cover image Be Dazzled

Be Dazzled

Ryan La Sala. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4926-8269-1

Raphael “Raffy” Odom lives for cosplay and the elaborate anime-inspired costumes he creates. With best friend May, he’s entering the biggest competition of them all: Boston’s Controverse Champion- ship of Cosplay. They’re determined to win, but Raffy can’t stop thinking about his would-be partner, Luca Vitale, once his boyfriend, now his ex and rival. Alter-nating “Now” and “Then” between the competition and the history of Raffy and Luca—a soccer player who’s not out as either bi or a cosplayer—La Sala (Reverie) sets his story of romance, teamwork, and beat-the-clock competition in a world where crafting centers sponsor elaborate competitions with serious prize money. Raffy’s funny and self-aware—he’s both grateful and offended that his mother believes he and May are going camping, like “some plucky settlers of CATAN!” If Raffy’s art-world powerhouse mother and her hatred for cartoons, crafting, and pop culture feels over the top, it’s a small misstep in a sequin-filled romance that’s also a love letter to the craft and creativity of cosplay. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Veronica Park, Fuse Literary. (Jan.) [/em]