Written by: Lyla Lee
Reviewed by: Mary Warren
We follow Skye on her journey as she auditions to be a K-pop star on a reality TV show competition. She is an amazing singer and dancer; her main challenge is convincing the judges that her weight won’t be an issue. Her own mother doesn’t believe she can do it. Skye doesn’t let any of that stop her; she is determined. She will find new friends and new loves, and maybe she will prove to everyone they were wrong about her.
I really liked this story. It was a fun, easy YA coming-of-age story. I do have an issue with this book though. This book deals heavily with themes of fat shaming and fatphobia. I think it does a decent job of dealing with them, and Skye is definitely an empowering character. My only issue is that the author writes about fat trauma, and the author herself is not fat. She did a good job making it feel relatable, so I’m sure she did her research and had sensitivity readers. But as a person who has dealt with her fair share of fat trauma, it feels bad to have someone who has not experienced that trauma write a story about it and profit off of trauma I experience and people who look like me experience. I think representation is important. I think all books should have fat characters in them because fat people exist in all of our lives, but if you are not fat, don’t write about our trauma. Write about fat people living their lives because believe it or not, our entire identities don’t revolve around us being fat. I sense a blog post about this coming in the near future.
Overall, I think I’ll Be the One is a great read. Lee wrote an empowering and inspiring character in Skye. A character who tells the story of a girl with big dreams, the determination to make them happen and who knows she’s worth far more than what others perceive. For that, I would recommend this book, even over my concerns of problematic writing. There need to be more characters like Skye, no matter who writes them.