Bess’ Book Recs: I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee

I don’t often (ever?) say this, but I want a sequel!

How’s that for an opening line?

Skye is Korean-American, a talented singer and dancer, and fat.

Guess which one the people in charge of her think is the most important?

Skye’s fatness is the main plot point. She applies for a K-pop reality competition and makes it through despite one of the judges (and several of her competitors) relentless bullying. Her mom is a jerk (tragic backstory, still a jerk) and her dad is absent (tragic backstory, still absent) and her friends are weirdly uninterested in her progress, so you start off unimpressed with her support network. It’s pretty amazing that she’s as successful and confident as she is, having to pull it all through on her own.

LUCKILY, she makes new friends at the K-pop contest and despite my suspicions (new friends at a contest? OBVIOUSLY they’re going to turn out awful) they don’t betray her! She just genuinely has new friends! And they’re great! She works through trauma and has fun and tries new things and has genuine support for what seems like the first time in her life.

I loved ever minute of this book. It’s filled with color and joy and communication and all the things I adore.

Normally when I finish a book I think “Ah, that was great” and am ready to move on to the next new thing.

But this?

I NEED a sequel.

I have to know what Skye’s life in Korea is like. How does training go? What’s her family like? What does Henry’s family think of her?

There are so many questions! I genuinely, desperately hope Lyla Lee is planning a sequel, because I know about K-pop training comes from watching K-pop Star about five years ago and I’d love another peek through behind the curtain, especially through Skye’s eyes.

It’s been a while since I did one of these book recs, so it took an extraordinarily perfect read to remind me that they exist!

I hope we get more soon.

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you a big K-pop fan? Let me know!

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