About the Book:
Title: Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous
Author: Suzanne Park
Page Length: 352
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Synopsis: A social media influencer is shipped off to a digital detox summer camp in this funny coming-of-age story, perfect for fans of Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty and Love and Gelato .
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.
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I was so excited when Dini @ DiniPandaReads and I won a copy of Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous in a buddy read giveaway hosted by the author. It’s a great story to buddy read, and I found it interesting that we both connected to the novel in different ways.
At the start of the story, Sunny is very focused on herself. However, during her experiences at camp, Sunny comes to some major realizations about her online persona and how it differs from her real-life persona. There are so many opportunities for self-reflection at this camp, and Sunny, though resistant at first, ultimately uses them to her advantage. She goes on such a journey over the course of the story, and she comes out better for it. I like how Sunny begins to embrace her time at camp and sees it as the meaningful experience it is supposed to be. She uses it to learn more about herself, her family, and why she fixates so much on social media. She also learns what is important to her and how to balance.
Sunny’s ideas about farm life and her first impressions of the camp are so comical. This is the typical “city girl goes to the country” scenario, and I so related! I am a city girl too, and I can imagine having similar feelings about farm life, as I’ve never really experienced it. The chores, the smells, and the sounds are so different than one experiences in a city, and it’s a big adjustment for Sunny. However, she proves she is adaptable and willing to learn.
Some of the secondary characters from a neighboring retirement community are fantastic, and they add humor and wisdom to the story and Sunny’s experience. Their dialogue is great, and I love the connection Sunny develops with them. The coach who leads group sessions at the camp is another strong character, and I like that he learns from Sunny as much as she learns from him. There’s also a cute opposites attract romance that is lovely. It’s sweet and slow-building and a bit awkward at times, which feels very natural and realistic.
There are some really important and powerful messages about racism, familial expectations, Asian-American experiences, and bullying that I think many readers will relate to. The story also highlights life lessons like learning how to balance, experiencing things that are outside of one’s comfort zone, whether that be emotional or physical, and loving oneself. Though these are some pretty serious themes and messages, they don’t overwhelm the story and instead add balance to some of the lighter, more comedic elements.
Another issue that I think was really thought-provoking is the positive and negatives of social media. I think most readers will be able to relate to Sunny and the other campers. We live in a technology dependent world, and though many of the campers take it to the extreme, it’s difficult to find balance. The campers all are at this digital detox because of the negative effects of social media. However, Sunny also shows how social media can be used for good when she uses her knowledge and skill to help others in different and beneficial ways.
I thought this was an engaging and entertaining read, and the story ends in a way that is satisfying but still leaves room for Sunny’s story to continue. I would love to find out what happens to Sunny when she returns home. Does her relationship with her parents change? Does she maintain her new romantic relationship and her connections to the camp? I would definitely recommend Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous to readers who enjoy contemporary young adult fiction with relatable characters and themes and a cute romance.
- Sunny. She has a great character arc.
- The romance. It’s sweet and awkward and cute.
- The messages.
Sometimes, as you get older, you need to make your own decisions and deal with the consequences.
Life’s about making choices, and sometimes they’re good ones. Sometimes these decisions turn out to be the wrong ones, and that will, as you kids say, suck donkey balls.
This is a fun story for readers who enjoy contemporary YA or coming-of-age stories.