It’s been 195 days.
No, not since quarantine started—since the last Bachelor finale.
I am an avid, guilty pleasure watcher of all things Bachelor Nation. I was so starved for Bachelor content, I even watched Listen to Your Heart. Season 16 of The Bachelorette was delayed due to COVID-19, while season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise was pushed to 2021. I’ve been in a major lurch without hot tub drama and rose ceremonies.
Enter: One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London.
Stayman-London’s debut novel follows the story of Bea Schumacher, a plus size fashion blogger who breaks the internet with her viral rant against the hit reality show, The Main Squeeze. Criticizing The Main Squeeze for its lack of diversity, including its lack of body diversity, Bea is asked to be the next lead on the show. She agrees and sets out to propel her career, not fall in love. But when cameras start rolling, things get more complicated than she planned.
Okay, so you’ve probably figured out by now that The Main Squeeze is a thinly veiled parallel to The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. This book was a masterful representation of all things Bachelor, from how it’s produced, to podcast recaps, to group chats. The “kiss off ceremonies” (The Main Squeeze’s version of the rose ceremonies) were just as dramatic if I were watching them unfold on live television—I found myself screaming at the pages of my book, torn who to route for, adamant in who I despised, desperately invested in the romance of Bea’s life.
To top things off, this isn’t your typical romance book or season of The Bachelor. There’s real talk about body image and self confidence as Bea struggles to accept the fact that these men are competing for her.
Whether you love or hate The Bachelor, this book is for you. It works to criticize the things that make the franchise so deeply problematic and parody the absurdities of the show, while also giving you the drama you love and characters that are easy to invest in.
During one date in Marrakesh, Morocco, Bea goes on a fabulous date with [NAME REDACTED]. “After dinner,” Stayman-London writes, “they fed each other slices of orange drizzled with honey, and Bea thought she’d never tasted anything so perfectly sweet in her life.”
Enjoy this fruity, sticky, sweet snack inspired by One to Watch by simply mixing together 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and drizzling the mixture over thin slices of navel oranges.