This is a pitch perfect, sweet-as-pie YA contemporary novel about Skye, a fat, bisexual Korean-American teen trying to win a k-pop competition in LA with her dual singing and dancing skills. This novel features a very supportive dad (who diligently tries to make up for a strained mother-daughter relationship), an international, Instagram-famous hottie, fat acceptance highs and lows, and so much good friendship. Just enough romance and plenty of actual k-pop idol references for current and to-be fans. Do yourself a favor and hit shuffle on the "K-Pop Daebak" Spotify playlist and bop along to this girl power anthem of a book.— From Niki
Diverse book recommended by The Today Show * A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year * Bank Street Best Book of the Year * YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults * ALA’s Rainbow Book List Top 10 for Teen Readers
The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Debut author Lyla Lee delivers a deliciously fun, thoughtful rom-com celebrating confidence and body positivity—perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Julie Murphy.
Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her.
She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.
When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho.
But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.
Lyla Lee is the author of I’ll Be the One and the Mindy Kim series for younger readers. Born in South Korea, she’s since lived in various cities throughout the United States. Inspired by her English teacher, she started writing her own stories in fourth grade and finished her first novel at the age of fourteen. After studying psychology and cinematic arts at the University of Southern California and working in Hollywood, Lyla now lives in Dallas, Texas. When she’s not writing, she is petting cute dogs and searching for the perfect bowl of shaved ice. You can visit her at www.lylaleebooks.com.
"Skye’s strength and talent make her an inspiration to K-pop–loving teens everywhere—including those in real life. Lee’s YA debut slathers on all the juicy drama, high emotion, and kick-ass performances you’d expect from a K-pop talent competition but also has quieter moments where true friendships and a swoony romance develop... A fresh perspective on body image and K-pop? Jjang!"
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This rom-com is everything it needs to be…filled with a sweet new romance and starring a heroine to root for. Lee finds a spot alongside Jenny Han and Stacey Lee in representing the diversity of Asian American experiences. A joyful protagonist who speaks to Generation Z.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Lee's debut whips up intense Dumplin' vibes with a main character you want to reach into the pages for and honestly just hug for hours…[The] story is strong, punctuated by moments of cheering triumph as Skye dismantles her emotional trauma. Readers looking for positive role models will gravitate to Skye's story, which will resonate with girls of every size.” — ALA Booklist
"Charming, romantic, and empowering. A remarkable gem of a novel that celebrates following your dreams and staying true to yourself." — Robyn Schneider, author of The Beginning of Everything and Extraordinary Means
“An absolute delight. Full of messages about self-love and following your dreams, I’ll Be the One is equal parts adorable and inspiring. Lyla Lee has crafted such a refreshing main character with Skye, whose charming confidence made me root for her from the very first page.” — Akemi Dawn Bowman, author of Morris Award Finalist Starfish
“I’ll Be the One delivers on all dimensions: a swoony ship, body positivity, a complex mother-daughter relationship, and a realistic, relatable protagonist readers will root for!” — Gloria Chao, author of American Panda and Our Wayward Fate
"The real secret to loving yourself is simple: confidently believing in and standing up for yourself like Skye does in this book!" — Ailee, singer-songwriter