NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Real love . . . as seen on TV. A plus-size bachelorette brings a fresh look to a reality show in this razor-sharp, “divinely witty” (Entertainment Weekly) debut.
“Effortlessly fun and clever . . . I found the tension impeccable . . . and that made my reading experience incredibly propulsive. Read it in a day and a half.”—Emily Henry, #1 bestselling author of Beach Read and The People We Meet on Vacation
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • NPR • Marie Claire • Mashable
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.
In Stayman-London's charming debut, 30-year-old Bea Schumacher is a plus-size blogger whose star is on the rise. After a late-night drunken blog post about the lack of body diversity on Main Squeeze, a dating show where 25 contestants compete for the hand of a bachelor or bachelorette, goes viral, Bea is tapped to be the next star of the show. Though reluctant about putting herself out there, Bea eventually signs on, enticed by the opportunity to expand her platform and potentially play the princess in a love story. Once on the show, Bea finds herself subject to the rejection and mockery she feared, but she also meets good, smart, and kind men who seem to genuinely love her and whom she could love back if she lets herself. Peppered with chatlogs, text messages, social media reactions, and splashy People articles, Stayman-London's debut is chatty and fun, brilliantly capturing the highs, lows, and drama of reality TV. Occasionally, Bea's critique of Main Squeeze's lack of diversity reads more like the author is signaling wokeness rather than genuine concern about underrepresentation, and the villains make easy targets. Still, this smart, delightful page-turner is a great way for dating show fans to pass the time while waiting for the next season.
I didn’t give it five stars because it’s not a masterpiece—but it’s really, really good. It’s a romance novel but with so much depth. The writing is tight. The pace perfect. I usually read literary fiction but I really enjoyed this book.
Happy I read this book
This book was so good I couldn’t put it down, and ended up reading it in 2 days. The writing was very witty, it was funny, and romantic. Loved the drama! It was a very cool book.
Ok rom-con but too much drama (even for a romance)
I wanted to love this one because this genre is my favorite and the cover is just so beautiful but I can’t say I did. First I didn’t like the format. The added texts and blogs and chats took me away from the story. I also couldn’t like any of the characters. One of the guys I thought was ok but everyone else was too immature and it was tiresome. I also thought there was way too much drama (especially in the last 1/4) even for a romance book. And despite there being too much drama at the end the rest was too slow and not much happened. I almost DNFed but my curiosity got the best of me. However, I did love the inclusion in the whole book (plus-size and LQBTQ+ and BIPOC) and that there was multiple HEAs but not enough to push past the rest. I think this one just wasn’t my cup of tea.