Idk if a lot of y’all know, but I’m a slut for the Bachelor, Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise shows. It’s kind of unfortunate but we all need trash TV to enjoy unironically and my vice happens to be the most disappointingly heterosexual and monogamous (despite the premise) show to ever exist.
Today’s posty-post is going to be some fun recommendations for reads inspired by the Bachelor franchise. These are all the ones I’ve read (not necessarily liked). It’s not comprehensive but this weird niche of books is a thing I’ve only recently discovered and so I don’t have the most extensive catalog of books to recommend y’all. PLUS some of the lists I’ve seen online kind of take “Bachelor inspired” a little too loosely and just don’t fit. So here’s a rather short list of ones I’ve read.
Just to be specific, I’m recommending you books that are similar to the competitive aspect of the Bachelor, as in there are multiple suitors vying for the hand of a “lead” in some way. And I’ve thrown in a fanfic here because it’s one of my favourites 🙂
Title: One To Watch
Author: Kate Stayman-London
Trigger Warnings: fatphobia, harassment, cheating, doxxing and internet harassment, divorce mention, dead parents, single parents, alcohol use, sex and intimacy
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication date: 3rd August, 2021
Publisher: Random House Publishing
One To Watch is Bachelorette inspired but with a plus sized/lead. She’s a social media blogger who gets recruited to be the ~One To Watch~ because of her viral post criticizing the show and the lack of body diversity. That ushers in a whole host of Bachelorette inspired drama including group dates, one on ones, villain edits, suspicious producer activity, and surprisingly genuine relationships (of the romantic and non romantic variety) with the contestants vying for her affection.
As my rating shows, this isn’t a mindblowing book but I enjoyed it and gave it to a friend to read who was also really into it. I think I have a picture of her somewhere facedown on the floor after something happened in the book, which…mood. Disappointingly there’s no real smut BUT I thought the romance definitely made up for it.
Again, this isn’t some statement piece of a novel. It’s making some pretty obvious points about how the Bachelor franchise is hella fatphobic, racist, and also very much so homophobic in every way possible. But also I found this book aggressively neo-liberal, if there’s even a way for a romance book to give off neolib vibes (the author was on a Hillary campaign so yes it can lol). I think in the first print edition she thanks Chris Harrison but after his shit move defending a contestant’s racist past she’s changed that so like…not awful in that sense.
Anyways, it’s fun!
Title: The Selection (series)
Author: Kiera Cass
Trigger Warnings: dystopia, poor shaming and classism (there are more for sure but it’s been a while and I can’t find anyone with reliable triggers. will update when I find some!)
Genre: YA, Romance, Dystopia
Publication date: 24th April, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen Publishing
This series (and sequel series too) is about a dystopia-like monarchy where the heir to the throne gets to court 35 eligible suitors to see who would become the spouse-to-be. Families are sorted into numbered class factions and typically it’s just the rich folks who get to court the heir to the throne but our dearest main character is significantly lower in ranking than the rest and is therefore a target. But of course the prince takes a liking to her. The whole debacle is televised and America, the main character, keeps saying things that the rich people don’t like but the prince is like aw fuck yeah.
I don’t know why but there are three books??? And then the endgoal couple in the first three have a kid and then SHE has her own competition which is TWO MORE BOOKS??? Idk how one can drag out a Bachelor format dystopia this much but Keira Cass fucking did it I guess.
The fact that the main character is from a lower class I think was an attempt to comment on wealth and how class and income create a divide. There’s something about making an effort to support impoverished. Falls short because the monarchy is still in place and the entire class system is not changed one single bit so idk what this book was even trying to do with the whole socio-political commentary through dystopia bit. Also the main character is called America Singer which I thought was really annoying. Just name her American Idol and be done with it.
For those wondering why I included this in here if it’s a two star rating, well, I mean I disliked it but I still read all five books so maybe I didn’t hate it all that much. I actually quite enjoyed being annoyed by the books in the same way I enjoy yelling at the stupidity going on in the Bachelor franchise. So maybe if you have similar tastes to mine these might be a cathartic read in that same way. Or maybe you might actually like them, who knows. Either way, they’re not offensive so they’re on here.
Author: ghostofbambi and cgner (on AO3)
Trigger Warnings: mild homophobia mention, manipulative production staff, negligent parents, sex mention, alcohol, phobia of frogs
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication date: 11th February, 2019
And now to introduce the only five star read in this entire blog post, one of my favourite fanfics of all time. This is a James Potter and Lily Evans alternate universe, Bachelor spoof. The authors of the fic watched one singular episode of the Bachelor and couldn’t stand any more of it so just went off of what they got in that one ep and churned out one of the most beautiful Bachelor inspired pieces of writing EVER. I mean it’s got the whole nine yards, goofy lead, meddlesome parents, unexpected friendships between contestants, an undercover scandal, a light peppering of queer characters, horrible production staff who do too damn much, and an actual wholesome ship at the heart of it all.
