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Be Dazzled

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Who's ready to sparkle?? 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 Who's ready to sparkle?? 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.


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Who's ready to sparkle?? 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 Who's ready to sparkle?? 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.

30 review for Be Dazzled

  1. 4 out of 5

    daph pink ♡

    "Some kids do drugs. Some kids start fires. I embroider in the dead of night, for the attention of strangers." Be Dazzled is adorable, soul warming , plain old fun, relatable, down to earth, a fun peak into a different world with right amount of geekiness. Be dazzled alternates between two timeline , present where Raffy (a cosplay artist) and her friend May(a webcomic artist) are participating in a Cosplay contest, where he meet his ex boyfriend Luca who is also a participant with their common "Some kids do drugs. Some kids start fires. I embroider in the dead of night, for the attention of strangers." Be Dazzled is adorable, soul warming , plain old fun, relatable, down to earth, a fun peak into a different world with right amount of geekiness. Be dazzled alternates between two timeline , present where Raffy (a cosplay artist) and her friend May(a webcomic artist) are participating in a Cosplay contest, where he meet his ex boyfriend Luca who is also a participant with their common friend Inaya. In the past timeline we see how Luca and Raffy met and what happened afterwards. "And the only way to understand how we fell apart is to understand what made us 'us' in the first place." Moving on to the characters- 🎭 Raffy "Maybe free is what I am, but I don’t feel free right now. I just feel alone." A seventeen-year-old stress ball, anxious, single minded in his pursuit of his goal, self-deprecating at times but stuffed with a good dose determination and pure talent. Cosplay is his passion , like it's something he is most confident about. Raffy is secure in himself, but he doesn't leave much room for other people. I personally admired him so much and I connected with him on spiritual level , like we are same person if you take out that cosplaying part. 🎭 Luca Luca Vitale is a soccer player, carefree, laid back , extremely gorgeous , a sweetheart at his core, warm and genuine, supportive of Raffy and in awe of his ability to be entirely himself. The moments that show his judgemental side and insecurities make him real, even when the narrative has you thinking you should dislike, it’s hard to do so. 🎭 Parenting We get to see two distant types of parenting , first Raffy's mom Evie who is hardly ever around and is emotionally distant with Raffy, constantly rebukes him for his work and crafting and is generally mean. On other hand we have Luca's overprotective mom who wants him to hang with 'THE GUYS' and wants him to more manly because she fears his bisexuality. But we get a happy ending on both the front since both the parents realize there mistake but I really appreciate the representation which was somewhat required I guess. 🎭 Friendships I also liked that there is a lot about friendship and what that means, whether it’s setting boundaries or hiding an entire party for someone when their mum gets home. May, who steps in when Raffy needs a partner for two-person cosplays. She doesn’t get dumped for Luca, and in fact inserts herself happily into the narrative at the end. She understands and manages Raffy's anxiety quite well, but she also knows how to draw the line between making him feel secure and protecting her own wants and desires. A true and healthy friendship where people understand each other and are not just someone you are forced to be with. ( That was personal ) 🎭 Relationship "It’s like we exist in a loop, a reverie, a world that is created when our hands connect and disappears when we break apart." Raffy and Luca are wonderfully individual, neither of them having any sort of wild cliché extremes that would take away from their realism. I really love how their relationship progressed and taught each boy different lessons that morphed and changed along with their status. I also loved that Luca got to come into his own so much as the book progressed. And it looks towards the end that Luca has grown and learned, so we can feel hopeful about at least their friendship moving forward. And not to forget all the anime and manga references , you got me there , I can't help but agree with everything Raffy said like "I will need money for food and Crunchyroll dot com." and especially “The subtitles are wrong. Golems are from Jewish lore. Read the manga, Luca.” Shout out to one of the most savage comeback - “Why is it that all straight boys think they are undeniably attractive to gays? Do they think we’re all just waiting around, desperate for their attention? Do straight guys think they’re the only people with access to porn??” Bottom line :- A cute geeky story about two messy boys trying to work things out and constantly screwing up. A book that cheers, that celebrates being your own person, and that also celebrates hard work and ingenuity as well as attractiveness and creativity.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    Be Dazzled is an outrageously gay romance novel with an exorbitant dash of humour that goes unprecedented in artistic thottery and wit. Ryan La Sala has created a utopia for the crafty, the geeky and those suffering through an unrequited crush on the supposedly straight soccer jock . A queer triumph.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Schwab

    This book is a total delight.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan La Sala

    5 stars. I tried really hard and I think I did a good job.

