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One to Watch


One to Watch

Kate Stayman-London has written for some very influential people, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai, and has scripted videos that are motivating and mobilizing. In her debut novel, ONE TO WATCH, she uses her powerful voice to produce a fun and sassy narrative that keeps readers excited, while delivering an important message about diversity.

Bea Schumacher is a plus-size fashion blogger who is a typical millennial. She consumes wine and ice cream in response to romantic issues. Each week, she and her gal pals watch ​“Main Squeeze,” a reality dating show. In a wine-induced stupor, Bea writes a scathing review about the lack of diversity on the program. Her comments go viral, as many relate to her frustrations on how all the contestants are just pseudo-duplicates of the same skinny lovestruck white girl who is looking for a “deep connection.”

"[Stayman-London] uses her powerful voice to produce a fun and sassy narrative that keeps readers excited, while delivering an important message about diversity."

To save the show, the producer asks Bea to star in the next season, where 20 men will be vying for her love and attention. After being promised that there will be both racial and physical diversity in her love interests, she agrees to go on, but vows not to fall in love during this journey.

Bea finds herself whisked away on luxury dates in designer clothing, facing bad boys, dude-bros, softboys and fitness trainers. She confronts self-doubt, surprises and drama throughout hometown visits, fantasy suite decisions and kiss-off ceremonies.

I absolutely loved the way that Stayman-London unravels the story. Interspersed throughout the main narrative are news articles, blogs, tweets and even Slack discussions that reveal how the audience feels about the current season. She really captures the zeitgeist of the modern era, making this aspect of the book refreshing and fun.

My other favorite part of the book is Bea’s Francophilia. She has been obsessed with France since she was very young. I fawned over the many nuances of French culture that are portrayed here. From the French dialogue to the description of old French markets, you will be transported to the romantique et belle ​backdrop of France during Bea’s visits there.

Currently, there is a lack of diversity in movies and TV shows, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Overweight people have little to no representation, and when they do, they are usually the sidekick or an inconsequential character. I appreciated reading about a plus-size dating star, and I hope to see one in the real world soon.

A romantic, feel-good journey, ONE TO WATCH is perfect for anyone who loves dating shows like “The Bachelor” and “The ​Bachelorette,” has an affinity for France, or believes in romance in any capacity.

Reviewed by Alison Lee on July 10, 2020

One to Watch
by Kate Stayman-London

  • Publication Date: July 7, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
  • ISBN-10: 0525510443
  • ISBN-13: 9780525510444