One to Watch
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 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. In this joyful, wickedly observant debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men—and herself—for a chance to live happily ever after.
First of all, let me say that I’ve never read a book written the way this one is written. The use of tweets, blog posts, podcasts, magazine articles, and other forms of social media and press to tell the story were very unique, and I felt they added a lot to the book. I’m not usually one for reality television shows, but I have found myself covertly indulging in The Bachelor here and there, mainly live-tweeting all of its absurdities on Twitter. And in many ways, I felt this book was a bit of a satire, pointing out all of the ridiculousness and the obvious ways unscripted television is actually scripted, and that our choices aren’t always our own.
I really appreciated MC Bea’s growth throughout the book. Initially, I wasn’t certain whether I was going to like her, and I was worried that I may end up disliking the book because of that. She was constantly down on herself, pessimistic, and instantly thought the worst of everyone she met. Oh, and she slept with her best friend who was engaged to be married to another woman. But then I thought about everything Bea had been through in her life, and the torment a few of the contestants put her through on the show, along with all of the horrendous commentary from the internet trolls and asshats of the world, and I realized that I may be just as pessimistic and judgmental as Bea was had I’d been subjected to that my whole life.
However, as the story progressed, a beautiful thing happened: Bea began to grow more and more self-confident and was actually somewhat of a badass. And. I. Was. Here. For. That.
If you’re going into One to Watch expecting a romantic comedy, be prepared to get so much more. Yes, there’s romance and, yes, there’s comedy, but at its core, the story is about finding yourself and the strength to move beyond your past. It’s a story about loving yourself for who you are, perceived flaws and all, and not allowing anyone else to steal your light.
Yes, I loved One to Watch for many, many reasons, but the actual romance was just the cherry on top of an otherwise fabulous sundae (also, the guy I wanted to “win” won in the end, so there’s that, too).