Hi friends! I’m so excited to talk about a book that completely surprised me with how much I enjoyed it! So let’s get cracking* before I start rambling nonsense.
*what am i, 128374 years old…?
Thank you so much Penguin Teen for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
CW: A couple of mentions of racism, some minor bullying
From the bestselling author of Frankly in Love comes a contemporary YA rom-com where a case of mistaken identity kicks off a string of (fake) events that just may lead to (real) love.
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.
First things first: I am by no means a contemporary lover. I basically live in an alternate reality full of wizards and magic at this point. However, this year, I’ve read contemporaries that I’ve genuinely enjoyed. And this happens to be one of them.
My “Actually Really Amazing” Contemporary Checklist:
- Music. The emphasis on music, on loving music, on being passionate for music, or finding a passion? The snippets of finding the sheer magic of performance? Super Fake Love Song might be about a fake band but the love for music is real.
- Relatable characters are what makes or breaks a contemporary for me, honestly. I’m a teenager. I need to read about real teenagers, and be able to relate in some form to their passions, ideals, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and whatever else is on the back of a college pamphlet. And David Yoon did very much accomplish that.
- ROMANCE. Was I totally, 100%, Jude-and-Cardan invested in Cirrus and Sunny’s relationship? No. However, I liked it. It felt like a sweet, teenage romance. Albeit one built on lies.
ALRIGHT. I actually have more thoughts*! First of all, Sunny, Milo, and Jamal are the only three minority male students in their school, and that was something they’d bonded over. Jamal is Jamaican-American, Milo is Guatemalan-American, and Sunny is Korean-American. This is OwnVoices for the Korean-American rep, and I loved seeing all the hints of Korean culture the author dropped. All three are mega-nerds, and very heavily involved in DND, live action role-playing, and the like. It’s pretty awesome. I loved the fact that even as Sunny is faking being a rock star when he meets Cirrus, even as he gains popularity and confidence, he doesn’t want to let go of being a nerd. He loves what he loves, and he shouldn’t be ashamed of that. In a world crowded with media constantly telling people what to do, what to like, who to be, it was so refreshing to have a book that isn’t focused on the main character becoming “cooler”. The balance of Sunny discovering a new passion, yet yearning for his old one, is so well-done.
*me? with coherent thoughts? truly, contemporaries are an alternate reality
Sometimes, I was a little thrown off by the dialogue and writing style. It felt like it was trying almost too hard at times to mimic teenage conversations and inside jokes. At others, thought, it fit perfectly with the scene. I think the writing style is definitely an adjustment and won’t be for everyone, but I personally liked it.
Also, the relationship dynamics??? My heart??? I don’t even know what I liked best. The family dynamic of Sunny’s parents constantly working and his older brother Gray not wanting to hang out anymore, and the development of the brotherly bond? Or maybe Sunny finding friends in unexpected places*? Or his blossoming romance with Cirrus, knowing that it’s based off of a lie? The complexities of character arcs and relationships actually make this book feel so very genuine, despite all the fake pretenses surrounding it. I just…loved it.
that made it sound cheesy but i swear it’s not. i’m just trying to avoid spoilers.
I feel like there’s so much more to say, but at the same time I don’t want to ramble into oblivion and spiral into spoilers. I do feel like this book won’t be for everyone, but I really loved it. Sunny’s balancing game of fake/real was entertaining, the topics and themes discussed were thought-provoking, and it was semi-relatable. I’m definitely stuck between a 4.5 and a 5 for this one. You can preorder here! Let’s talk in the comments below!