  5. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    You know what this book is??? It is absolutely delightful. 🥺💛 I love when I read books at a perfect time for me personally, and the themes just really wrap my heart up in a warm hug. There's so much love of art and creating here, affirmation that no art is "silly", that being only focused on the competitive aspects can make you forget why you love this. I've been struggling with loving art for a while and then THIS BOOK comes with reams of glitter and cloth and a stressed, anxious cosplaying cra You know what this book is??? It is absolutely delightful. 🥺💛 I love when I read books at a perfect time for me personally, and the themes just really wrap my heart up in a warm hug. There's so much love of art and creating here, affirmation that no art is "silly", that being only focused on the competitive aspects can make you forget why you love this. I've been struggling with loving art for a while and then THIS BOOK comes with reams of glitter and cloth and a stressed, anxious cosplaying crafter queer boy who makes beautiful things despite the world telling him he's ridiculous -- and it stole my heart. I know it's far too early for a review but!! Put this one on your TBRs. (Also I have not yet read Reverie but I will be!!) Crafty Raffy One thing though 😌👌🏻 If you have an Australian accent these do not rhyme. But anyway, I loved Raffy so much. He is STRESSED. The whole book he is stressed and anxious, but brilliant and clever. He sews and crafts, he sketches and designs. Like my mind boggles at the detailed creativity of cosplayers. This is such a skill set. He enters a prestigious cosplay contest which could really help him if he won...but the twist is: he's competing against his ex, who he not only taught how to craft, but who has stolen one of his designs. But it's way way more complicated than that. The book is told in "then" and "now" so we get to see Raffy and Luca's relationship developing. And then the fall out of it in the present. I loved their dynamics together! Luca is the floppy haired, puppy-dog eyed, soccer jock who is closeted from his family but wants to explore glitter and softness. But only if he doesn't "risk" anything. And Raffy is super uptight to the point of shoving everyone away, but Luca is so soft for him and Raffy melts at the idea someone respects his craft... Their relationship is wholesome and heartbreaking. the story Best thing: all the details on the making and building of the cosplays! Because I have no idea how people do it and I was fascinated! (I used to sew as a kid too, so there were some fun nostalgia feels.) And there's the cons and craft store explorations and silly scenes and high stress scenes. Literally the only thing I wanted more of was deepening the angst, just raising the stakes of the fallouts a bit more. I just loved reading this. It felt like a glittering warm hug. So many things I love are wrapped deeply in these pages, and it is unapologetically gay and explosive and chaotic and imaginative. quotes taken from the eARC; subject to change "How come my art isn't serious unless I do it like you want me to? How come I can't just make stuff for myself? How come art doesn't matter to you unless it fits your narrow criteria for what you'd put in a show? Maybe that's not what I want. Maybe that's not what I do. Maybe what I make is not up to you, and maybe you don't get to control it." What can I say? Some kids do drugs. Some kids start fires. I embroider in the dead of night, for the attention of strangers. I work hard. I always work hard. So how come I never feel like I'm working hard enough?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    I’m not a big romance reader. I’ve been known to completely skip over the genre all-together, so I’m not totally sure why I was so hyped to read Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala. It might be because this book is YA contemporary, and if I’m going to do a romance, it’ll probably be that sub-genre. It also might be that I’m already a fan of Ryan (despite this being the only book of his I read whoops) after watching a couple of interviews he’s given & videos he’s posted. I went into this hopeful that some I’m not a big romance reader. I’ve been known to completely skip over the genre all-together, so I’m not totally sure why I was so hyped to read Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala. It might be because this book is YA contemporary, and if I’m going to do a romance, it’ll probably be that sub-genre. It also might be that I’m already a fan of Ryan (despite this being the only book of his I read whoops) after watching a couple of interviews he’s given & videos he’s posted. I went into this hopeful that some of the energy he brings to social media would carry over into his work. And I’m happy to say it did! Be Dazzled exists in the exciting world of competitive cosplay, set during the convention known as Controverse. Raphael ‘Raffy’ Odom is the son of a famous artist, Evie Odom, and has to deal with her exacting creative expectations, as well as the pressure he puts on himself. The story begins right before this final competition, but is interwoven with flashbacks where Raffy first meets his future boyfriend-turned-rival, Luca. Having the sweet and heartwarming moments the two of them shared broken up by their current estranged relationship is as saddening as it is captivating. I was speeding through this book trying to find out what could have happened to blow up what seemed to be a promising love story between Raffy and Luca. Raffy is such a strong and compelling main character. He’s funny and easy to root for, and in a story about a high-stakes cosplay competition, that’s an important attribute! I loved how La Sala walked us through his designing and planning process for each different project Raffy was working on. It really helped the reader be able to visualize not just the end product, but how each component went into creating the entire look. Raffy’s social media presence and live-streaming was also a realistic course for this type of character and setting. Another thing I liked in this book was that there never ended up being a ‘true villain’. Yes there are characters who make mistakes or act poorly, but there is not really a ‘bad guy’ at the end. Everyone is just responding to the hand they’re dealt, and sometimes natural conflicts arise as a result. (And for any romance readers wondering, yes, there is a HEA.) This was such a fun read, especially considering it’s not the usual thing I gravitate to. You don’t have to be an expert on cosplay or Comic-Con or art & design at all to appreciate the accomplishments of these characters and get invested in what they’re doing. I could totally see this being a Netflix movie or something, the perfect feel-good rom-com for younger millennials and zoomers. Be Dazzled is a witty, charming and all-together endearing novel that will be sure to delight its readers! *Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire, Dreamscape Media & Netgalley for an advance copy!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alfredo (Fred)

