Published by Dial Press on July 7, 2020
Buy on Amazon
Real love...as seen on TV
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.
“You can live a long life never being hurt–and never quite being happy. If that’s what you want.”
I feel like I’m giving out 5 star reviews like Oprah lately. After residing in Slumptown most of the year, I’ve been slowly clawing my way out by catching up on all the books I was most excited about, and much to my delight (and utter surprise) I found another that lived up to its promise…ok, that lived up the the cover bait that I so completely fell for before I read the blurb. I laughed, I cried, and I could not stop reading One to Watch.
We’ll make a great TV show. We’ll show America that plus-size women deserve to be the leads of their own stories. And you’ll be a fucking star. I’m not seeing a downside to this — are you?
The premise is simple: fat girl goes on a Bachelorette-esque show in an attempt to further her career as a fashionista, but winds up falling for some hunka hunka suitors. (Why isn’t someone actively creating this show please?) What unfolds is anything but simple though.
It felt like terror. It felt like freedom. It felt like the beginning.
Very early on, I almost quit this book. Not because it wasn’t serving up brilliance, but because I felt too seen. I had this very vivid Killing Me Softly vibe – I felt this book had “found my letters, and read each one out loud.” Rarely do I look like the main characters in the books I adore so much – Bea was different, she was like me. I know too well sometimes finding the only thing that will fit on a shopping spree is a killer lipstick, the subtle look of disappointment on a blind date when you show up, the absolute filth strangers think they can post on your social media if you have the audacity to look happy in a bathing suit. The decision by Kate Stayman-London to not pull any punches on what being a fat (and fucking fabulous) woman in this world was brutal, but I’m so glad she made that choice. For the first time, I got to read a character like me failing hard at love because she was afraid, but ultimately finding herself and that HEA.
All she could know for certain was that if she said yes, her life would change. In the end, that was enough.
I’m so grateful One to Watch exists in the world, and I can’t wait for the next book I see someone like myself to beautifully represented.