SUNNY SONG WILL NEVER BE FAMOUS, by Suzanne Park, Sourcebooks Fire, June 1, 2021, Paperback, $10.99 (ages 14 and up)
A social media influencer is forced to put down her phone when she gets shipped off to detox camp in Suzanne Park’s Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous.
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. —Synopsis provided by Sourcebooks Fire
Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous is easily divided into beginning, middle and end. With two of those pieces being only so-so and the other much better.
The beginning of Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous could be stronger. Sure, Sunny is involved in some funny mishaps, but one-dimensional supporting characters make it feel more like a setup for the rest of the novel rather than a more natural flow of events.
The middle is where the meat is. This is where Sunny becomes a well-fleshed-out character with a stronger supporting cast that adds much-needed depth to the story. Sunny’s good-natured personality shines above the amped-up teen angst that’s ever present at detox camp. Even though she’s not happy with her situation, you don’t want to punch her — unlike some other characters — in the face.
The romance elements are sweet and awkward, and for the most part, work well. I wasn’t particularly thrilled when…
… some retirees essentially hand them the keys to a room where it’s alluded to that they have sex. While not a deal breaker, it feels like a big leap from what felt like their second or third kiss.
The ending of Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous comes fast. Like everything is wrapped up in such a small number of pages, I thought I might be missing something. Considering the more languid pacing of the rest of the book, more time and energy could, and should, have been spent here.
Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous is a quick read that might have some readers rethinking their own social media practices. I suggest this as a library read.
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