Review by Booklist Review
This charming and relatable novel takes a look at the impact social media has on teens while examining the pressure teens feel in a viral world. The internet has been a part of Sun-Hee (Sunny) Song's life ever since she was a toddler, when she accidentally became an overnight sensation. Like most teens her age, Sunny's brand is important to her, and she works hard to grow her various platforms. After a filming mishap that puts her school enrollment at risk, Sunny's parents ship her off to Iowa for a four-week stay at a detox farm, where she and other social-media addicts surrender their phones and take various jobs on the farm. In the midst of addressing how overwhelming social media can be for kids, Park also tells a heartwarming story of a young adult trying to separate herself from her online persona. While the novel touches on a generation's growing dependence on social media, Park could have gone further in exploring its negative impacts and finding a healthy balance. Still, Sunny will easily endear herself to many readers.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this lighthearted contemporary romance, a livestream baking blunder dubbed #BrownieGate and #BrowniePorn results in Korean American vlogger Sun-Hee "Sunny" Song, 17, being sent to a digital detox camp in Iowa to placate her reputation-concerned high school principal. While she initially dislikes life at Sunshine Heritage Farms, Sunny befriends mukbang livestreamer Delina, who's Black, and entrepreneurial Theo, whose white family owns the farm; as Sunny faces her own preconceived notions of rural life, she also pursues a relationship with Theo. The two grow closer through witty banter and assisting regular visitors in a sweet romance that nails new-relationship nerves. But she must choose between stardom and finishing the camp when a social media showcase requires Sunny to make a fresh video using a smuggled cell phone. Some supporting characters are inadequately fleshed out, and a message about social media and genuine relationships being mutually exclusive feels limiting, but Park (The Perfect Escape) offers thoughtful insights about being perpetually online through Sunny's humorous narration. Ages 14--up. Agent: Brent Taylor, Triada US. (June)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up--This is an #OwnVoices story about Sunny Song, a Korean American rising high school senior living in Los Angeles. Sunny had been known as Goggle Girl thanks to a video that her mother, who used to be a mommy blogger, posted of Sunny dancing in swim goggles and a bathrobe. Now Sunny has a YouTube channel with nearly 100,000 followers, but when her clumsiness results in her accidentally removing her top while baking during a livestream, the incident becomes known as #BrowniePorn. Sunny's parents send her to Sunshine Heritage Farms in Iowa for a digital detox session. Along with other teens there, all of whom are supposed to keep their online identities a secret, Sunny will have no access to the internet or electronic devices. Sunny's best friend Maya, who is Black, sees a contest to join Starhouse, "a collective of content creators," and volunteers to admin Sunny's channel while she's gone. Readers will chuckle as Sunny encounters rivalry and romance with the camp owner's son, all while sneakily trying to film her contest entry. With a diverse cast, the main characters are vivid and Sunny's arc is particularly satisfying. Throughout the story, Sunny navigates her Korean American identity and her online persona, as well as her relationship with her family. Park addresses casual racism when Sunny is taken off historical reenactment duty because the camp director believes having a Korean American pioneer confuses children. The subplots ultimately tie together in an ending that feels almost too neatly resolved. Brief drug and alcohol use make this story a better fit for older readers. VERDICT For collections looking to add a humorous romance.--Liz Anderson, DC P.L.
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
A Los Angeles teen YouTuber is forced to disconnect from Wi-Fi but finds new connections in an unexpected place. Sun-Hee "Sunny" Song's parents are already on her case since her prep school headmaster met with them to address Sunny's social media activity during school hours. So after her parents and younger sister, Chloe, walk in on her during an accidentally racy cooking livestream, later dubbed #BrownieGate and #BrowniePorn, Sunny is sent to Sunshine Heritage Farms, a digital media detox camp in Iowa where technology is banned and campers are required to attend daily group sessions and contribute to the farm's maintenance. Sunny encounters internet socialites of all kinds, including Delina, a Black mukbang livestreamer whom she later befriends, and Wendy, a popular and intimidating White athletic influencer whose arc is never fully resolved. Desperate to stay connected, Sunny sneaks a cellphone into camp and keeps up with her best friend, Maya, who forwards updates on her status in an influencer contest. But as Sunny grows closer to sweet and hardworking Theo, a White boy whose family runs the farm, and reflects on the impact of social media on her life and future, her priorities begin to shift. Park smartly and honestly weaves Sunny's nuanced experience as a Korean American into a story that is ultimately about human identity in our advanced age of social networking. Valuable lessons learned and a cute romance are wrapped up with a sentimental ending. Quirky and insightful. (Fiction. 12-17) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.