Seventeen year old third-generation Korean-American Sunny Dae is a nerd with a capital “N.” Founder and front-man of the popular video channel “DIY Fantasy FX,” he creates home-made props for LARP use with his two equally nerdy best friends Jamal and Milo. Even though he gets picked on by bullies and ignored by his family, Sunny is fairly happy with his solid geek status. Until he meets Cirrus Soh, a beautiful and cosmopolitan new transfer student, who he is assigned to show around school. Suddenly his nerdiness seems utterly unacceptable. So when Cirrus drops by with her parents to meet Sunny at home, he shows her his older brother Gray’s old room (full of heavy metal posters and guitars on stands) instead of his own (full of supplies for his LARP props). Naturally, Cirrus thinks that Sunny is a burgeoning rock star. Naturally Sunny allows her to believe that. And naturally, that leads to all sorts of hilarious and heartbreaking complications. Now Sunny has to dress the part, learn to play the guitar and recruit his reluctant friends to be in his “band,” all to keep Cirrus from discovering that he’s really an all-out Poindexter. It’s pretty hard at first, but the longer he keeps it up, the more Sunny starts to like this metal-head version of himself. Is this who he really is? Or is Sunny lying to himself as much as he’s lying to Cirrus? David Yoon’s fun follow-up to his spectacular debut Frankly in Love is more rom-com than drama-rama, and full of his signature pitch-perfect dialogue. It’s a perfect winter break read for both nerds AND rockstars!
Dear Teen Peeps, some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted to RR AT ALL since, like, September. That’s because of a little thing called Hybrid Teaching in the Time of COVID (which I know you all know about, since you are on the other side of the screen) AND because I was working on this sick short list of outstanding YA debut novels. These first time authors have really brought it with these unique tales of identity, love, fame and heartbreak. Take a look and see what you think–it’s not too late to add these to your holiday wish lists!