I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee is a book I was really looking forward to since I love any book about a competition, and the K-pop concept sounded like a lot of fun. This book was a very entertaining read, and I loved Skye’s strength, but she is not a very complex character and neither are the side characters. I also had some issues with the pacing and the lack of descriptions of Skye’s performances. This book is an enjoyable read if you are looking for something relatively short and sweet, but for me, I would have liked to see more.Title: I'll Be the One
Author: Lyla Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Contemporary, Diverse, Romance
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
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.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Book Review: I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
This book tells the story of a girl who is competing on a K-pop competition show for the opportunity to become the next K-pop star. Despite being incredibly talented, Skye faces a lot of negativity from fat-phobic judges and the beauty standards of Korea. I don’t know a lot about the K-pop industry, and it was interesting to learn a bit more about the behind the scenes aspects and the high level of training they have to endure. There are also many references to K-pop songs and groups that were unfortunately lost on me, but I’m sure K-pop fans will appreciate them. This book has a great mix of serious topics such as body shaming with more fun scenes like a trip to the spa that make it more complex than a casual contemporary.
❀ Lack of Flaws in Characters
I have mixed feelings about Skye’s character, as well as most of the characters in this book. I love Skye’s confidence and everything she stands for, and she is so strong to stand up to the judges and not let the hate get to her. However, Skye has no real flaws, and she doesn’t seem very realistic because of this. This is the case with the side characters as well. They are each so perfect, and their lack of flaws makes them flat. Of course, I did enjoy how amusing this book is, but I would have liked to see more dynamic characters.
❀ Pacing is Off
Another issue I had with this book is the writing. In addition to the flat characters, the pacing is off. For a book about a K-pop competition, I was expecting more descriptions of singing and dancing. However, the emphasis is on feedback instead of performance. I also found that what I was expecting would be major plot points happen quickly and are brushed over, especially the elimination of certain characters. I did appreciate how the book isn’t just about the competition and that the characters do have lives outside of it, but I feel like there should have been more emphasis on Skye’s performances.
❀ K-pop Fans Will Enjoy
I’ll Be the One is an entertaining novel that also manages to discuss topics such as the toxic Korean beauty standards. I loved the competition concept and the main character’s strength, but I felt like none of the characters are very complex. The pacing and lack of emphasis on performance also bothered me. However, this book is meant to be fun, and if you are a fan of K-pop, you will definitely enjoy it.