    Next in Fashion goes to Comic Con in this dazzling romance by Ryan La Sala! Raffy is a master of cosplay. Luca is a talented soccer player. They start to get involved little by little and build a beautiful relationship. But that relationship ended. Now, a big cosplay event is coming up. and they will compete against each other. This book was written by the FANTASTIC author of Reverie, Ryan La Sala. It will come out in January 2021, and I received an ARC by NetGalley. Here are a few reasons why you Next in Fashion goes to Comic Con in this dazzling romance by Ryan La Sala! Raffy is a master of cosplay. Luca is a talented soccer player. They start to get involved little by little and build a beautiful relationship. But that relationship ended. Now, a big cosplay event is coming up. and they will compete against each other. This book was written by the FANTASTIC author of Reverie, Ryan La Sala. It will come out in January 2021, and I received an ARC by NetGalley. Here are a few reasons why you can't miss it: 1. Expectations exceeded I had high expectations for Be Dazzled, and yet they were exceeded. Starting with the characters: Raffy and Luca are complex, well developed, and have real fears and dreams. I was able to identify with anxiety attacks, family dynamics, and other issues. 2. Passion in every page There is nothing more exciting than someone talking about their passions. I was not so interested in cosplay and sewing, but I was delighted with the possibilities after that book. Everything is stunning: from the descriptions of clothes and materials to the assembly of the pieces. 3. Surprises every time! Each chapter in this book is exquisite. At all times I was surprised and impacted. I got so attached to the characters that I suffered and celebrated with them. Some scenes are very delicate, and the author always brings a message of hope and comfort. 4. The real message Being Dazzled is a book about fighting for your dreams, even if your family doesn't believe you. It's about being around the right people, the people who love and support you. It's about celebrating your victories with the one you love too. It's about meeting someone and realizing that everything in your life has changed. I stayed up late to finish reading Be Dazzled. Ryan La Sala used the right materials to sew my new favorite book, and the result was... well... dazzling.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    Ryan La Sala's newest book, Be Dazzled , is an utterly adorable rom-com that looks at doing what you love and being with whom you love, no matter what anyone says. Plus sequins. Lots of sequins. Raffy is a tremendously talented artist. But unlike his artist-turned-gallery-owner mother, he doesn’t view art as valuable only if it’s elitist. His talent lies in design—costume design, more specifically—and he’s found his sweet spot in designing costumes for cosplay conventions. This isn't something Ryan La Sala's newest book, Be Dazzled , is an utterly adorable rom-com that looks at doing what you love and being with whom you love, no matter what anyone says. Plus sequins. Lots of sequins. Raffy is a tremendously talented artist. But unlike his artist-turned-gallery-owner mother, he doesn’t view art as valuable only if it’s elitist. His talent lies in design—costume design, more specifically—and he’s found his sweet spot in designing costumes for cosplay conventions. This isn't something his mother approves of, so he must hide everything from her and work only when she isn't home. He literally runs into Luca, a handsome boy from his school, in the sequins aisle of a craft store. Luca has actually followed Raffy’s popular videos on a YouTube-like channel, so he’s mesmerized by Raffy’s talent. Clearly smitten with one another, they decide to create a costume for the two of them to compete at the next cosplay convention. But the pressures of creating the perfect costumes and having to hide this side of him from his mother take their toll on Raffy and his relationship with Luca. It doesn’t help that Luca has his own anxieties about fully coming out to his own family and embracing the side of him that loves cosplay, and these anxieties ultimately doom their relationship. Devastated and angry, Raffy is still determined to create the winning costumes for the biggest cosplay convention, in hopes he might get offers of sponsorship or even jobs. But when Luca shows up with a former friend of theirs to compete as well, it opens wounds that aren't even close to healing and ignites Raffy’s competitive spirit. Can he get everything he wants, or will he have to sacrifice something to be happy? Although I have zero artistic ability I am fascinated by art supplies and the creative process, so I couldn’t get enough of this book. Raffy and Luca are an adorable if dysfunctional couple, and even though I wanted to shake them sometimes, I rooted for their love to win in the end. Be Dazzled was a fun story with real emotional components as well, because it hurts when you can’t share the things or the people you love with those closest to you. La Sala shows he’s just as talented at rom-coms as he is creating fantastical situations, like he did in his last book, Reverie . This book charmed me completely! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. Check out my list of the best books of the last decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    One of the cutest romantic comedies that I've ever read. I alternated between the audiobook and a physical copy, and it was a nice distraction from the world of lockdowns and pandemics. Ryan La Sala's Be Dazzled differs greatly than his debut novel Reverie, but I urge you to read both. Ryan La Sala's stories create a world in which I hope we can emulate. One of the cutest romantic comedies that I've ever read. I alternated between the audiobook and a physical copy, and it was a nice distraction from the world of lockdowns and pandemics. Ryan La Sala's Be Dazzled differs greatly than his debut novel Reverie, but I urge you to read both. Ryan La Sala's stories create a world in which I hope we can emulate.

  10. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    my new lockdown comfort show is next in fashion & this is making me watch to rewatch it for the tenth time ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[coming out themes, outing, bimisia mentioned, and shitty parenting (hide spoiler)] . ▷ Representation: Raffy (mc) gay & anxiety; Luca (li) bi. Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram my new lockdown comfort show is next in fashion & this is making me watch to rewatch it for the tenth time ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[coming out themes, outing, bimisia mentioned, and shitty parenting (hide spoiler)] . ▷ Representation: Raffy (mc) gay & anxiety; Luca (li) bi. Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sheena

    I have never read La Sala before but this one is super cute! It brings you into the fun world of cosplay costume design and competitions that take place at a crossover between Comic Con and a drag race. We have our main character Raffy who is super passionate about this. His artist mom doesn’t support his passion for crafting and costume design and I really liked hearing about the strained relationship between him and his mom. I thought the romance was cute and fluffy too - a perfect escape. The I have never read La Sala before but this one is super cute! It brings you into the fun world of cosplay costume design and competitions that take place at a crossover between Comic Con and a drag race. We have our main character Raffy who is super passionate about this. His artist mom doesn’t support his passion for crafting and costume design and I really liked hearing about the strained relationship between him and his mom. I thought the romance was cute and fluffy too - a perfect escape. The chapters alternate between after the break up with Luca and how they began dating and what ended them. I’m not into cosplay/comic con but it doesn’t take away from the story, however, I do think if it’s a passion for someone reading this story they would most likely enjoy it a lot more. It also does deal with coming out, being outed, trying to find a place for yourself, and touches a little bit on friendship. Overall, this was a cute and easy read. Thank you to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for a copy of the advanced audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marieke du Pré

    This story is dazzling! Dual timelines, two lovely boys, one out, one not, fast-paced, many witty and cute moments and serious ones in between. So, it won’t be a surprise that I loved Be dazzled!

