One To Watch

Dial. Jul. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9780525510444. pap. $17. F
DEBUT Successful but unlucky in love, plus-size fashion blogger Bea Schmuacher posts a rant about how despite a majority of American women being size 14 or larger, they aren’t represented on Main Squeeze, a popular romance reality TV show. Predictably, she is asked to appear on the next season and choose from 25 suitors. Despite presenting herself as body-positive, she has misgivings about putting herself out there on national TV but agrees in order to advance her career, not her love life. In the next several weeks, Bea is ridiculed and pursued while cursing herself for falling for some of the men, which wasn’t the plan. This debut is mostly effervescent but shines a harsh light on how some people’s cruelty can affect those who don’t conform to societal norms. Unfortunately, it’s laden with unnecessary brand-name-dropping and interruptions such as magazine articles, podcast transcripts, texts, etc., which pad the story and slow things down.
VERDICT A long and entertaining if overstuffed novel about reality TV, romance, fat-shaming, and self-esteem that will appeal to rom-com fans and likely strike a chord with plus-size readers.

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