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I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee

Emotional, empowering, and incredibly sweet. Lyla Lee’s I’ll Be The One is as uplifting as it is adorable.

Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink

The Story

Synopsis from the Publisher:

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.

My Review: I’ll Be The One

A few warnings before I go into my review. I’ll Be The One has topics that may cause readers some difficulty, so please be gentle and kind to yourselves if any of these are triggers. There is fatphobia, body shaming, emotional abuse, bullying, and homophobia. I have resources at the end of this review for anyone who is need of help or support.


I’ll Be The One is a read that makes you want more body positive YA books. It features a young girl who is confident, beautiful, and passionate. It’s a combination of ingredients that will have you smiling with every turned page and still hear the echoes of your own voice rooting for Skye long after you’ve finished the book.

Emotionally, as a parent myself, the relationship between Skye and her mom was challenging. I really take in how authors map out parent involvement (or lack there of). And I was deeply saddened by the emotional abuse Skye suffered by her own mother. You can see over the course of the novel how their strained relationship has impacted Skye’s life. Though, I must point out, that impact is used to fuel her body positivity and Skye’s shear will and determination to literally be the one.

A Few More Thoughts

Thankfully, Skye has her father who supports her, though, the relationship is a solid one, there is this absence. He lives and works in Northern California and only comes home every other weekend. So, that added to the isolation (for me) in the family dynamic, especially when it came to Skye and her mother.

As for this being a K-Pop competition with a splash of the most adorable romance, and Queer side characters who were part of the contest, think American Idol, who were indelible in their friendship with Skye, readers, I absolutely loved it. This was a contest with rivalries that sometimes showed the underbelly of people’s discriminatory behaviors and actions. Except, this did not deter Skye. Skye will go the lengths to succeed, to prove every hater, bully, and mean person, including her mother, wrong. Even though Skye’s confidence is as strong as iron, it’s not an easy journey. And Lee does not shy away from the fact that kids (from middle school to teens) and adults are cruel.

Last Thoughts

However, I think the underlining message Lee presents in her book is we need to make body positivity the norm. When we look at bodies our initial thoughts should be this is a human being. They have feelings, emotions, and abilities that should be recognized and celebrated. The idea of being kind should not be a difficult one.

My take away after reading I’ll Be The One is Lee’s book is going to change someone’s life. As an author she is edifying body positivity. Inspiring young people to love their bodies. Where they, and we, can challenge and change social norms, demanding to be seen, acknowledged, and respected.

If you haven’t had a chance to read I’ll Be The One, you should make a point to change that, or at the very least add this one to your ever growing TBR. 😊

Happy Reading ̴ Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blotink blot – Exceptionally Inked

Publication Details

  • Publication day: June, 2020
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0062936929
  • Pages: 336
  • Age Group: 13+
  • Hardcopy: $17.99
  • Get A Copy⬇️

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Resources after reading I’ll Be The One

Sheaf & Ink feels strongly in supporting those who have suffered from abuse or bullying.I’ll Be The One discusses emotional abuse, bullying, homophobia, and fatphobia. If at any time you are in need of support please go to one of these resources listed below to seek help:

Counseling Resources

Teen Line

Teen Line offers peer-to-peer counseling for teens. (Youth Yellow Pages, BULLYING)

CALL: 310-855-4673

TEXT: TEEN to 839863

Pacer Centers Teens Against Bullying

The Teens Against Bullying is a website created by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (PACER’s NBPC). Since 2006, PACER’s NBPC has actively led social change to prevent childhood bullying, so that all youth are safe and supported in their schools, communities, and online.

The Trevor Project

Trained counselors at The Trevor Project are here to support you 24/7. If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the TrevorLifeline now at 1-866-488-7386.

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