cover image I’ll Be the One

I’ll Be the One

Lyla Lee. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-293692-9

Korean American high school student Shin Haneul, aka Skye Shin, 16, is a passionate vocalist and dancer whose size-16 body makes her a prime target within the K-pop industry she’s trying to enter. Used to harsh criticism from her appearance-obsessed immigrant mother, hardworking, confident Skye is determined to overcome biases when she lands coveted spots in both the voice and dance portions of L.A.-based show You’re My Shining Star, “the first major K-pop competition set exclusively outside of Korea.” Friendship—and possibly more—with fellow competitors, such as vocalist Lana Min and her dancer girlfriend Tiffany Lee, and Henry Cho, 17, a bi celebrity triple threat from an esteemed Korean family, augment bisexual Skye’s experience, even as a fatphobic judge and culture, overwhelming online attention, and Skye’s strained relationship with her mother cause mounting pressure. While not plus-size herself, Lee (the Mindy Kim series) believably portrays Skye’s struggles, as well as her affirmations and triumphs. Though characters tend toward underdeveloped and the plot leaves little room for surprise, this YA debut is an uplifting read for K-pop stans and readers interested in body privilege within the entertainment sectors. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Penny Moore, Aevitas Creative Management. (June) [/em]