400 pages of external fatphobia will hurt you.

At the same time, I don’t think the book is bad fat rep either. I really related to Bea’s insecurities, self-love, and advocacy for fat women in the fashion industry. I don’t want to go into detail because once I start, I’ll end up writing thousands of words. I have complex feelings, mostly in the positive and “I don’t know” direction. I need a book club where we can argue about this book, because there’s a lot to talk about! At the end of the day, Bea loves herself and her body; she has zero intention of ever changing herself. And she finds a man who loves her exactly the way she is. That’s a win for me, conflicted feelings aside.

I truly have no clue how to rate this book, so I’m going with 2.5 “well, I don’t fucking know” stars. The funny thing is I disliked so many characters by the end (even Bea to a degree. I didn’t like anyone)!!! I wasn’t in love with the final ship. Hell, I was shipping these random Main Squeeze fantasy league players (Beth/Colin antagonize each other in the frequent excerpts of fantasy league texts) more than I was shipping Bea with her suitors! Then again, I devoured the story and couldn’t take my eyes off the page. I realize that I’m contradicting myself here. In my defense, it’s 2:30 am and my brain cells are too sleepy for reviewing.

As my friend Jenica said to me, it’s “right in the middle as compulsively readable, messy as hell, and somewhat problematic.” That just about sums it up.
Profile Image for Becca Gibbs.
30 reviews3 followers
June 14, 2020
Bea is extremely unlikable. It seems that her only personality trait is “poor me, I’m fat and no one could ever love a fat girl”. Her size is drilled into the reader’s head on every page. The dialogue between Bea and the men is unrealistic, cheesy, and completely exaggerated. The subplot with Ray is stupid, and the side characters - Marin and Lauren - are flat. The overuse of transcripts, news articles, even food delivery receipts (I mean really??) is lazy and to cover up for the fact that London could not create a fluid narrative no matter how hard she tried. The overuse of parentheses is irritating and the writing throughout is poor, not to mention to multiple spelling and grammar errors throughout. This book could’ve been great, but the writing was absolute garbage.
Profile Image for Léonie.
84 reviews3,218 followers
April 29, 2021
omg this was SO fun I loved it SO much!! I am so proud to say that I predicted this exact conclusion/ending and also absolutely loved it??? like wtf??!!

Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,011 reviews15.7k followers
October 18, 2020

This book was SO FUN! I am a proud member of Bachelor Nation and this book was seriously better than any season of the show. Bea would have hands-down been my favorite Bachelorette ever. But I don’t think you need to have watch the show to love this book. This is without a doubt one of the most authentic, entertaining, and diverse books I’ve ever read. Kate Staymam-London has elevated the chick lit genre with this engaging story.

Bea is a popular plus size influencer. She is a vivacious, beautiful, kind, and wonderful Character. Bea is so great about lifting up others she really needs to spend some time lifting up herself. When Bea is asked to be on a Bachelor type show called Main Squeeze she’s decides to do it for all the plus size ladies in the world. The show is a rollercoaster filled with emotion, drama, exotic locations, and a diverse cast of potential main squeezes. Just like the real show there were men that you were rooting for and men that you were hating on. It was fun and occasionally uncomfortable watching Bea navigate her way through the show.

This book really exceeded my expectations. I was anticipating a fun read but this was just so much more than that. There was just something so empowering about reading Bea’s Journey. And the ending was actually more than I could’ve ever hoped for. Cannot recommend this debut enough.

*** Big thank you to Random House for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for Rachel.
352 reviews157 followers
January 4, 2023
As someone who has no interest in ever watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette, I am honestly surprised by how entertained I was by this book that was inspired by these shows. It is well-written, and a fun debut. I liked the diversity and size inclusion (I saw some reviews that felt like the message was that only plus size bodies are “real” bodies, but that wasn’t really what I was picking up from it).
For people who don’t like their romance super smutty, you will probably be happy because it wasn’t explicit, there are a couple of scenes but there aren’t really specifics or details.
Profile Image for Katie Colson.
644 reviews5,592 followers
November 13, 2021
Omg I loved it! This is what the doctor ordered. I was gasping at parts of this book. I was screaming “NO! NOT HIM! DEAR GOD ANYONE BUT HIM!” Or “no way! OMG! For real?!” And I adore when a book makes me do that.

This was truly like reality tv. If you love the Bachelor, you’ll love this book.

Wyatt loves rent free in my head always. What a sweet storyline.

I definitely recommend this book. It isn’t talked about enough
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