It’s hard to conceive of anything better than getting the big break you’ve been waiting for after putting years of hard work into your deepest passion. But as many of the characters in Flip the Script find, including the protagonist, Hana, fulfilling your dream doesn’t feel as satisfactory when it is placed in opposition with your very identity.
Hana is a teenaged actress whose talent and aptitude for acting inspired her parents’ move from Florida to Seoul when she was in middle school in order to prime her for the Hallyu machine. This big move has paid off in Hana’s big break as the lead character in a new Korean drama opposite hearthrob and K-pop idol Bryan Yoon. Preoccupied with maintaining stellar grades at school and portraying her drama character as engagingly as she possibly can, Hana has little time for anything else. Even when she’s home with her parents all she can think about is making them proud, worrying that she’s not doing enough to keep viewers tuned into the show. Typically, she’d take her worries to her best friend and school rival but ever since she beat her for the lead role in the show, she’s not heard a pipe nor a peep from her. Things change when a network executive strongly suggests that she and her costar fake a relationship to boost ratings—making their slightly friendly co-working vibe change into a positively awkward exchange. What’s worse is that while she doesn’t feel any attraction towards Bryan, his legions of fans don’t know that. So while Hana finds joy in hanging out with him, it gains a bitter tinge when a contingent of his fans and social media trolls make her online and regular life a hassle. Thankfully, this is when her bestie reappears, but nothing that follows goes as smoothly as those involved would hope.
As one of the resident K-drama enthusiasts on the BGC team, I’ve longed for a book to give me a similar setting and vibe. Flip the Script yields the precise appeal and challenge that a large contingent of drama fans have been looking for, with a young protagonist who knows what she wants and what she’s willing to do to get her needs met. This book also provides queer representation via pan and sapphic relationships that readers and drama fans alike will be delighted by. Lyla Lee’s writing is not to be missed, especially in this highly evocative tale.