Sorry about that title, I really can’t help myself. Reduce, reuse, recycle my
bad jokes mwa hahaha.
Be Dazzled was advertised as Project Runway meets Comic Con. As soon I saw it (thanks bookstagram for making me abandon by tbr once again) I internally chanted please let it be out, please let it be out, please let it be out. And guess what, the book release date gods were in my favor! I ran (well, “ran” to get an ecopy, but same difference) and snatched a copy and then spent the next few hours wrapped up in all of this book’s glory.
Book: Be Dazzled
Author: Ryan La Sala
Published January 5th 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire
Trigger warnings: anxiety, biphobia
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. (from Goodreads)
The characters in this book are beautifully messy. Their relationship? Even messier.
“What can I say? Some kids do drugs. Some kids start fires. I embroider in the dead of night, for the attention of strangers.”
Raffy just wants to bedazzle. With his hopes for a future in art hinging on his success during the upcoming cosplay competition, crafting his creative genius is priority number one. Throughout the book Raffy struggled to balance his love for creating art with life. He is STRESSED and sometimes balancing everything isn’t so easy.
Luca is a ray of sunshine. He is super laid-back and such a simp for Raffy. During the first half of the book I wasn’t sure if I wanted to like Luca or not. The flashbacks made me want to like him, but at the same time what happened to their relationship?? Why didn’t thinks work out the first time????? The odds were stacked against him in the beginning, but somehow he managed to come out on top.
Be Dazzled is in a now and then format. The format really allowed the air of mystery surrounding their relationship and the character development to shine.
“And the only way to understand how we fell apart is to understand what made us ‘us’ in the first place.”
The flashbacks showed us moments of Raffy and Luca’s relationship and gave great insight to both of their characters. I wanted to ship them but the voice in the back of my mind kept wondering what happened to their relationship? Why didn’t it work out? Is it repairable? Please tell me that they fix things. Please please please. I simultaneously wanted to tell the voice to shut because I’m reading and I’m never going to find out if you don’t stop your internal monologue.
But even with those doubts and the questions surrounding their breakup, I couldn’t help rooting for them. Through the flashbacks, I got to see their relationship grow and experience all of their relationship ~moments~ and oh my god they are so cute.
I mean, from the very first meet-cute I was rooting for them. Where is the line to sign up for a meet cute in a craft store?? Ohhh, in between the portal to Faerieland and the rocket to take me to Luna.
And it didn’t stop there. I have also determined that the only acceptable response to love declarations is a celebratory dance. Yes, good sir Luca, you have ruined it for everyone else. Thank you to Be Dazzled for bringing that piece of wholesome joy into my life. I was smiling so hard.
Bring me the glitter because I feel oddly inspired to bedazzle the life out of everything.
The cosplay aspect was super fun to explore. The humor was immaculate. All the characters were well developed while still being flawed at the same time. This book was about following your passion (and heart!) even when others don’t approve. And of course, it was about bedazzling. I really cannot do this book justice in this review, but truly it is wonderful. Just trust me on this one, go read this book. For real. It is a gem.
Have you read Be Dazzled? What did you think of it?