I started reading and didn’t want to quit. This is a story you crave to read in one sitting and need to slow down at the same time because you want to enjoy it as long as you can.

Raffy is super energetic, almost hysterical sometimes, and always working to achieve his goals, getting anxious when he fe This story is dazzling! Dual timelines, two lovely boys, one out, one not, fast-paced, many witty and cute moments and serious ones in between. So, it won’t be a surprise that I loved Be dazzled!

I started reading and didn’t want to quit. This is a story you crave to read in one sitting and need to slow down at the same time because you want to enjoy it as long as you can.

Raffy is super energetic, almost hysterical sometimes, and always working to achieve his goals, getting anxious when he fears he’s not good enough, which is almost always! His mom is more absent than not and doesn’t acknowledge his wish to go to an art school, and doesn’t want him to make all those beautiful costumes.

Luca is a soccer player, bisexual, enthusiastic, short-focused, and likes to joke. He is a dazzling guy who can be comfortable anywhere, but his parents cannot know he’s into cosplay, and he is not really out yet. And he is so sweet!

The boys are quite different but have a lot in common, too; they both like anime and games. However, they have to be careful; as Raffy calls them: ‘We are two balancing acts’.

I loved the dual timelines; the pacing in the ‘now’ is incredibly fast while the flashbacks give an inside into the boys’ past. I adore these kinds of books, funny, romantic but also dealing with important issues. Wonderfully done, Ryan la Salle!! 4.5 stars, such a shame Goodreads doesn’t do half stars ...

  13. 4 out of 5

    rafaella // blm

    3.5 I really enjoyed this, especially the way the author described certain things like kissing. It was magical. The chapters interchange between the present and the past. I normally don’t like going back in time because you’re usually left in a place where you want to see what’ll happen in the now, but I surprisingly enjoyed it in this case. I liked all the characters as they all had layers to them and found May’s argument with Raffy so real. My only criticism would be that I think that Luca’s m 3.5 I really enjoyed this, especially the way the author described certain things like kissing. It was magical. The chapters interchange between the present and the past. I normally don’t like going back in time because you’re usually left in a place where you want to see what’ll happen in the now, but I surprisingly enjoyed it in this case. I liked all the characters as they all had layers to them and found May’s argument with Raffy so real. My only criticism would be that I think that Luca’s mother acceptance of his bisexuality was too “easy” in the sense that she was entirely against it before so her sudden and complete turn of character was perplexing to me, despite the other variables. All in all, a great read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    Be Dazzled is a funny and whimsical coming of age story that is unapologetically queer. Touted as Project Runway goes to Comic Con, I was a bit apprehensive as to what to expect with this story since my knowledge of both fashion and Comic Con is basic to say that least. That being said, no real knowledge of either is needed to enjoy this absolute gem of a story. Raphael ‘Raffy’ Odom thrives on competitive cosplay. He even has his own streaming channel to give intimate insight into his costume bu Be Dazzled is a funny and whimsical coming of age story that is unapologetically queer. Touted as Project Runway goes to Comic Con, I was a bit apprehensive as to what to expect with this story since my knowledge of both fashion and Comic Con is basic to say that least. That being said, no real knowledge of either is needed to enjoy this absolute gem of a story. Raphael ‘Raffy’ Odom thrives on competitive cosplay. He even has his own streaming channel to give intimate insight into his costume builds. What Raffy doesn’t have is a mother who support him, so he resorts to creating in secret. Raffy refuses to let his mom get him down and has his eyes set on winning Controverse. The only problem? The boy who broke his heart is competing as well. AWKWARD. I absolutely loved Raffy as a character. He’s hilarious and so confident in himself and his abilities even when faced with dissenting opinions from those who care about him. Raffy’s passion for cosplay and building his constructions was infectious. The author did a really fantastic job immersing us until this world. The scenes with Raffy and Luca together were adorable. I loved their meet-cute in the hobby store. The two of them really balanced each other out in terms of personality and creative differences. One thing that I want to highlight is that the fear of Luca coming out as bisexual to his family is addressed and that these scenes may be potentially triggering. The actual competition surrounding Controverse was really fascinating. I always enjoyed the turned up drama and theatrics. One last thing, I hated Raffy’s mom. Ugh. You’d think that one creative would support another, especially when it is your child, but her pretentious behavior and actions constantly got under my skin. Overall, if you’re looking for a story that just wraps you up in a hug…this is it! Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maryam |✿| a_typical_teen_reader

