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  • Robert C. Kukla

A Young Adult Contemporary With A Bi Twist: Lyla Lee's 'I’ll Be The One'

I read this book when I was in the mood for something light hearted and cute, but was pleasantly surprised with how layered this was.

The story follows Skye, a plus sized Korean American girl who auditions for a KPop singing and dance reality competition. When she is chosen to be on the show she meets Henry and sparks start to fly.

One of the things I loved about this story was the way the author tackled fat phobia as a theme. Not only does the reader experience the fatphobic nature of the entertainment industry but we also get to experience the subject through the lens of Korean culture. Skye has a hard time dealing with the constant comments and behavior directed towards her from the producers of the reality show. And it is kicked up a notch when she constantly has to stand up for herself with her mother.

The dynamic between Skye and her mother really emphasized the notion that blood doesn’t give someone the right to mistreat you and I felt like that was an important message to evoke.

One thing I wasn’t expecting from this was the queer representation, but was pleasantly surprised with the discovery that Skye and Henry both identify as bisexual and it is explored through their developing relationship. There were plenty of heartfelt moments where the two characters have conversations about their own experiences with their sexuality. It was a nice change of pace compared to other similar stories where the representation is glossed over. I truly feel young readers will read about this and this type of bi representation helps to end the stigma bisexual people experience every day because the two characters being on a relationship doesn’t erase their bisexuality.

Overall, this is a fun and cute young adult story that will appeal to fans of YA romance but will also appeal to readers who like a little substance with their young adult stories.

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