Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Format: eBook (336 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
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.
I knew as soon as I saw the title and read “Project Runway” and “bedazzling” in the blurb that Be Dazzled was going to be adorable! The glittery book gods have smiled upon me! This was so freaking cute and such a quick read! Be Dazzled alternates between present day with Raffy and his friend May entering a major cosplaying competition, and thirteen to five months prior when he was just getting together and breaking up with his super hot boyfriend. Said boyfriend also turns up to the competition with an ex mutual friend and all hell breaks loose! Well, kinda. Raffy is extremely high strung and cannot deal with this distraction! Meanwhile, we’re left wondering what the heck happened to bring him to this point.
Even if you’re not into cosplay (I’m not, but think cosplayers are super talented!), I do think you’ll enjoy Be Dazzled. While the competition is the setting, it’s not the whole story. Raffy and Luca’s relationship unfolding was the real highlight. I was expecting something super awful, but the more I got to know Luca, the less likely that seemed. I don’t want to spoil what pushed them apart, but I think it was a good one. It felt believable and wasn’t the typical teen drama. Luca and Raffy both had their own issues going into the relationship, tried handling them to the best of their abilities, but that’s not always enough.
The only thing I didn’t like about Be Dazzled was Raffy’s mom. We’re not suppose to like her, but that’s not what I mean. She felt like a caricature of the “serious artist” who hates on cosplay as some lesser hobby. Everything she says and does, and Raffy’s reactions to her, all felt way exaggerated and took me out of the story at times. Then her near 180 at the end felt out of place for how awful she was the entire time. I’m all for a happy ending, but that one was a bit too neat given the circumstances.