Reviews

I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her. She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else. When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho. But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.

When I heard that this was a book about a bi, plus-sized girl, I was completely on board. That’s pretty much all I needed to know to be desperate to read it. But, it’s also about K-pop and has a singing/dancing competition with a competitor who’s completely hot. I don’t know much about the K-pop world, though I still very much wanted to read it! Trigger warnings: fatphobia, emotional abuse, homophobia

How do I articulate my feelings toward a book that captured my heart and filled it with sunshine? Because that’s exactly what this book did. I fell completely in love with it and that love only grew throughout the book. It’s absolutely incredible.

I’m going to start off with Henry. I’m holding myself from typing in all caps, but just know that I am all capsing in my heart. He’s honestly one of the sweetest, compasionate, and gentle male characters I have ever read. He’s so incredibly kind and there’s just this gentleness to him. He’s all Hufflepuff. He also has a fluffy white dog named Snowball!

Skye meant the world to me. She’s a fat girl who’s trying to succeed in a fatphobic industry. She’s confident and she’s stubborn and she’s just all around amazing. She’s not afraid to show off her talent and she’s not afraid to call people out when they’re being jerks. She was an absolutely amazing character and I loved her so much.

I also really loved the fat rep. I know that’s probably obvious by now, but it’s just so great. It’s woven throughout the entire book. I loved how Skye was confident in herself and her body, but she also has her insecurities. I loved how there were fatphobic comments, but they were always fought against. I just loved it as a whole.

I guess I goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. I adored the romantic relationship. It starts as an absolutely wonderful friendship and then blossoms into more. It’s two incredible characters being incredible together, which makes for something incredible.

There were even some fantastic minor characters! Skye has some and makes some amazing friends. The support between them, even when they’re competitors, is amazing.

Also, there were so many queer characters. I loved how they were somehow both casually queer, but also talked about the challenges of being queer and what that means. I love hearing characters talk about being queer and what that means to them. And there was a lot of that in this book.

There was also a lot of complicated parental relationships in this book. And I liked how they’re messy and complicated. There’s no sugar coating what they are and I think that’s something that’s really special about this book. But was also a really great dad and I absolutely loved seeing him and Skye interact.

I’ve found that I can be extremely picky when it comes to singing and dancing in books. But I fell in love with both of them in this book. Skye seriously knows how to sing and she seriously knows how to dance. I loved reading about all her performances. She’s seriously talented.

The competition was also really, really cool! And I also liked how to progressed. It allowed for the book to really get it’s point across and for everything it was trying to do to shine. Plus, competitions are just really interesting in general.

I’m absolutely ready to scream about this book to everybody. Seriously, supporting it is a fantastic decision. There’s a fat, bi Korean girl, a super, super sweet male character, a fluffy white dog, a singing/dancing competition, K-pop, and amazing friendships. And it’s so, so good. I loved it so much.

I’ll Be The One comes out June 16, 2020! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

Thank you for reading!

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