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I'll Be the One

de Lyla Lee

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1098196,327 (4.06)1
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A quick, fun read with body positivity and bi representation as well as a sweet romance. ( )
  AmphipodGirl | May 23, 2021 |
this book was amazing!! i love seeing how skye learned to deal with the hate and her journey as a competitor on the show.

completed for the 2021 popsugar reading challenge; prompt #19—a book that discusses body positivity ( )
  Akacya | Feb 28, 2021 |
I'll Be the One is a 2021 Lone Star Selection.

Skye, a Korean-American, competes in a Korean talent competition where the best dancer and best singer win the competition and receive training in South Korea. Skye lives pretty much on her own--her parents occupy little of the novel. Her mother shames her for being fat--telling her/implying she is an embarrassment. Why can't she lose weight? Skye's mother sees Skye's weight as evidence that she's a poor mother. Skye's father works in northern California, so she only sees him every other weekend. He supports her completely. The novel completely focuses on Skye's ambition. She refuses to let people tell her she is less of a person because of her weight. The novel begins with the first audition for the show. One judge tells her immediately that she shouldn't try out because competing in a K-Pop competition means that Koreans don't approve of people being overweight. If she can't be disciplined enough to lose weight, she obviously can't make it in this difficult industry. Skye, however, knows that she is a great dancer and singer.

Skye's school life takes up little of the novel. You do know she continues to study because her mother will make her quit the show if her grades drop. She keeps up with two friends. It's her new friends that we really meet. One dance competitor is a famous Korean model. Skye remains focused and assumes he is arrogant. When they end up paired for one dance competition, she discovers he is a careful, kind, and misunderstood guy. Ultimately, Skye finds real people who are talented to be her friends instead of uptight divas who are ready to crush the other people that viewers assume exist on these talent shows. Skye and her new friends are amazing. You'll want Skye to win against those who make pig noises to show that talent is what shines and makes a person amazing, not her weight.

The novel supports diversity. She's Korean-American, overweight, and bi-sexual who makes friends with a gay couple. It's real life. The novel shows that we enjoy people and make friends with people who care for one another instead of people who judge. ( )
  acargile | Jan 1, 2021 |
This was so adorable! I loved it.

Is it too much to hope for a sequel in the future about Skye in Korea? ( )
  wisemetis | Dec 6, 2020 |
I don't really know much about K-Pop, don't care for reality TV competition type shows, and find YA to be more miss than hit for me but I also have never read about the experience of possibly ever auditioning to become a K-Pop star. It's also about a fat girl who's also bisexual, which would also add elements that might not be there otherwise.

Skye wants to audition despite what could be seen as barriers. And while she nails her audition, she has to deal with the stress of publicity, of a family that has never been wholly supportive of her endeavor, navigating the competition as well as maybe a little romance in the mix. You know, just your "normal" YA novel and all that.

So, while the concept was great (and something I've personally read before), I thought the writing was eh. I was never really drawn into the story, maybe because I have zero connection to much of it. I didn't really care whether Skye won or not and found the whole process a little bizarre (which, to be completely fair, sounds like it's on par with some of the other background for other reality TV shows).

But I did like it gave me a window into something I am not familiar with and does address some extremely important issues from colorism in the K-Pop world to queerphobia to fatphobia, family issues and more. I also think this would make for a *fantastic* adaptation for a streaming service. I think of Netflix's 'Dumplin'' (who has a fat young woman as a lead) and 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before' (who has an Asian young woman as the lead) as well as other works as examples as to how the adaptation could go/work. Come on, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon! This one would probably work really well if done right.

Otherwise, I'd recommend this as a library borrow if you're interested. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Sep 30, 2020 |
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