One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
I’ve been in a semi slump for the month of August and the only books that I’ve really enjoyed have been rereads of my favorite books. Which has been not fun
and has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been watching a lot of tv.
I recently listened to Kate Stayman-London & Morgan Matson (one of my faves) talk about this book on a virtual panel and knew I needed to read it. I was eagerly waiting for my library hold to come in and once it did, I was ecstatic that One to Watch grabbed my attention almost instantly. I read it in two sittings. Tbh I would’ve stayed up and finished it, but I can’t stay up until 2 am reading books anymore because I’m old and have a job boo.
Lowkey I want to be friends with Kate because she worked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign and is obsessed with Taylor Swift and the Bachelor.
We follow Bea, a plus size fashion blogger (& low-key influencer) as she gets cast as the lead of Main Squeeze, an alternate universe Bachelorette. Bea is skeptical but cannot pass up the opportunity for her career and she wants to show that plus sized women deserve to be main characters in story and find love. Things get off to a rocky start, but slowly Bea starts warming up to the idea and is not as skeptical. Could she actually fall in love?
I love the Bachelor. I started watching it in 2013 and some of my favorite college memories include watching it with my friends. I recently got Bree into the show and we sometimes will watch it together. My favorite thing about the show is not the fairytale, I am too much of a cynic for that, but talking about it with my friends and all the tweets from Bachelor Nation. The reason I still talk to one of my college friends is because of the Bachelor. I was visiting another friend and the reason I bonded with her roommates was because we all liked the Bachelor and watched two episodes together. There is nothing like reality television to bring women together.
Sidebar: As much as I love the Bachelor franchise, their lack of diversity in body type and seemingly reluctance to cast people of color (and hire them behind the scenes) is appalling. The shows do not represent the average American trying to find love in any way. Please check out Bachelor Diversity Campaign to learn more. This subject is discusses in One to Watch which makes the book seem so real.
WHAT I LOVED:
- The whole book is just addicting; I did not want to put it down
- All the little moments that I could tell were inspired by real events on Bachelor shows
- I LOL’d so hard at the “Farmer with the boring season” comment bc TRUE
- If you’re a fan of the shows you will like all the references
- How Bea goes on the show not for love or the fairy tale, but for her career
- We stan
- I just love the concept of TRUE LOVE coming out of a mess like a reality tv show
- This is all because I read The Selection a million years ago & that one fanfiction that used this trope okay
- That we got to “see” outside of the show. The novel is told in third person, we can see the world react to Bea’s journey via emails, group chats, podcast transcripts, & magazine articles.
- We see a group chat between friends making their Main Squeeze brackets which was so much fun
- This also made it easy to get into the story
- COLIN & BETH
- It’s FUNNY. I LOL’d multiple times
- The romance!! I can’t say who she ends up with because of spoilers, but I was very happy how it all turned out
- The epilogue was so well done
- Bea’s brothers and her family!!
- Most of my other AHHH moments are spoilers, but I think it is fun going into this book knowing as little as possible.
WHAT I DID NOT LOVE:
- The timing is quick! We move through the first couple weeks of the show so quickly and spend much of the time with the last few guys
- Which makes sense, but I would have liked to see more group dates and house shenanigans
- I did not love the plot line with the guy from Bea’s past, but it works in the narrative
- At times I could not tell if they were being filmed, but I just sort of assumed if it was not mentioned that yes, they were
- All of other “critiques” are super minor and spoiler-y so I will not share
Overall, if you like The Bachelor shows or books with a lot of drama (that isn’t overblown) I recommend this book.
TW: fatphobia, name calling due to weight/appearance, rape threats (via social media comments), cheating