I'll be the one

Lyla Lee

Book - 2020

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.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Lee Lyla Checked In
Humorous fiction
Romance fiction
New York, NY : Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2020]
Main Author
Lyla Lee (author)
First edition
Physical Description
323 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

For most of her life, Skye Shin has been told that she can't and shouldn't do things because she's fat. The worst part? It's her mother who has consistently reinforced this idea. But this 16-year-old is about to prove the world wrong when she becomes a contestant in a televised K-pop competition, which she has every intention of winning. Despite a fat-shaming judge, her mother's ruthless criticism, and negative media attention, Skye's tenacity inspires others and just might win her the heart of her sexy partner. Lee's debut whips up intense Dumplin' vibes with a main character you want to reach into the pages for and honestly just hug for hours. There's a fair bit of telling instead of showing that rushes through scenes, but the story is strong, punctuated by moments of cheering triumph as Skye dismantles her emotional trauma. Skye's bisexuality and the sexual orientation of peripheral characters also strengthen the narrative. Readers looking for positive role models will gravitate to Skye's story, which will resonate with girls of every size.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Korean American high school student Shin Haneul, aka Skye Shin, 16, is a passionate vocalist and dancer whose size-16 body makes her a prime target within the K-pop industry she's trying to enter. Used to harsh criticism from her appearance-obsessed immigrant mother, hardworking, confident Skye is determined to overcome biases when she lands coveted spots in both the voice and dance portions of L.A.-based show You're My Shining Star, "the first major K-pop competition set exclusively outside of Korea." Friendship--and possibly more--with fellow competitors, such as vocalist Lana Min and her dancer girlfriend Tiffany Lee, and Henry Cho, 17, a bi celebrity triple threat from an esteemed Korean family, augment bisexual Skye's experience, even as a fatphobic judge and culture, overwhelming online attention, and Skye's strained relationship with her mother cause mounting pressure. While not plus-size herself, Lee (the Mindy Kim series) believably portrays Skye's struggles, as well as her affirmations and triumphs. Though characters tend toward underdeveloped and the plot leaves little room for surprise, this YA debut is an uplifting read for K-pop stans and readers interested in body privilege within the entertainment sectors. Ages 13--up. Agent: Penny Moore, Aevitas Creative Management. (June)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 7--10--Skye Shin is plus-sized, bodyp-ositive, and mega-talented despite the negativity her mother continually batters her with. Skye sings and dances in her audition for a spot on "You're My Shining Star," hoping to become a breakout K-pop star. When she gets in for both talents, the real challenges begin: to win and tackle prejudice because of her size and her budding relationship with celebrity Henry Cho, who is also on the show. Skye needs to navigate vitriolic social media, her mother, and her friendships while remaining true to her talents and challenging the body norms of Korean women. This rom-com is everything it needs to be: predictable, filled with a sweet new romance, and starring a heroine to root for. The blend of contemporary cultural references and social media amplify Skye's generational conflict with her mother. The dynamic is entertaining and comfortable, but balanced with the seriousness of her ambition to succeed authentically as a bisexual Korean girl who isn't thin. In her dialogue-rich and character-driven novel, Lee finds a spot alongside Jenny Han and Stacey Lee in representing the diversity of Asian American experiences. Teens will feel seen in Skye's growing confidence as she faces multifaceted aspects of discrimination. VERDICT With the groundwork laid for a sequel and a joyful protagonist who speaks to Generation Z, this pleasantly contemporary title will fly off the shelves.--Alicia Abdul, Albany High School, NY

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A plus-sized Korean American teen enters a K-pop competition in both the singing and dance categories. It was a long time coming, but at 16, Skye Shin is finally comfortable with her size-16 body. But that doesn't mean she's immune from the microaggressions she encounters everywhere she goes. Skye does a great job describing not just what it feels like to be on the receiving end of hurtful bias, but also how her experiences have shaped her, given her strength, and taught her to love herself. When a K-pop competition show comes to Los Angeles, nothing will stop Skye from competing, not even her own immigrant mother, whose body-shaming comments border on abusive. The judges, however, are a different story. She's going to have to work harder than she ever has before to prove that talent can outshine prejudice. In the process, Skye's strength and talent make her an inspiration to K-pop--loving teens everywhere--including those in real life. Lee's YA debut slathers on all the juicy drama, high emotion, and kick-ass performances you'd expect from a K-pop talent competition but also has quieter moments where true friendships and a swoony romance develop. While most of the cast, including the hunky love interest, is Korean or Korean American, there are competitors of other races. Skye and the boy she likes are bisexual, and there are queer secondary characters. A fresh perspective on body image and K-pop? Jjang! (Fiction. 13-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.