I’ll Be the One
by Lyla Lee
* * * * Stars (Great!)
Skye Shin is auditioning to be on a reality show where she’ll compete as a singer/dancer along with other contestants to showcase her skills and love for K-pop. The winners of the competition will get to continue their training/careers in South Korea. Skye has no doubts about her talent, but her mom is always making digs about her weight instead of supporting her daughter. Skye may be fat, but she doesn’t see it as a problem. Unfortunately, one of the judges (and a lot of other people) seem to think fat=lazy, which is definitely not true in Skye’s case. She works extremely hard and wows the audience continuously. Skye becomes famous even before the first episode of the show airs when she and Instagram celebrity/model, Henry Cho, go out for tacos. Soon everyone is talking about them as a couple, which they are NOT, but after spending more time with Henry, Skye realizes she may be developing feelings for him after all. Will she win in love and in the competition?
Skye is an absolute tiger when she’s on the defensive – standing up for and being an inspiration to every girl who’s ever been bullied about her size or weight. She’s strong, creative, passionate, and lovable. It’s easy to see why Henry likes her so much. There’s lots of other reasons to pick this up, too – K-pop enthusiasts should appreciate its dedication and references to the music and artists, those interested in Korean community and culture in both America and South Korea will find a lot of details here, and those who love romcoms will enjoy the budding romance and chemistry between Skye and Henry. It’s a lot of fun! Many of the characters, including Skye, identify as LGBTQ, and most are Korean.
Reviewed by YA Librarian