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“The Bachelor” originally premiered back in 2002, and ever since then, the reality TV show franchise has become the guilty pleasure of choice for millions of Americans and a downright cultural phenomenon, prompting a slew of spin-offs including “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise” and “Bachelor Pad,” just to name a select few. Given its viral success and wide-spread following, either you or someone you know is bound to be a fan of the series — whether they’d like to admit or not.
Of course, the drama-laden show is anything but a happy-ever-ending experience and usually culminates in a tense and tearful ending with candidates fighting (literally and figuratively) for that coveted final rose to be handed to them for well, a hand in marriage. Aside from the fierce competition, there’s also a laundry list of rules contestants must follow to remain on the show — many of which are not openly discussed on air.
Fortunately, there is a slew of tell-alls, memoirs and even dating advice books by former “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” contestants that give fans the inside scoop on what really goes on behind the scenes. We’ve compiled a list of the best books about the “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” franchise (and some written by alumni) that expose all the secrets of the show and will help fill the void when you’ve finally made it through the current season.
Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure
When it comes to “Bachelor” journalism, Amy Kaufman’s “Bachelor Nation” is, frankly, the gold standard. In fact, the Los Angeles Times journalist was even banned by ABC from attending “Bachelor” events because her reporting was a little too honest. This unauthorized companion to the franchise is chock-full of the series’ history, behind-the-scenes details and of course, plenty of juicy gossip that will delight any “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” fan.
I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain
One of the most beloved villains in “Bachelor” history, former model Courtney Robertson joined season 16 of “The Bachelor” looking to find the one. While she did capture the heart of Ben Flajnik (the runner-up during the 7th season of “The Bachelorette”) that season, the quest for a fairy-tale romance certainly didn’t come without a fight. The two split after just nine months of engagement, but that didn’t stop Robertson from shelling out a slew of scandalous secrets. In this revelatory read, she recalls her experience before, after and during the season, along with offering some tips and tricks for aspiring contestants and dating in general.
The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV
From the “Bachelor” lead arguably most famous for jumping over a fence after a passionate exchange with his contestant Cassie Randolph comes Colton Underwood’s behind-the-scenes account of “The Bachelor’s” 23rd season. In his tell-all, the former NFL star explains his transition from “The Bachelor” to looking for love in real life, and even offers a few bits of advice for success navigating the modern-day dating world.
I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love
As a contestant on Season 15 of “The Bachelor” and the lead on “The Bachelorette” Season 8, Emily Maynard Johnson took home the final rose during her stint on “The Bachelor” and became engaged to the winning contestant on “The Bachelorette.” But, she writers, “neither of the relationships from those shows lasted much longer than a commercial break.” Instead, Maynard Johnson ended up finding love off-screen. In her detailed tell-all, she explains how she was able to overcome public embarrassment following her two failed attempts at love on the shows and find true happiness in real life.
For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage, and Why Nice Guys Finish First
Commonly regarded as everyone’s favorite Bachelor, Sean Lowe’s book tells the story of his transition from a college football player to a “Bachelorette” contestant, while revealing the difficulty he faced as a man of faith fighting to find love on such a racy reality TV series. As a self-professed “nice guy,” Lowe also explains how his commitment to his faith and morals helped him find success on the show, despite not ultimately receiving the final rose in the end.
Melissa Rycroft was both proposed to and dumped by Jason Mesnick during Season 13 of “The Bachelor,” leaving her with feelings of confusion and betrayal. In her tell-all book, she offers her side of the story and reveals how she coped with heartbreak on live television (and in private) and turned her life around, eventually finding The One (her former partner, Tye Strickland) outside of reality television.
Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart
Known as the Godmother of “The Bachelor” franchise, former Miami Heat dancer Trista Sutter was the winner of Season One and one of the only success stories born out of the series. In her book, she reflects on her experience of finding love on national television and how she’s been able to maintain a happy marriage with her husband and the first bachelor of all time, Ryan Sutter.
It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Never After
This juicy tell-all tells Andi Dorfman’s side of the story, chronicling her experience as a contestant on Season 18 of “The Bachelor” and as the lead on “The Bachelorette” Season 10. This candid account of her story on both seasons reveals an endless supply of scandalous behind-the-scenes details, her explanation of infamous on-screen moments and offers plenty of non-filtered dating advice whether you’re looking for love on or off of TV.