    ✨BE DAZZLED✨ You have no idea how happy I was when I was approved to read this. I have been dreaming of reading this book and heck did my fanatics come true. This book is a calling to all dweebs, nerds and artists with dreams. To those who feel neglected by their peers and loved ones. To those who are confident in their things they do and love, and will not stop to prove themselves. THIS was absolutely spectacular and I was in tears from the pure joy it gave me. It was wholesome, downright adorab ✨BE DAZZLED✨ You have no idea how happy I was when I was approved to read this. I have been dreaming of reading this book and heck did my fanatics come true. This book is a calling to all dweebs, nerds and artists with dreams. To those who feel neglected by their peers and loved ones. To those who are confident in their things they do and love, and will not stop to prove themselves. THIS was absolutely spectacular and I was in tears from the pure joy it gave me. It was wholesome, downright adorable, and absolutely exactly what i wanted. I loved Raffy, with his love for crafts and cataclysmic creativity, and how he was utterly prepared to prove to his snobby mother, to knock her hideous socks off with his talent, and yet she always found a way to criticize him for his unique art . I hated her from the first page. I could relate so much with Raff, especially with his anxiety and constant need to be working at all times, as if he would fall apart if he wasn't doing something productive, and hell did that resonate with me on a whole other level. To be honest, i sometimes felt conflicted over the dynamic of the relationship in the book, even though it was ADORABLE, but i could understand why Luc, the love interest, was so hesitant at times. I really came to adore him as the chapters progressed and as I got a better insight on his character, his relentless enthusiasm, his insecurities and fears. They were absolutely perfect for each other, two complete opposite balancing each other. I really appreciated the whole cosplay aspect to the book and how much it meant to so many people, much like our bookish community, a place where you felt understood, a place where you belonged, instead of being ridiculed for your obsessions. I urge everyone to read it and i hope you come to love it as much as i did. This was wholesome, downright adorable, and absolutely exactly what i wanted. [E-GALLEY RECEIVED FROM NETGALLEY AND PUBLISHER IN EXCHANGE OF AN HONEST REVIEW] IM CRYING. EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK NOW. THAT IS ALL RTC, once i stop being a sobbing mess. UPDATE: AHHH, my prayers have been answered. I CAN FINALLY READ IT!!! This has been my saving grace from this horrible week-to-come of endless studying AHHHH I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE. how much longer must i suffer? 😢

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Be Dazzled was all kinds of cute. I've never been to a Comic Con.. or even a Book con.. and after reading about this.. I feel like I'm missing out?!?! I don't know who I would dress up as but I mean.. you can go and look at people who dress up right? Lmao.. I don't know the rules of con's. In it, you will meet Raffy and Luca. They were both really adorable and it wasn't hard at all to like them instantly. I just know that so I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Be Dazzled was all kinds of cute. I've never been to a Comic Con.. or even a Book con.. and after reading about this.. I feel like I'm missing out?!?! I don't know who I would dress up as but I mean.. you can go and look at people who dress up right? Lmao.. I don't know the rules of con's. In it, you will meet Raffy and Luca. They were both really adorable and it wasn't hard at all to like them instantly. I just know that something was going to happen but I didn't know when it was all going to go down. Once the drama did unfold though.. it was still very interesting to get to know both characters throughout the book. Out of the two.. I feel like Raffy was my guy. He was hilarious and just realistic to me. I mean the whole book felt realistic because people were making mistakes left and right. Not all dumb ones but mistakes are mistakes. In the end, this was really cute and now I need to go to a Con! Whenever COVID disappears...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Again

    I will admit that I had a lot of difficulty getting into La Sala's debut, Reverie, but Be Dazzled drew me fast enough that it was impossible to escape its sway. I'm 99% sure that something is Raffy himself. Raffy is just such a passionate protagonist who's an underdog you can't help but root for. We see him face so many obstacles--his mom's disapproval of cosplay, issues with his initial relationship with Luca, and his own fears. But through it all, you're rooting Raffy on and hoping he will be I will admit that I had a lot of difficulty getting into La Sala's debut, Reverie, but Be Dazzled drew me fast enough that it was impossible to escape its sway. I'm 99% sure that something is Raffy himself. Raffy is just such a passionate protagonist who's an underdog you can't help but root for. We see him face so many obstacles--his mom's disapproval of cosplay, issues with his initial relationship with Luca, and his own fears. But through it all, you're rooting Raffy on and hoping he will be triumphant. Raffy has such a unique voice and the story is imbued with a perfect balance of character (Raffy!), voice (relatable!), and plot (con struggles!). This intense connection the reader feels with Raffy is shaped by the way he tells his story in such a passionate way. The Now/Then format might be a little frustrating for readers--especially once you get the gist of how the "Then" plotline will end, and become invested in seeing how the "Now" plotline turns out--but it still serves its purpose in showing us really formative moments for Raffy. Both his current cosplay competition, and his past relationship with Luca that is the source for a lot of the present-day tension. So even though the format was probably my least favorite part of Be Dazzled, the rest of the story shines so brightly, it's hard to mind much. There's crafting shenanigans and friendship tension and oodles of parental tension (Raffy's mom is an art snob, and is super isolating about his passion for cosplay). There's a con that is playing up the drama and a lot of obstacles in the path between Raffy and art school, which he desperately wants to attend despite his mom's discouragement. In the end, Be Dazzled is heartwarming and beloved in the way that you just have to hope for the best for Raffy and his future. Definitely one to recommend to fans of Ashley Poston's Once Upon a Con series, Anna Priemaza's books, or Jen Wilde's Queens of Geek. Content Warnings: (view spoiler)[parent that is maybe abusive (in the way that Raffy considers labeling it as abusive, but ultimately never makes a judgement), homophobia, accidental outing, relationship with someone who isn't out about their sexuality (hide spoiler)]

