Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala
YA Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Project Runway goes to Comic Con in an epic queer love story about creativity, passion, and finding the courage to be your most authentic self.
Raffy has a passion for bedazzling. Not just bedazzling, but sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making–for creation. He’s always chosen his art over everything–and everyone–else and is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. There’s only one small problem… Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition.
Raffy tried to make it work with Luca. They almost made the perfect team last year after serendipitously meeting in the rhinestone aisle at the local craft store–or at least Raffy thought they did. But Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. Now, Raffy is after the perfect comeback, one that Luca can’t ruin.
But when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he’ll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he’s ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.Goodreads
Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and Dreamscape for a copy in exchnage for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. You can read more on my disclosures page.
When I read the synopsis for Be Dazzled and saw gay and cosplay, I knew this would be the book for me. And I was right.
There is something about nerdy gays that just gets me. I felt that same way about Conventionally Yours. Raffy was a delight. Often in contemporary YA, I am turned off by the first-person narrative. But I never found Raffy to be whiny or immature like I usually do in other YA books. It probably helped that he was basically an adult as his mother seems to all but abandon him regularly. The story is told in alternating timelines – the present – in which Raffy has entered a cosplay contest at a con, and the past – which shows the progression of his relationship with Luca.
I enjoyed switching back and forth, and I was interested in both timelines. I wanted to know what happened with Raffy and Luca and the outcome of the cosplay contest. The only thing I didn’t love was Raffy’s mom. She seemed way over the top and almost unbelievable in the way she was portrayed. It was almost too much. But that was a small thing I can overlook, and I still absolutely adore this book.
If you are looking for a sweet nerdy read, look no further than Be Dazzled.