Review of Super Fake Love Song

Super Fake Love Song
by David Yoon
High School    Putnam    368 pp.    g
11/20    978-1-98481-223-0    $18.99

Sunny Dae and his friends are the “nerd caste” (and also “42.85714286 percent of the entire nonwhite population”) at their suburban Los Angeles high school. They are, after all, the hosts of a web series about building props for LARP events (live action role playing, for the uninitiated). But when he meets cool new girl Cirrus, Sunny hides his passions for crafting and role-playing games and pretends he’s the front man of a band called the Immortals, using his older brother Gray’s equipment and wearing his clothes. The lie escalates quickly: soon, both Cirrus and Sunny are smitten with “Rock Star Sunny,” and the Immortals are preparing to perform in their school’s talent show. Sunny’s narration, full of inventive metaphors, is distinctly, gloriously nerdy. For example, when he hears that Gray quit his band for financial reasons: “It killed me that people had to cancel their dreams for endless toil, unless of course we somehow managed to pull ourselves out of these late-stage capitalist dark ages and into a Star Trek (TNG) future blessed with a universal basic income and sweet jumpsuits.” Despite Sunny’s self-professed cynicism, the novel is a joyful one: a bully easily becomes a friend; three geeky friends turn out to also be decent musicians; and ultimately Sunny, just as he is, gets the girl. For nerds — and those who love them — this is a fitting tribute.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Rachel L. Smith

Rachel L. Smith is a content developer for an educational publisher. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from Simmons College.

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