Title: I’ll Be The One
Author: Lyla Lee
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Rom-com, LGBTQ+ rep, Bisexual MC, Asian rep, POC cast
Content Warnings: Fatphobia, Emotional abuse, panic attack, online bullying/harassment
The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Debut author Lyla Lee delivers a deliciously fun, thoughtful rom-com celebrating confidence and body positivity—perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Julie Murphy.
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.
Big thanks to Epic Reads for sending me a finished copy of this book! Of course, it did not affect my overall opinion of the book.
This book immediately caught my eye early on! I was so excited for it because it features a fat, queer, Asian girl as the main character. I mean, hello, just look at the cover! I already loved this book for that. However, once I read the whole thing, I found myself loving it for more and more reasons.
I’ll Be The One is a fun and wonderful book, brimming with romance, confidence, and body positivity. Safe to say, it’s exactly what I needed in my life.
My thoughts on I’ll Be The One
This book was just so good and so enjoyable. It was a quick read, but it never lacked spark or excitement for me. From the story, to the romance, to the way it tackled fatphobia and body positivity, to the characters themselves, it was so good and I loved it!
It was so easy to immerse myself in the story from Skye’s perspective. We also have a lot of things in common, so I had no trouble connecting with her character immediately. Skye was fierce and hopeful, and I found myself cheering for her overall attitude and personality. I absolutely loved seeing a fat, queer Asian girl who’s confident and not afraid of taking up the space she deserves!
The way this book tackled fatphobia hit too close to home. Skye getting drastic and consistent fatphobic and body-shaming comments from a family member was too damn relatable, because I’ve experienced that, and I’m sure others did, too. Seeing Skye own who she is and be confident of herself was everything. It gave me so much hope and warmth, because as a fat girl myself, I admit there are times when I struggle with confidence, too.
Loved the romance in this book as well! I loved Skye and Henry’s chemistry, and I love that they exude such a wholesome and fun relationship. (More of this in YA please!)
I also love the queerness of this book! Henry and Skye are the bi icons we deserve. There were also queer minor characters who were amazing in their own way! My only grievance was that it wasn’t talked about more. Skye’s parents seemed to be in the dark about her sexuality, and Henry’s family were against his. It would have been nice to see the story expound on that and see the characters overcome this particular conflict.
And last but not the least, another thing why I loved this book? It has all the love and praise for BTS and I can’t help but agree! (I started reading this book because I was on a BTS high after watching so many videos and listening to their songs. Have to say, it was definitely a great decision.) Of course, this book also dived into the world of K-pop, highlighting both the good (the amazing artists, their music, and how far they’ve come) and the bad (how fatphobic it can be, and how other people fetishizes the culture). Kudos to the author for this!
Overall, I’ll Be The One is such a fun and thoughtful book, one that has a special place in my heart. I wish there were books like this when I was younger. Still, I’m very thankful that this book exists now and I had the chance to read it and fall in love with it. (Also very grateful that I received a signed copy from the author! Will forever cherish that copy!)
Quotes from the book
“I’m fat and I take up space, but that’s okay… I’m allowed to take up space just as much as anyone else.”
“I want to show people that it’s okay to not be model-thin and exhaust yourself to the point of hospitalization. That girl failed me, so I want to be my own hero.”
“You are beautiful… Don’t let anyone, not even yourself, tell you any different.”
Buy I’ll Be The One
Have you read this book as well? What did you think of it? Come talk to me in the comments!
Also, feel free to check out one of my latest blog posts where I recommend YA books based on BTS songs! I’ll Be The One is one the books I recommended! 😉