cover image The One

The One

Julia Argy. Putnam, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-54278-1

Argy skewers reality TV in her smart debut. After 20-something Emily Boylan loses her admin job, she’s approached by a casting associate for The One, a Bachelor-esque reality show with a last-minute opening. Four days later she’s on her way from Boston to Los Angeles to meet Dylan Walter and the other 29 women vying for his proposal. Supporting Emily is Miranda, one of the show’s three producers, who needs a win and sees Emily as her ticket, a “fresh package of Model Magic.” Over a grueling six weeks of production, Emily struggles with her insecurities and people-pleaser tendencies while grappling along with the other women over what it means to be desired for superficial reasons rather than being loved for who they are. Through it all, Emily tries to figure out who “Real Emily” is, aware that “Screen Emily” will remain cast in history. Argy takes on voyeurism, feminism, and gender norms, as Emily wonders if she really ought to put all her energy into finding love, which is what she was conditioned to do all her life. It makes for a winning portrait of a young woman trying to come into her own. Agent: Amy Williams, Williams Company. (Apr.)