Book Review: I’ll Be the One

I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee

🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺/5

Skye is tired of the fat girl stereotypes. She’s tired on the limits imposed upon fat people because of their size. She an incredibly talented singer and dancer, and she’s going to prove it to the world (and her mother). When she nails the singing and dancing portions of a new K-pop show being aired in LA, she’s ecstatic. But she doesn’t realize the whirlwind of emotions, the heavy level of scrutiny K-pop producers give their stars, or her odd attraction to Korean super social media influencer, Henry Cho…who also won a spot on the show.

I’m fat and I take up space, but that’s okay.

😭😭😭😭 This is the bi squared story I didn’t know I have been waiting my entire life for.

Everyone needs to read this book so they can get on my level.

Particularly since today is International Bisexual Pride Day.

Why should I have to stand up for myself all the time? Just because I’m fat doesn’t mean I have to let myself get hurt by these people over and over again. I’m not some spokesperson for all fat people, nor am I some martyr. I’m just one girl trying to achieve her dreams and live her own life.

I loved Skye. I loved her drive, her passion, her absolute confidence in her sheer talent. In the beginning, I was like, is she for real? Because um, she’s coming off kinda arrogant, and then she sang and danced and blew everyone away and I was so, so happy. She might have had a host of other insecurities—about her weight, which she had accepted but still hit hard when it was all anyone ever saw of her—but her abilities were not one of them.

I did love how fatness in Asian—particularly Korean—society was dissected with a scalpel. And how Skye’s mother was so damaged by her own experiences she could only see her past self in Skye and not her daughter’s amazing accomplishments or talent. She wanted to hide Skye away like she had hidden her past self, because she had been shamed so hard in the past. And I loved that Skye recognized that damage and realized that while it explained her mother’s actions, it sure as fuck didn’t excuse them.

Bi squared.

I’ll be honest, I was less on board with the hot love interest, although I did love his publicity team. They might have been his employees, but both acted like his parents at varying times and I felt that it helped keep Henry grounded in ways that his other privileges didn’t.

Usually I’m not into huge power-disparity romances between incredibly wealthy, influential and powerful teenagers and their middle-class love interests, but I felt that Henry and Skye were on somewhat equal footing (ehhh). He came from another world, but she didn’t let that bother her and she stood her ground the few times that he overstepped her privacy (particularly when he didn’t understand the scrutiny she would come under as a fat girl eating food…I know, the fucking horror of it all—people, particularly people of the internet, are the worst).

However, I loved this book so much. Skye was absolutely dominating.

She went through so much. Bullying and discrimination from one of the judges. Bullying and harassment from several of the contestants (although she made some amazing friends that I became ride-or-die for). Shaming and emotional abuse from her mother, who was projecting her own insecurities onto her (surprisingly well-adjusted) daughter.

And she kept going.

She didn’t have to, but she did.

And despite me wanting to know a lot more about the social media aspect of it all—more of the competition and the fame and everything else, because going to high school and being on an internationally famous talent competition is a LOT—I loved every minute of this book.

There is so much joy.

Fuck comps calling this the Asian Dumplin’.

This is the one and only I’ll Be the One.

It is the bisexually squared book I never know I needed.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: I’ll Be the One

  1. I love the energy you have in writing this review! I’ll Be The One is climbing to the top of my TBR pile. I’ve heard a couple of people mention that the love interest is definitely the weak point in the story, and I didn’t know there was a power imbalance between them (which makes me cringe a bit because I’m *so used* to that being handled poorly — but from what you say Skye doesn’t let herself get bossed around by Henry). Not many other reviews I’ve read mention the mom, and I think that adds a great amount of depth. I’m looking forward to this book more and more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely a must read! Stacks on stacks on stacks racks on racks on racks bis on bis on bis.

      I can’t believe no other reviews mentioned the mom! Those parts hit so hard for me, as a child who was decidedly not the skinny, beautiful, popular clone of my former cheerleading captain mother. I was so happy that Skye was relatively well-adjusted after living with her fat-phobic, projecting mom.

      Like

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