Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

“Have you ever considered that you can’t be prepared for every future, but all the work you’ve ever done has prepared you for whatever happens in the present?” – May 

**Digital ARC received from Edelweiss**

Synopsis: Raffy is master at crafting and creating. He can bedazzle, sew, stitch, and design incredible cosplay costumes. Looking to make it big, he enters a huge cosplay competition that could lead to sponsorships, scholarships, and hopefully art school. Even more, the respect he craves from his mother. The one major challenge? His ex-boyfriend, Luca. Raffy is trying his hardest to ignore Luca and focus on his art and the competition, but the memories of their past are still fresh and serve as a constant reminder of what could have been. 

Review: Ryan La Sala hit it out of the park with this one. Not only does this give readers the feeling of being at a Con when those are cancelled or turned digital (thanks 2020), he has anime references sprinkled throughout. Some are major and well known, others are a little more obscure, but either way, the reader will enjoy knowing what these refences mean to both the characters and other readers. While it might have been unintended, placing this story at a convention is exactly what we needed during this time. With everything being uncertain about future book conventions and author signings, seeing a fictional world holding such an event allowed me at least to relive my trips to BookCon and the overwhelming feeling I would get seeing all of the booths, panels, authors, and readers some of whom would be in costume (I would wear a bookish shirt from Out of Print Clothing). The story itself with the competition kept me on the edge of my seat. The relationship between Raffy and his mother kept my stress up, and I could easily feel the anxiety that Raffy was feeling throughout the story. The alternating past and present helped to show how Raffy and Luca’s relationship was kept to the forefront of Raffy’s thoughts while he was crafting. Overall, this is a great read for fans of art and geeky things. 

Read: 12/3/2020 – 12/26/2020 
Release date: January 5th, 2021; Sourcebooks Fire
Page count: 384 
Rating: ★★★★★ 
Genre: Contemporary; LGBTQ 
Audience: Young Adult 

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