Friday, July 21, 2023

Today's read... True Beauty by Yaongyi

Today's read is one that my teens have been webtoon form. It's a very popular read, which seems to be doing well across the globe. While my son finds it a bit superficial...and his criticism had me wanting to read this one even daughter enjoyed it. 

Before I babble on, let's just take a look and see what it's about.

by Yaongyi
WEBTOON Unscrolled
YA Contemporary / Graphic Novel
288 pages

After binge-watching beauty videos online, a shy, comic book fan masters the art of make-up, then sees her social standing skyrocket as she becomes her school’s prettiest pretty girl literally overnight. But will her elite status be short lived? How long can she keep her “real self” a secret? And what about that cute boy she likes? Could you imagine if he found out the truth?



The battle between self-confidence and fitting others' expectations hits with edges of reality, making it understandable why this series is doing so well.

Jugyeong could get lost in horror movies and mangas and just disappear, but life isn't that simple. As the ugly duckling of her family and a teen, she's bogged down more and more with concerns over her looks and takes every cruel comment about them to heart.  Deciding to take fate into her own hands, she dives into the world of makeup, and after many tutorials, becomes a master. Add a switch of schools to her carefully crafted appearance, and she's soon at the top of the popular ranks even online. But it's more than just about looks. Her hobbies are anything but acceptable in the popular circles. So, she ends up living a double-life and hopes no one discovers her secret...until someone swipes a manga out of her hands.

This read hits home more than I expected it would and delivers several messages the age group (and even slightly younger ones) need to have reconfirmed again and again. Jugyeong is hit with the realization that only the attractive people seem to receive the better end of the social life. She's bullied at school and in other places, and assumes that all of this has to do with her outer appearance...which it does to an extent but there's more. Her mission to find acceptance takes an almost fantasical touch as she transforms into a 'goddess', allowing the two sides to come across like night and day. But it's here that the book starts swooping in with deeper messages. It's not just her looks that change, but how she interacts with those around her as she stifles her true personality...not to mention the troubles a double-life causes.

The graphics bring each moment across well and let the reader really sink in. There's a nice play between dark and light to underscore the moods and undertones. Some of the facial expressions caught me a little off-guard, but they allow the truth behind the facade to glimpse through. 

As an extra note in this first volume, the author also touches upon the problem of self-imaging on the internet and begins to open up the question of how much and to what degree a person should display themselves just for likes and attention...which I was glad to see.

There is a beginning hint of romance in these pages, but it's just a whisper as the friendship doesn't even fully exist, yet. And there is a nod toward a possible triangle, but even here, it's only a faint possibility and may fade in volume II...who knows. I'm already looking forward to picking up the next volume and discovering how she deals with things from here.

And here she is...

Yaongyi began drawing at a young age, and dreamed of becoming a comic creator as a child. She had brief interests in other career paths, calling them "flings" in her interview with LINE Webtoon, but always returned to art. She worked a handful of jobs before eventually creating True Beauty. Her real name is Kim Na-young and she was born on April 24, 1991. Many fans were impressed with her looks following her face reveal one year after 0rue Beauty's debut, stating that "an angel is drawing an angel". (taken from Goodreads).


Ms. Yingling said...

I tend to pass on any books that start on Wattpad or as webtoons, but it looks...interesting. Thanks for sharing. I wouldn't have seen this otherwise.

Tonja Drecker said...

My own kids have shown such an interest in these (as well as their friends) that I've been peeking more and more in this direction to see what's out there. Glad you popped by!