Review | One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

“Everyone wanted so many things from her—to believe in herself and see her own true beauty, but not to be conceited, to know her place. Be more than your looks, but never speak out of turn. Don’t be defined by love, but remember, you’re nothing without it. Be a princess. Find your prince. You don’t need a man to complete you. Stand on your own two feet.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: fancy capes, interviews, engagement rings, online bets, family gatherings, blog articles, interviews, Ryan Gosling, stylish bathing suits, mean tweets, elimination rounds, designer clothes, culinary chefs, prom queens, lipstick colors, cruel words and a great fashion sense.

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.

This book is phenomenal. For the last few days after finishing it, I kept on thinking about this story and bugging my friends to read it. The funny thing is that I didn’t even plan on reading this book – I just picked it randomly and I ended up falling in love with the story!

Bea was a wonderful main character and I connected to her on a deeper level – maybe because I understood her feelings and attitudes throughout the book. Even though she had a lot going on (especially hate she constantly got for being overweight), she kept her head high. I was rooting for her happiness the entire time!

Still, I would say the coolest thing about this book is not only the format, but also the rawness of it all. This is a work of fiction, but everything I read made me feel like this could be a real story. Through its format – that included tweets, blog articles, text messages and conversation transcripts -, the book shows all the negativity and positivity that you would expect from a television production team picking a plus size girl to be the star of a tv show. You have a lot of people supporting it, but also a lot of people being against it… and I really liked how real it felt in that sense. The mean tweets and blog articles were brutal and it makes me really sad that this is a reality for a lot of people, but I’m glad this wasn’t a romanticized story.

Also, just as a side note,  I really liked all the fashion moments featured in this book. The descriptions of the clothes and fabrics gave life to Bea, in my opinion. This was a small detail I really enjoyed!

Being a debut novel, I was super impressed with the final result. The romance is great, but there’s so much more to this book that you get. Regardless of your opinion on plus size women and men, everyone deserves a shot at love. And regardless of shape and size, we all have our own value – you are not less of a person for not fitting the beauty standards of today.

Loved this book. This is a breath of fresh air that I will keep recommending to friends! If you like tv shows like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, this is a must read.


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