Thanks to PenguinTeen for sending me an early copy!
I absolutely loved Yoon’s Frankly in Love, so when I saw that he was releasing another YA contemporary, I was very excited (though the cover isn’t my favorite). This book has a completely different vibe than FIL, and you have to dig a little deeper to find it. However, there are multiple, engrossing layers in this book–mending a sibling relationship, wondering who your parents really are, and not being ashamed of who you are. Once I got over the oddly hyperbolic writing style, I found myself enjoying it a lot more.
Title: Super Fake Love Song
Author: David Yoon
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Expected release date: November 17, 2020
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Length: 308 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “When Sunny Dae—self-proclaimed total nerd—meets Cirrus Soh, he can’t believe how cool and confident she is. So when Cirrus mistakes Sunny’s older brother Gray’s bedroom—with its electric guitars and rock posters—for Sunny’s own, he sort of, kind of, accidentally winds up telling her he’s the front man of a rock band.
Before he knows it, Sunny is knee-deep in the lie: He ropes his best friends into his scheme, begging them to form a fake band with him, and starts wearing Gray’s rock-and-roll castoffs. But no way can he trick this amazing girl into thinking he’s cool, right? Just when Sunny is about to come clean, Cirrus asks to see them play sometime. Gulp.
Now there’s only one thing to do: Fake it till you make it.
Sunny goes all in on the lie, and pretty soon, the strangest things start happening. People are noticing him in the hallways, and he’s going to football games and parties for the first time. He’s feeling more confident in every aspect of his life, and especially with Cirrus, who’s started to become not just his dream girl but also the real deal. Sunny is falling in love. He’s having fun. He’s even becoming a rocker, for real.
But it’s only a matter of time before Sunny’s house of cards starts tumbling down. As his lies begin to catch up with him, Sunny Dae is forced to wonder whether it was all worth it—and if it’s possible to ever truly change.”
First off, I love Sunny and his friends, Jamal and Milo. Talk about a solid and loyal friendship (despite the latter events of the novel)! I find myself relating to this because even now and when I was younger, I had a very small handful of friends that I was really close to, and I think there’s something special about having a core group like that. I liked, too, that he fully embraced his “nerdiness” and doesn’t seem to do things half-assed…or so we think. Even when he has to take being a musician, he goes all in. I struggled a bit with Cirrus though, almost like we just don’t get enough or spend enough time with her to make me feel anything. You can tell, however, that she’s lonely, and a lot of that has to do with how she was raised–moving all the time at the whim of her parents’ jobs that she doesn’t really have what Sunny has. In the beginning, Sunny only sees this surface-level Cirrus, which he finds utterly cool without really knowing her.
Also, the whole subplot with Sunny and his school bully, Gunner, was equally heartbreaking yet cool. This story, along with Sunny’s own, really comes down to not being ashamed of who you are and to stand up for yourself. But sometimes…hiding yourself is what you have to do to survive just a little big longer.
I mostly enjoyed the slow rebuilding of the relationship between Sunny and his older brother, Grey. Eventually, we see that Grey has some serious issues that need to be worked on, but it was nice to see the two become close, as it becomes obvious that it’s something Sunny desperately wants. I also enjoyed the child/parent relationship as well. Are Sunny’s parents the best in the world? No, but they’re trying and it’s kind of…cute in its own way. I feel like Sunny can really be himself and be honest around his parents, which is unlike a lot of YA contemporaries I’ve read.
In the end though Sunny and Cirrus were really cute together. I loved how Sunny became really flustered around her, just dying to be “cool” so she would like him. I liked the message the book gave of not needing to pretend to be someone else in order to get someone to like you.
Check out these other reviews:
- Kaya at A Fictional Bookworm loved the relationship dynamics.
- Cristina at The Rest Is History enjoyed the immigrant/first-generation American narrative. (Great point!)