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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

One to Read

Welcome to Monday Moods. My goal is to get the week off on a fun, positive note, so I will posting reviews of books that give you a little lift. It might be something funny or sweet, but I want it to be a story that leaves you with a little glow. And the first book in my Monday Moods series is one that really speaks to my little plus-sized self's love of fashion.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

Or why the cape always makes the woman Stars: 4/5

I’ve had this one in my Kindle for a while and just hadn’t found the time to get into it. The increase in body positivity in social media (or in my Insta thread at least) made it seem like it might be a good time to read it. Bea is a successful fashion blogger and a hot ticket, living her best life in L.A. The book starts with a visit from her good friend, and crush, Ray, who is in town for a visit with his fiance, Sarah. While Sarah is in San Diego with her family, Ray meets Bea for dinner and one thing leads to another and they end up sleeping together. Bea has been in love with Ray for years and Ray seems to have feelings for Bea, but after sleeping with her (and cheating on his fiance) he completely ghosts Bea. Bea hits rock bottom and is depressed when the producer of Main Squeeze, a Bachelorette-style show, asks her to be their first plus-size contestant.

Bea struggles with whether or not to do the show; she knows it will open her up to even more attacks online and she wonders if she could truly fall in love with someone on the show. Ultimately she decides to do it (obviously or where would the book be), figuring it will be good for the site and open up opportunities for her. There are of course some rude contestants, but also some good guys, including a handsome, flirty Frenchman (oh la la). Bea questions if these men, who are by and large excellent physical specimens, can fall in love with her. Bea must come to terms with her perception of herself and believe that she is worthy of love. I really liked this book. I loved how Stayman-London incorporated different types of media (podcast, emails, news article) into the story of Bea on Main Squeeze. I think Bea is relatable as a character, even if you aren’t plus-size; who doesn’t worry about being accepted for who they are? I don’t think I would categorize this totally as a romance novel, though it would make a great limited run rom-com series. [Spoiler] I will say I didn’t actually love the ending. I would have been ok with Bea riding off into the sunset by herself and then she could find someone not related to the show (hello, sequel). As a character Ash was not my favorite, he seems to have a fair number of trust issues. And I didn’t always feel the chemistry between them. But I think it speaks so highly of this book that I can dislike the ending and still love the story.

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