One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London | Great representation but poorly handled romantic relationships!

I wish I could say that I loved «One to Watch» by Kate Stayman-London… Sadly, it fell really flat for me. Maybe I should have known better and stayed away from a book inspired by the Bachelor TV show, which I’m not a big fan of. As much as I wanted to like Bea, the main character, her somewhat dubious behavior, and poorly handled relationships in the reality show context left a bad aftertaste. 

Now, don’t get me wrong! It wasn’t a total miss for me, and in fact, there were certain things that I liked a lot – for example, the plus-size women representation, the introduction of the asexual character, the lesbian friend (who was very smart about all the relationships I must say) and also seeing a fashion blogger who is not a standard 90-60-90. These were all great. But it definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.

goodreads blurb:

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.

Thank you NetGalley and Jonh Murray Press – Two Roads for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.

Bea Schumacher is a plus-size fashion blogger. She has a great online presence and thousands of fans all over the world. However, Bea wasn’t always this sparkly outgoing person. She dedicated her life to fashion and plus-size representation, often stumbling all haters along the way. But I could really see that it was important for Bea to stand up for plus-size women, to make the world see how unnatural the models are and that an average woman shouldn’t be afraid or shy about her flaws. Afterall, we all have them. 

Bea was chosen to be the next Main Squeeze (i.e. Bachelorette), the first plus-size woman in Main Squeeze ever. This body positivity message carried throughout the entire story and was one of the main focuses of the plot. 

At first, I really enjoyed where Bea was coming from and her intentions for getting herself on this show – it was all about spreading the right message. But somewhere along the way, I felt like Bea lost it. She started to focus primarily on the forming connection with the guys, which is the concept of the TV show, however seeing her “mingling” with multiple people didn’t feel right, and most importantly didn’t feel like the Bea we first met. 

It seemed as if the TV show’s whole concept of dating multiple people to find The One was winning over the importance of the message Bea was so determined to carry forward. 

As I read this book during the same month as «Beach Read» I couldn’t avoid comparing these two books. Especially the writing and humor styles. While «Beach Read» made me laugh out loud, all the jokes in «One to Watch» were flat. 

For me, Bea was not a likable character and I think the intention of the author was quite the opposite. I didn’t like her obsession over her previous “relationship” and I didn’t like the way she behaved during the filming of the TV show. 

The only character that stood out for me was Bea’s best friend. She always had the best advice and actually seemed like a very strong and independent woman. 

I’m not even going to start on the guys… There were only a couple of decent ones and I still don’t understand how Bea ended up with the one who she had 0 chemistry with… 

My rating:

Initially, I gave this book three stars, but after various attempts to write this review, it didn’t feel right anymore. Yes, it was a quick read, but other than the catchy plot and good representation, it didn’t have anything else going for it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book, as I seem to be in the minority and most of GR reviews are 4-5 stars.
Have you read this one? What did you think?

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9 thoughts on “One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London | Great representation but poorly handled romantic relationships!

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