As a proud member of Bachelor Nation, a lover of romance novels, and a plus-sized gal, One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London is EVERYTHING. This recently published book delightfully explores what it means to be plus-sized in a skinny girl world. It’s an added bonus that it takes place in the land of reality TV – where reality is a very loose term.
On paper, plus-sized fashion blogger Bea Schumacher is living the dream. She’s successfully making it in LA, her fashion blog has hundreds of thousands of followers, and her Insta is on point. Her life is full of dope friends and a loving family. The only problem is that pesky love thing. She hasn’t found it. The guy she’s been in love with for several years is engaged and sees her as a friend he can kiss sometimes and then pretend it never happened. Real cool.
Convinced she won’t get over him otherwise, Bea agrees to appear on her favorite reality show, Main Squeeze – a clear riff on our beloved Bachelor franchise – after she writes a scathing review of its lack of diversity (of literally any kind) one drunken night on her blog and Twitter account. She never thought that a Twitter rant would lead to her being asked to participate, but the internet is a weird place.
She’s reluctant to accept at first; but, she grows to see that using this REALLY public platform could be empowering for all the women (and men) out there who don’t ever see themselves represented in a good light anywhere in mainstream media. But let’s be clear, she’s not there to find love. You could say she’s there for the wrong reasons…
Bea is the main character I’ve been wanting in a romance novel – or really any modern novel.
Although being plus-sized is the norm in today’s society; my experience is that most media that features a plus-sized character still gets it wrong. In One to Watch, Kate Stayman-London gets it right.
Bea is simultaneously proud yet realistic about her body. She wants someone to love her – not despite her figure – but as part of the whole. No one needs to do her the favor of ignoring her body or fetishizing it. I connected with her so much and love how she handled herself. She was vulnerable, strong, funny, witty, beautiful, and most importantly, real.
I hope real-life reality TV takes a page from this book and realizes how important representation is. The Bachelor is giving it a good shot by casting Matt James as our next Bachelor, but there’s still a very long way to go (sign the petition for the Bachelor Diversity Campaign!).
I can’t wait to see a curvy lady – or man – dominate the screen.
One to Watch is out now! Buy it here!
Emily is an interior designer by day, book nerd by night. When not talking aloud to her cat, Luna (named after the Luna you're thinking of, hopefully), she can be found scrolling through Netflix for hours, until finally giving up and snuggling in bed with her kindle because she's already watched all of the good stuff. She loves donuts of all shapes and sizes, Chipotle burritos, and alpacas (not to eat - shouldn’t have paired that with two other food items…). If you want to get on her good side, bring up Harry Potter, true crime, or podcasts - better yet something that combines all three.