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adri

    4.5 Stars CWs: Instances of parental neglect, explorations of mourning a break-up, mentions of being closeted and coming out (from a secondary character), descriptions of anxiety and anxiety attacks "I used to think I always knew what came next. I used to think that my plans were as good as destiny, but that’s never been true. I’ve just always been determined, and lucky, and determined to be lucky. But you can’t design a future and expect it to just happen. Like art, you can only start with 4.5 Stars CWs: Instances of parental neglect, explorations of mourning a break-up, mentions of being closeted and coming out (from a secondary character), descriptions of anxiety and anxiety attacks "I used to think I always knew what came next. I used to think that my plans were as good as destiny, but that’s never been true. I’ve just always been determined, and lucky, and determined to be lucky. But you can’t design a future and expect it to just happen. Like art, you can only start with intent. Your hands build the rest." Ryan La Sala has done it again. He has proven himself as someone who can traverse genre and voice and pretty much do whatever he wants, because he can pull it off. Whether he's writing about interdimensional collapse or fashion reality show drama, you are guaranteed a phenomenal and effervescent story. Be Dazzled is pitched as Project Runways meets Comic-Con and that's exactly what it is. It's about Raffy, who’s poised to take the crown at the season’s biggest cosplay competition—until he realizes that he’ll be competing against Luca, his ex-boyfriend and former cosplay partner. Throw in the fact that his elitist mother doesn't see cosplay as "real art" and the fact that winning this competition could open a ton of doors to sponsorship and art school and you have a high-stakes story about Raffy desperately trying to prove himself in the world of crafting. This book is exuberant, exciting, joyful, and (pun intended) wonderfully crafted. The pages practically turn themselves as you get deeper into this cosplay competition and as the zany design challenges get harder and harder. Not only that, but the emotional stakes get more and more complex the more you learn about Raffy and his relationship with his ex, Luca. I thought Raffy's perfectionist personality and anxiety was really well-explored and portrayed. When his thoughts are spiraling and he begins to feel like he's losing control, you really feel that alongside him. The narration does such a good job of mimicking how the world funnels itself into a microscopic lens that prevents you from seeing anything but your own short-comings and failings up close. At the same time, while you feel for Raffy, the people around him are definitely challenging him on his self-centeredness and his tendency to assume the worst of himself and others when his anxiety kicks in. Part of it is that he needs to learn how to manage it better, but also that he can't use that as an excuse to hurt people. I really appreciated that self-awareness he slowly grows into by the end. And that's also a big part of what led to the end of his relationship with Luca—how he was so singularly-focused on his creativity while not affording enough grace to their difference in skill level. To further emphasize that divide, the story is told in alternating dual timelines. One half of the story is hurtling through this intense series of cosplay challenges and the other half is a series of flashbacks showing Raffy and Luca slowly but surely edging closer to their breaking point. So as you see their relationship falling apart, you also get to see it evolving and being rebuilt in the present. There’s such a beautiful symmetry to the story that not only heightens the emotional stakes, but also really drives home Raffy’s character growth in a visceral way. Be Dazzled is a story that's flamboyant, fun, glitzy, and dramatic, but it's also heartfelt. I think it's a story that has a lot to say about how the value of what we create is not defined by *how* we create, and how our dreams and the relationships in our lives are also things that we build for ourselves. This is a story that celebrates creativity, authenticity, and fearlessness, especially when those things are hard-won in a world that often demands our conformity or compliance. It's a story that says the things that matter to us will always have value, and I love it so much for that. In case it wasn't clear, I highly recommend Be Dazzled for fans of queer contemporary stories with second chance romances. (I also highly recommend Reverie, for the record.) There is so much to love in this book, and I can't wait to see what other stories Ryan has in store for us!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Claudio Rodrigo

    5/5 fucking stars Thank you so so so so so so much to the publisher and Netgalley for providing this e-arc. So, where should i start? I'm not the most precise reviewer with the most rigid format and flowery writing but i'll try to word out my love for it more precisely. I love it. The mix of Evie's elitism, the amount of detail when it comes to crafting and the relationship in its whole were just some of my favorite details about this book. And not to mention the love interest being slightly based 5/5 fucking stars Thank you so so so so so so much to the publisher and Netgalley for providing this e-arc. So, where should i start? I'm not the most precise reviewer with the most rigid format and flowery writing but i'll try to word out my love for it more precisely. I love it. The mix of Evie's elitism, the amount of detail when it comes to crafting and the relationship in its whole were just some of my favorite details about this book. And not to mention the love interest being slightly based off of the author's past significant other whom has a somewhat large media following, just adds another layer to Luca Vitale's already wonderful personality. The 2 timelines intersecting was a cute way of keeping you hooked that i really enjoyed. A slight critique of mine would be the fact that a 17 year old would place high in a national convention competition where i presume there would even be foreign visitors who might compete. Again, i love it very much. Can't wait to pre-order when it becomes available in Italy. Oh and i want to also give points to the author for adding such iconic pop/drag culture references. To sum this book up: "I haven't had any complaints"

