Goodreads: Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: 01 June 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Coming-of-Age
Sunny Song’s Big Summer Goals:
1) Make Rafael Kim my boyfriend (finally!)
2) Hit 100K followers (almost there…)
3) Have the best last summer of high school ever
Not on Sunny’s list: accidentally filming a PG-13 cooking video that goes viral (#browniegate). Extremely not on her list: being shipped off to a digital detox farm camp in Iowa (IOWA??) for a whole month. She’s traded in her WiFi connection for a butter churn, and if she wants any shot at growing her social media platform this summer, she’ll need to find a way back online.
But between some unexpected friendships and an alarmingly cute farm boy, Sunny might be surprised by the connections she makes when she’s forced to disconnect.
I won a copy of this book in a Giveaway hosted by the author. I buddy it with my fellow winner Julie @ One Book More and it was so much fun. 😍 I can’t wait to read more by this author in the future!
TL;DR: Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous is a comedic and realistic coming-of-age story about growing up in the age fo a social media as a mid-level influencer and I thought it was an entertaining and entirely too relatable read! I have a feeling anyone who’s been on social media, no matter what age, will relate to Sunny and the kids at this camp in one way or another! Sunny was an interesting character who experiences such great growth and I loved the hopeful end-of-summer vibes the story concluded with. #TeamSunny for the win!
First off, this was my first book by Suzanne Park and I absolutely enjoyed her writing style! It flowed so well that before I knew it, I was halfway through the book in one sitting and I didn’t want to put it down. I liked how the characters were developed and her descriptions of places, pop culture references, and Asian American experiences made for an easily relatable read. The story touches on the relevant topic of the impact of social media in our lives and I’m sure that many readers will have an “oh yeah, I totally get that” moment, much the same as I did while reading! Park also seamlessly weaves in the Asian American experience of micro-aggressions and racism, and identity struggles pertaining to culture and language that many diaspora or international kids will probably be able to identify with. One thing that I related to so much was Sunny’s fear of and hesitancy to speak Korean. I felt that to my core because I was much the same having grown up outside of my birth country only to come back 25 years later to live there for the first time as an adult, while my comprehension and speaking levels of the language were elementary at best.
While the story touches on deeper subjects, it doesn’t cover them with a heavy or overbearing tone, and Park keeps things light while still allowing Sunny to experience personal growth. When we first meet her, I was admittedly a little worried that I wouldn’t like Sunny! She’s spoiled by the privileged LA bubble she lives in and her attitude is very me-centric—she doesn’t do or pay attention to much that doesn’t benefit her and she spares little thought for the impact of her actions on others. Thankfully, that attitude slowly changes once she gets to camp. With the new personal interactions and relationships that she develops with Delina (the new friend), Theo (the sweet new love interest), and Coach (the supportive and mindful group session facilitator), she begins an introspective journey where she confronts her biases and weighs the impact of being a young influencer. She also realises that while the continuous chasing of the social media high is unhealthy, there are ways to use her knowledge and influence on these channels and with the following she has amassed to effect positive change. That said, the ending does wrap up easily and idealistically and while these types of neatly packaged and somewhat unrealistic endings usually tend to bother me, I found that I didn’t mind so much in this instance. I think it fits with the contentment that Sunny found within herself and it was a nice hopeful end of summer note to close on!
I also wish we got to see a bit more of the camp shenanigans and other aspects of camp life but I think the more ‘solitary’ journey was fitting for Sunny’s character and growth. I was pleasantly surprised how Sunny really gave her all in the camp activities because I honestly expected a bit more headstrong rebellion 😂 But it was refreshingly mature and respectful and I appreciated that! Plus, Sunny has a sarcastic and sassy voice that I really enjoyed and her somewhat insecure and sometimes bumbling thoughts really had me laughing out loud, especially when it came to her interactions with Theo. Ah, sweet summer ‘love’ 😍 The romance wasn’t a big part of the plot and we don’t get much depth from it, but it was still a sweet and tentative romance! Although they were opposites in basically every way, Theo and Sunny were adorkably awkward and they were comfortable around each other.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sunny and her funny and relatable coming-of-age story. I’m definitely #TeamSunny all the way! I wouldn’t even be mad to get another book with Sunny and Theo to see what happens after camp and summer ends. I have one of Park’s earlier YA releases waiting to be read on my bookshelf and I’m looking forward to picking it up even more now!
Have you read Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous or is it on your TBR?