COLOR THE SHELVES: Interview with Lyla Lee, author of I’ll Be the One

Color the Shelves (25)

Hello friends and welcome to Color the Shelves!

I’m so excited to be bringing you an interview with the author of one of the loveliest, softest books I’ve read so far this year. Lyla Lee, author of I’LL BE THE ONE, a book about a fat Korean girl who wants to be one of the first plus-size k-pop stars in the industry. She enters a competition and drama and swoony romance ensue. The romance is between a bi girl and a bi boy and it’s so sweet and tender, it made my heart ache. Not only that but the themes of unrealistic beauty standards, queerphobia and fatphobia are all tackled in this story. This is a very special treat for k-pop fans, but believe me when I tell you (as someone who knows zero about all of that) that there’s something for everyone to love in this book. Now, enough of me and more of the author.

Hi Lyla, thank you so much for joining me today on Color the Shelves! First of all, congrats on your upcoming release I’LL BE THE ONE. Skye was such an enjoyable main character to follow, can you tell us more about her? maybe 5 random facts?

Thank you! So glad to be here! Here are some facts about Skye:

1.) Skye is Korean American and grew up in Orange County (in Southern California).
2.) Skye’s favorite K-pop groups are BTS, MAMAMOO, and NCT.
3.) She is a Slytherin and a Capricorn Sun, Aries Moon, and Leo Rising. Basically she’s really hardworking, ambitious, and fiercely loyal to her friends and loved ones.
4.) She loves singing and dancing and did both from a young age.
5.) Her dream is to become one of the world’s first plus size Kpop stars.

(Fadwa: YAY Capricorns! I knew I liked her for a reason)

K-pop has taken over the world in recent years but i’m very much not knowledgeable in that department. So what are 5 groups Skye would recommend to newbies?

1.) BTS. They are very worth their international renown because they’re pretty much all around superstars (they have very good, poetry-like lyrics; they can dance/sing/rap very well; and they have lots of range in their music.)
2.) MAMAMOO. They have pretty unique songs that have clever and funny lyrics and videos/dances that are really entertaining.
3.) 2NE1. They’re the OG girl-power k-pop group. They’re inactive now but they were true queens when they were and a lot of “girl power” groups today were influenced by them.
4.) NCT. The members of the different sub units of NCT are definitely some of the best dancers in K-pop.
5.) Red Velvet. Their songs will get stuck in your head for hours, and they also have great vocals and dances.

If Henry was to take Skye on the perfect date, what spot(s) would it take place at and what would they do?

He already takes Skye on TWO “perfect dates” in the book. 🙂 But honestly, for Skye, a “perfect date” would be she and Henry practicing a dance choreography together in his private studio.

What was the most important thing to you about writing I’LL BE THE ONE?

With I’ll Be the One, I wanted to write the young adult book that I really needed as a teen. Although I’m not plus size nor a Kpop star, a lot of the things Skye experiences in the book are direct mirrors of ones I experienced in real life. Dance and music were my first artistic loves, and the very first page where Skye talks about how she was fat shamed in ballet class was based on my own experience of being fat shamed in ballet when I was three. In real life, I let the haters get to me and quit. It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I started feeling okay with myself, and I poured my own journey of finding self-love and confidence into I’ll Be the One so teen readers today could “take the short cut.” A book like this would have been life-changing for Teen Me.

Last but not least, and my favorite question to ask, what’s something you’d like your readers to take away from the book, or something you’d like to tell them?

Don’t let anyone get in the way of achieving their dreams. ❤ You deserve happiness no matter how you look or who you love.


About the author

lyla-lee_author-photo-e1563250956805

Lyla Lee is the author of the Mindy Kim series as well as the upcoming YA novel, I’ll Be The One (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins). Although she was born in a small town in South Korea, she’s since then lived in various parts of the United States, including California, Florida, and Texas. 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 working various jobs in Hollywood and studying Psychology and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. When she is not writing, she is teaching kids, petting cute dogs, and searching for the perfect bowl of shaved ice.


About the book

Lyla Lee - I'll be the One

Publication date : June 16th, 2020

Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books| Harpercollins

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 336

Synopsis : Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Shouldn’t 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, even her own mother, have set for girls like her.

When Skye nails her audition in an internationally televised competition looking for the next big K-Pop star, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices and shocking performances. 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.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleIndieboundBooks-A-MillionBookshop


The gorgeous banner template was created by Skye @shuurens on Twitter. Here’s her website and portfolio.

That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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3 thoughts on “COLOR THE SHELVES: Interview with Lyla Lee, author of I’ll Be the One

  1. Pingback: Wrap-up: June – reads rainbow
  2. Pingback: To sum-up: June 2020 wrap-up + overwhelming July TBR | Word Wonders

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