You don’t really need to know much about the characters or the original texts but I’m guessing nearly everyone reading this has read Harry Potter. The fic authors have taken Harry’s parents and that generation of characters and turned them into this delightful group of friends and weirdos whose lives are endlessly entertaining even if it is discourse over hating France. The Jily niche of the hp world was and weirdly still is my comfort spot on the internet so I’m sharing this with y’all.
This fic is 144k words long so you CANNOT say it’s not a book. It’s fucking massive but as is the case with all fics, you will zoom through this in no time. It so SO good!!
Title: A Taste for Love
Author: Jennifer Yen
Trigger Warnings: racist microaggressions, parental pressure, classism, sexual assault and harassment, cheating mention, underage alcohol use mention, car accident mention, divorce mention, emotional manipulation mention, eating disorder mention
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication date: 2nd February, 2021
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers
A Taste for Love is a bit more removed from the Bachelor premise in the sense that it’s more Great British Bake Off than Bachelor. Oddly enough, the story is a Pride and Prejudice retelling. So we’ve got plenty to work with here.
Liza Yang’s mother is hell bent on setting her up with the ideal Asian American boyfriend since Liza’s boyfriend history hasn’t exactly been stellar. Her parents own a restaurant-bakery shop and as part of their summer outreach they host a scholarship baking contest for young adults. Since Liza is a stellar baker herself, her mother makes one of the prizes private baking lessons with Liza. But the catch is that all the contestants her mother chooses are mom approved matches for Liza to date. Two of them happen to be the book version of Bingley and Darcy. Cue Bachelorette + Pride and Prejudice + Great British Bake Off chaos.
It’s a sweet book and really engaging. Pride and Prejudice retellings are some of my favourite romances, more so than the original text so I had an absolute blast reading this with all the additional chaotic elements thrown in. If you’re looking for a great primer for Katie’s season, this is it!!
Title: If The Shoe Fits
Author: Julie Murphy
Trigger Warnings: death of parents, depression, reality tv related emotional manipulation, fatphobia
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication date: 3rd August, 2021
Publisher: Disney Publishing
Looks like we’re capping the post with books about fat/plus sized main characters which is quite fab if you ask me.
If The Shoe Fits, as the title implies, is actually a Cinderella retelling mixed in with a Bachelor inspired setting. When I first came across the Bachelor elements I was pleasantly surprised. I felt like it really spiced up the story in general. The main character Cindy is a recent graduate who has had a rough go due to her father passing and a creative block that made it difficult to complete her fashion degree. Her step mother offers to pay her for babysitting her half siblings (step family are actually really nice) while she’s off producing the dating show Meant To Be. After a few girls drop last minute, Cindy makes the decision to join the cast despite warnings that the fatphobia coming from a public audience would be rough. She expects it to be a short run except the Bachelor turns out to be the really hot guy on the plan who flirted with her the entire way.
The book is unfortunately not out yet BUTTT it comes out August 3rd so you can read this while you bide your time between Bachelorette and Paradise :)) Some good off season content to keep that itch scratched.
I really enjoyed this. The three stars is because the main character and love interest really didn’t have a lot of on page interaction. Quite a lot of page time was dedicated to Cindy’s interactions with fellow contestants, public feedback about her representation on reality tv, and just her grief over losing her father in general. I’m not upset about those elements but I didn’t get to soak in the romance as much as I typically prefer. Also there’s no smut which BOOOOOOOOOO but I was definitely still awing a LOT bc the dates are fucking ADORABLE.
That concludes my Bachelor inspired reads post!! I started watching the show in college because two of my friends roped me in during the mid season scandal and at that point I was immediately hooked into hate watching. It took like one more season for the hate watch to turn into actual enjoyment. Now I listen to this galaxy brain podcast called Game of Roses which can only be described as going full Gollum over the One Ring to Rule Them All and how said Ring impacts the greater non-reality tv social media world in general (the ring being the influencer power gained from being on the Bachelor). Join the Pit and give them a listen 🙂
I’m heavily considering doing episode reviews for the upcoming season but that will only depend on the amount of energy I have to do so. Might do something about analyzing romance trope application in a reality tv setting, eh who knows.
Enjoy the books and fanfic in the mean time!!!