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.
Korean American high school student Shin Haneul, aka Skye Shin, 16, is a passionate vocalist and dancer whose size-16 body makes her a prime target within the K-pop industry she's trying to enter. Used to harsh criticism from her appearance-obsessed immigrant mother, hardworking, confident Skye is determined to overcome biases when she lands coveted spots in both the voice and dance portions of L.A.-based show You're My Shining Star, "the first major K-pop competition set exclusively outside of Korea." Friendship and possibly more with fellow competitors, such as vocalist Lana Min and her dancer girlfriend Tiffany Lee, and Henry Cho, 17, a bi celebrity triple threat from an esteemed Korean family, augment bisexual Skye's experience, even as a fatphobic judge and culture, overwhelming online attention, and Skye's strained relationship with her mother cause mounting pressure. While not plus-size herself, Lee (the Mindy Kim series) believably portrays Skye's struggles, as well as her affirmations and triumphs. Though characters tend toward underdeveloped and the plot leaves little room for surprise, this YA debut is an uplifting read for K-pop stans and readers interested in body privilege within the entertainment sectors. Ages 13 up.
I hope there’s a sequel