One To Watch – Kate Stayman-London

Published by: Dial Press
Pages: 432
Date released: 07/07/2020
Date read: 29/01/2021

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size 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 stay, 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 woman across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realises 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.

May I recommend you buy this book and read it immediately!

I had read so many amazing pre-release reviews that I had to get my hands on it as quickly as I could. I thought at first it would be one of those easy going ‘chick lit’ type books that you can read without much focus. But I was so, so wrong.

Okay, yes, it is quite girly, and there is strong focus on typical ‘womanly’ subjects such as fashion, dating, and body image, but that’s not a negative point. As a bigger woman myself, it’s a pleasure to read about a woman (albeit a fictional one) who knows her worth and knows it doesn’t come from having a man on her arm. It’s about knowing that she doesn’t have to look a certain way, or fit in a certain dress size or have a certain body fat percentage to be deserving of the life she wants.

It is so beautifully written by Kate and completely addictive, with so many twists and turns. It was just as addictive as I imagine Main Squeeze was to Bea.

The only disappointing thing about it is that it’s not real. I feel myself being so sucked into it that I would start talking to people about it, forgetting they hadn’t read it, and that Bea wasn’t actually my friend. Which I so wish she was.

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