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    Fresh, uplifting, and cute! Be Dazzled is a heartwarming, amusing tale featuring the hesitant, closeted Luca and the creative, confident, Raffy as they discover through crafting, cosplay, and the highly competitive Controverse that the heart wants who the heart wants and that some things are definitely worth fighting for. The writing is creative and light. The characters are talented, loyal, and supportive. And the plot using a back-and-forth, past-present style is a passionate, fascinating tale f Fresh, uplifting, and cute! Be Dazzled is a heartwarming, amusing tale featuring the hesitant, closeted Luca and the creative, confident, Raffy as they discover through crafting, cosplay, and the highly competitive Controverse that the heart wants who the heart wants and that some things are definitely worth fighting for. The writing is creative and light. The characters are talented, loyal, and supportive. And the plot using a back-and-forth, past-present style is a passionate, fascinating tale full of familial drama, teenage angst, hard work, goals, dreams, friendship, and first love. Overall, Be Dazzled is an enjoyable, entertaining, satisfying novel by La Sala with its endearing characters, heartfelt moments, unique storyline, and happy-ever-after ending. Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Comic con, cosplay, queerness, and the rise and fall of a first love...you get it all in Be Dazzled! In a voice that is funny, sarcastic, and thoughtful we get this story of two boys falling in love: with each other, and with the joys of competitive cosplay. Now: Raffy is getting ready to compete in the cosplay competition of his life and prove the worth of what he does to his snooty artiste of a mom. Nevermind that it's with his best friend instead of the boy who broke his heart.... Then: Raffy Comic con, cosplay, queerness, and the rise and fall of a first love...you get it all in Be Dazzled! In a voice that is funny, sarcastic, and thoughtful we get this story of two boys falling in love: with each other, and with the joys of competitive cosplay. Now: Raffy is getting ready to compete in the cosplay competition of his life and prove the worth of what he does to his snooty artiste of a mom. Nevermind that it's with his best friend instead of the boy who broke his heart.... Then: Raffy livestreams his cosplay work and is out and proud in highschool. Luca is a secret admirer and closeted bisexual who plays on the school soccer team. But they fall for each other and try to make things work, despite their differences and family difficulties. This is a really charming story of first love, being queer, finding joy in fandom, and working through relationship challenges. It's fun and funny, but can also be serious. I am loving Ryan La Sala as a new voice in queer YA fiction and this is a very strong second novel. The audiobook is also performed wonderfully! You really get a feel for the voices of the characters. I received an advance copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janna

    3/5🌟: honestly, i was so excited for this one and the story was cute, but it was nothing new. the relationship was mediocre, at least there was some bi rep. the cosplay contest plot line has been popular for a while and thus was quite predictable. but if you're interested in cosplay and how costumes are made, you might enjoy this one more than i did. the thing that bothered me the most was that there were 4 characters, other than raffy and luca, who were of importance: while all of them were fem 3/5🌟: honestly, i was so excited for this one and the story was cute, but it was nothing new. the relationship was mediocre, at least there was some bi rep. the cosplay contest plot line has been popular for a while and thus was quite predictable. but if you're interested in cosplay and how costumes are made, you might enjoy this one more than i did. the thing that bothered me the most was that there were 4 characters, other than raffy and luca, who were of importance: while all of them were female, 3 out of 4 were portrayed as evil (to some kind of degree). this seriously ruined the book for me. of course, the two cis boys were (almost) flawless, but the female characters had to be the ones ruining their lives. what year is this, 1960? ugh. i feel like a lot writers don't even try to write good female characters, like yes, it was great that the mc was wearing makeup without it being considered weird and for one tiny scene there even was a trans woman included, but why would you ruin all of that by writing shitty cis female characters? when their only character trait is to be mean towards the mc, you know there's something wrong with the female rep. i honestly expected more from this.. the writing style was nice though. thank you netgalley for the digital arc!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    Be Dazzled is an LGBTQ+ YA romance set in the world of cosplay. Raffy has a well-known artist as a mom and has inherited some of her creativity. Raffy has a passion for creating cosplay and even has his own social media channel about it where he posts videos of him making the outfits. His mom doesn't think highly of cosplay though. Then Raffy meets Luca, a soccer player from his school who has a secret love of anime. The two hit it off and Raffy starts teaching Luca about cosplay and takes him t Be Dazzled is an LGBTQ+ YA romance set in the world of cosplay. Raffy has a well-known artist as a mom and has inherited some of her creativity. Raffy has a passion for creating cosplay and even has his own social media channel about it where he posts videos of him making the outfits. His mom doesn't think highly of cosplay though. Then Raffy meets Luca, a soccer player from his school who has a secret love of anime. The two hit it off and Raffy starts teaching Luca about cosplay and takes him to a convention. The two develop feelings for each other but Luca hasn't come out yet. They end up going their separate ways. The book moves back and forth between current day when Raffy is in a big cosplay competition and the past when Luca and Raffy met and hung out. This was a sweet teen romance that appealed to my inner geek. I've taken my kiddos to a couple of comic conventions where we saw people in cosplay. The book has a lot of creative characters who are very passionate at what they do. This was a fun peek behind the curtains of the cosplay world. Raffy is a talented and likable character and the book feels totally relevant and modern. As a reader, I couldn't help but root for Raffy and Luca. I listened to the audio book and the narrator totally captured the spirit of Raffy. What to listen to while you read... Cosplay by Panda Bear Rhinestone Eyes by Gorillaz Wrap Me in Plastic by CHROMANCE Hello Kitty by Avril Lavigne Applause by Lady Gaga Dress You Up by Madonna Thank you to the publisher for the audiobook in exchange for an honest review!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    "Measure twice, cut once, give up never!" We could use a levity right about now and Be Dazzled let me disassociate from the real world for a few hours and launched me into a world I wish existed for everyone in terms of acceptance and being one's true self. YA doesn't get enough credit for amazing reads, imo. Contemporary YA is becoming one of my favorite genres to pick up. And I would absolutely recommend this beauty! Raffy and Luca are just the cutest. I love the back and forth where we see how "Measure twice, cut once, give up never!" We could use a levity right about now and Be Dazzled let me disassociate from the real world for a few hours and launched me into a world I wish existed for everyone in terms of acceptance and being one's true self. YA doesn't get enough credit for amazing reads, imo. Contemporary YA is becoming one of my favorite genres to pick up. And I would absolutely recommend this beauty! Raffy and Luca are just the cutest. I love the back and forth where we see how they started to where they are now. 😉 The author magically shows us insight into Raffy's crazy world where he hides his skills and accomplishments from his famous mother and also gives us Luca in a way that while we're not in his head, can feel his struggles. Some of their banter really had me cracking up! I've never really been into cosplay or Cons but I do occasionally like dressing up.... occasionally. 😈 And while I appreciate the processes of their craft build, I did find myself going a little glossy eyed. It's not overdone though so you never feel out of the loop with too much detail while still getting a strong sense of just how much effort is put into these amazing looks we all see whether we attend an event or see photos. With the events that happened yesterday at the Capitol, I find myself grateful for books like these that will keep me from letting my dark thoughts get pulled into a spiral. I truly hope that one day we can live in a La Sala book.. "an epic, queer love story about creativity, passion, and finding the courage to be your most authentic self." Doesn't it sound delightful? ❤

