This real-life role-playing-game YA novel addresses being true to oneself in a funny, heartfelt way.
Right before 17-year-old Korean American Sunny Dae is about to show his uber-cool crush, Cirrus Soh, his bedroom filled with "swords and shields and nerdy stuff," he thinks, "You only get one chance to make a first impression." With this in mind, when Cirrus mistakenly thinks his older brother's room--with its guitars and rock concert flyers--is his, Sunny doesn't correct her. To save face, Sunny convinces his two just-as-nerdy best friends to form a band. But with Gray, his former rock star brother, nursing a failed music career at home and a lurking bully collecting "nerd tax," it can't be long before Cirrus discovers Sunny's real identity.
In Super Fake Love Song, David Yoon (Frankly in Love) examines identity and shame through a self-proclaimed nerd faking his way through being cool, a bully jock hiding his real interests, and a failed musician coming to terms with his personal truth. Yoon shows that whether it's to impress a girl or appease one's parents, this "melodramatic playacting" is no different than Sunny's beloved role-playing games--and is proof that "all human life seemed driven by... the fear of being an incorrect self." These harsh revelations about humanity are softened by Sunny's loving, healthy relationships with male friends and delightful "fifteen going on fifty" disposition (including "high-density memory foam slippers" and cautionary asides). Yoon's colorful language and careful plotting enhance an effective, meaningful story about self-acceptance. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader