Title: One to Watch
Author: Kate Stayman-London
Summary: Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who, like the rest of America, indulges in her weekly obsession: watching the hit reality show Main Squeeze. But just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star. While Bea agrees, she has 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. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men—and herself—for a chance to live happily ever after.
Note: an eARC of this title was acquired via NetGalley.
I don’t remember having very high expectations for One To Watch, but tbqh it floored me. Kate Stayman-London managed to make me laugh-out-loud, cry, and swoon in equal measure, and I ended the book on such a high that I couldn’t focus on another book for almost a month. I’ve also been trying to write this review for weeks… and I just can’t. Every time I sit down to articulate my thoughts, I get distracted and push it off. How do I put the feeling of finally being seen by a fictional character into words? How do I explain that Bea’s emotional journey is mine, too? That reading her words and thoughts honestly sent me into such a sobbing fit that I basically cried myself to sleep it hit so close to home?
I’m sure that bodies of all sizes will enjoy Stayman-London’s knack for humor and her ability to plot a novel… but for me, a fat girl who puts on a good front but also just has her moments, One to Watch hit different. It’s a book I read at exactly the right time in exactly the right headspace, and it’s something I absolutely know I will be recommending and rereading for years to come.
Will this review make you want to read One to Watch? If you do, will you like it as much as I did? Maybe not. But I sincerely hope that every reader gets to feel the way I felt after having finished, no matter the source.