I absolutely adored this book! Be Dazzled is a hilarious, queer, romcom masterpiece pitched as “Project Runway goes to Comic Con”, which is such a spot on description! It’s a fun, tender and emotional story about creativity, passion, big dreams and how everything in life is better when bedazzled.
I received an eARC from Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley of this book that will be published early next year, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to read this gem and to find this new (to me) amazing author! Ryan La Sala has a unique voice in his writing. It’s so fun and witty, yet so personal and emotional.
The story follows seventeen-year-old Raffy who is a master of cosplay. He’s also a bit of a drama queen, which made me love him even more, and so vulnerable and adorable. He’s totally passionate about his creations and determined to win a big cosplay competition and prove to his art-world powerhouse mother that his art matters. With the help of his best friend May he’s got everything ready for the big day. The only problem is that his ex-boyfriend Luca is there too, competing against him…
Luca is also such a sweet, lovable character that I immediately rooted for. He’s a closeted soccer player, who’s attempt to tell his mother that he’s bisexual brutally failed. Now he wants to be with Raffy and he wants to do cosplay and dress up and… be himself. But he’s struggling with the need to keep it private for his parents’ sake.
The story is told in two parallel tracks, jumping between present and past to reveal how Raffy and Luca met and fell in love. I really loved this way of slowly revealing the relationship and the problems leading to the break-up. The relationship was so cute and still there were so many misunderstandings and mistakes that broke my heart, with Luca doubting Raffy’s love and with Raffy doubting that their different worlds would go together outside the studio.
“All I want is this.”
“I think you want a lot more,” Luca observes.
Raffy and Luca were so perfect for each other, all I wished for was a way for them to realize it too and find a way to make it work. To find a way to keep them sparkling together.
“There. Now you sparkle too.”
Luca grins. “You like it?”
“I like you.”
“I like me too, especially when I’m with you.”
All in all, this is a wonderful and charming story about first love, about finding your path in life and finding the courage to become your most authentic self. I loved the pacing, the puns, the way the story was told in parallel timelines, the relatable characters with all their flaws, over-the-top feelings and vulnerability and the cosplay world insights. I adored the unique, funny yet serious, voice in which Ryan La Sala told this gem of a story. And most of all, I loved the important message in this book that you are perfect just the way you are. This is a book that makes the world shine a little brighter!
5 bedazzled stars
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens Deonn Tracy D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez