Title: One To Watch
Author: Kate Stayman-London
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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.
Welcome to a very rant-y review of a book I don’t know how I feel about. I say rant-y because, as always, I’m going to talk about myself instead of about the book (remember when I said, two days ago, I wasn’t using this blog as therapy?).
I am fat. And much like the protagonist, I have days when I believe no one is going to love me because of my body, and I’ve been mocked and insulted and belittled because of my size. And I acknowledge that for many people I’m mid-size or average at most, but it has caused me a lot of problems, so even thought maybe I don’t understand everything Bea has been through, I understand the burden of being fat and how much it can hurt your mental health.
And much like the protagonist I don’t really care about dieting or eating healthy (I don’t like the taste of pretty much anything healthy, I’ve tried, I promise) or exercising.
That being said, maybe I should try exercise because of the serotonin thing.
So, my problem with this book didn’t have anything to do with how the protagonist perceives herself or that she acts as a body-positive role model without actually feeling good in her body all the time (I think everybody is allowed to don’t feel confident in their bodies all the time no matter what they look like, and being body positive is more a process than a constant state) or that she’s a “lazy” stereotype, as I’ve seen written in other people reviews, because I don’t really care about any of these things. Or well, I do care, but I don’t think the fat representation in this book was inaccurate or negative, cause every person is a world, although at times it made me feel uncomfortable, all this being perceived.
One of my biggest problems with this book (I don’t consider this an spoiler because it happens at the very beginning) was that the protagonist didn’t care, even for an instant, about being with someone who was engaged. She knew he was engaged. She knew the person he was engaged to. She didn’t spare a thought for her in all the months she spent wallowing in self-pity.
I hate Daisy Jones and the Six for that exact thing.
I hate cheating tropes. Maybe that’s a personal preference and some people don’t mind but I can’t feel sympathy for anyone involved in cheating (if they both know cheating is going on, obviously, sometimes only the person who’s cheating knows and the partner being cheated gets mad at the other person instead of their s/o which sucks for a different list of reasons and why am I ranting again?).
The main issue I had, however, is that none of the men felt interesting to me. Some of them felt tokenish and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. There’s a reveal that I think was well done but other than that their characters felt flat for me. I wasn’t invested in any of the relationships and I wasn’t happy with the ending… but I don’t think I’d have liked any other ending, either. For someone who’s been single all her life I have very strong opinions on relationships. Maybe I should mention that I have never seen The Bachelor or anything that derives from that so maybe that’s how they feel like IDK.
So yeah, for a romance book, this didn’t spark anything on me. Maybe you’ll have better luck and don’t care about the things that put me off and, if that’s the case, I hope you enjoy your read.