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Kathryn Wright

    4.5/5 ⭐️ This book was so adorable and heart warming I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants a cute contemporary romance with LGBTQ+ characters. One of the things I loved about this book is that while romance is the main part, there is a lot of importance on friendship and family especially with their moms. All the characters were enjoyable and easy to connect with. Raffy and Luca are great, and they felt so real. One of the things that I really liked about all of the relationships in 4.5/5 ⭐️ This book was so adorable and heart warming I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants a cute contemporary romance with LGBTQ+ characters. One of the things I loved about this book is that while romance is the main part, there is a lot of importance on friendship and family especially with their moms. All the characters were enjoyable and easy to connect with. Raffy and Luca are great, and they felt so real. One of the things that I really liked about all of the relationships in this book is that the problems that come up are realistic and aren’t overly dramatic. And the writing was so good, and to be honest I wasn’t sure I was going to like the constant back and forth timeline, but I think that was done really. Overall, this was a really cute story and I can’t wait to read Ryan La Sala’s next work.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lance

    4.5 stars rounded up. Be Dazzled is not only a brilliant, geeky gay love story that I love with my entire heart, but a story that hits way too close to it as well. Full RTC.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tomes And Textiles

    Find the full review at TOMES AND TEXTILES. Be Dazzled was a cross between a soft giggle and a warm embrace, an absolute delight overall. Drawing from Project Runway + comic con culture, you will fall in love with Raffy and his journey as a very talented and driven cosplay designer with a strong social media presence. ✨ When he realizes his ex is competing against him in a major cosplay competition, Raffy must confront their history and reconcile their present. With themes of love, friendship, fam Find the full review at TOMES AND TEXTILES. Be Dazzled was a cross between a soft giggle and a warm embrace, an absolute delight overall. Drawing from Project Runway + comic con culture, you will fall in love with Raffy and his journey as a very talented and driven cosplay designer with a strong social media presence. ✨ When he realizes his ex is competing against him in a major cosplay competition, Raffy must confront their history and reconcile their present. With themes of love, friendship, family, coming out, this tender coming of age tale dabbed in glitter will pull your heartstrings. ✨ This book is proudly and unapologetically gay. Mike Pence would hate this book and if that isn’t the ringinest endorsement, I don’t know what is. Want more reviews and pictures of books? Look no further than TOMES AND TEXTILES.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    This book was amazing!!! RTC

  29. 4 out of 5

    ✫erin✫

    i can't do it anymore. i cannot force myself to read another page. DNF @60 % i can't do it anymore. i cannot force myself to read another page. DNF @60 %

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gabriele | QueerBookdom

    DRC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Representation: gay protagonist, bi deuteragonist. Content Warning: anxiety, biphobia. Be Dazzled is Ryan La Sala’s dazzlingly cute sophomore novel, a contemporary queer love story between two boys set in the world of cosplay. Raphael is a talented creator and crafter, and a cosplayer, an art expression his mother despises and belittles because of her ignorance and closed-mindedness. He sets his aim on Controverse’s an DRC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Representation: gay protagonist, bi deuteragonist. Content Warning: anxiety, biphobia. Be Dazzled is Ryan La Sala’s dazzlingly cute sophomore novel, a contemporary queer love story between two boys set in the world of cosplay. Raphael is a talented creator and crafter, and a cosplayer, an art expression his mother despises and belittles because of her ignorance and closed-mindedness. He sets his aim on Controverse’s annual cosplay competition, and the sponsorship opportunities offered by “Craft Club” to the crowd favourites, to go to an art school his mother will never pay for. He enters the competition with his friend May, but a problem arises, a problem in the athletic form of his ex-boyfriend Luca. The boy who broke his heart. I really liked Be Dazzled, even more than Ryan’s first book, Reverie. I was transported by Raphael’s roller-coaster of feelings, the way the story switched between hatred and the gooey sensation only love can create, and Raphael’s inner journey. The fact that Ryan missed the opportunity to say Evielution is something I will never forget or forgive, though!

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