I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
June 16, 2020 from Katherine Tegen Books
Young adult romantic comedy
Goodreads | Amazon
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.
I’ll Be the One was simply an incredible delight to read. I’ve recently gotten into K-pop, so this book came at the right time for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. It’s been a while since read such a fun romcom, and this book definitely hit everything I love from a fun YA romcom.
Skye was a joy to read about and I truly I wish I was like her–she’s so self-confident, determined, and driven in everything she does during this book, and she doesn’t let anyone get to her, and I found it so admirable. I loved seeing a plus-size, bisexual, Korean-American teen who loves dance, and my teen self definitely could have used Skye as a role model. I loved Henry as well, a lot more than I was expecting to. Like, he was cute and dorky and funny, and Skye and Henry had so much chemistry together.
I also liked that the book talks about the extreme beauty standards in the Korean music industry without making it too heavy. I’ve seen some harrowing stories from Kpop–notably Momo from TWICE was told to lose 7kg (over 15lb) in a week, which by the way, is physically impossible for literally anyone, I did the math. What Skye goes through from people, especially Bora, is harsh, but I’m glad that Lyla Lee doesn’t gloss over it. But it’s done in a way that shows body positivity, which I love.
I’ll Be the One is an absolutely delightful, positive, and fun rom-com about K-pop that I think a lot of people will love, and it’s such a great feel-good book. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Lyla Lee’s future books.
content warnings | fatphobia, body image
representation | bisexual Korean-American mc, bisexual love interest, Korean and Black side characters
3 thoughts on “Review: I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee | a delightful, positive K-pop rom-com”
Great review, Jess! :))
Thank you so much!