Yolk | ARC Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Yolk

Author: Mary H.K. Choi

Format: eBook (NetGalley)


Publication Date: 3/2/21

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Categories: Young Adult, New Adult, Eating Disorder, Cancer, Family, Healthcare, Contemporary

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.

  • Mary H.K. Choi is a must-read author for me because her stories are complicated and real. Also she just knows how to really get into the scary, vulnerable places of her characters’s mind.
  • World Building: this book is an ode to New York City and a little bit of Texas too. In her last book Permanent Record and now Yolk, New York City is a character. Jayne is enamored of all things New York City, but is struggling to make ends meet there.
  • Characters: Jayne is hurting herself. She is a bulimic. Jayne is trying to run from events in her past and the story shows flashbacks of what happened that could have started her eating disorder. June is her older sister who is smart and successful but now she has cancer. These two sisters have such a tense history. I thought it was funny how they fought, because…siblings fight dirty sometimes! But it was also painful to see because you know they both love each other.
  • This is about Jayne and through her we see New York City, we see how lost she is about school and her goals for the future. Jayne is traumatized by her past: uprooting from South Korea to move to America, her strained relationship with her mother, growing up Korean in America, and trying to figure out how to attain all the riches and dreams of New York City – her ideal American dream. Right now her dream is unattainable.
  • Triggers: cancer, bulimia
  • Obviously, there are hard topics in this story with Jayne having bulimia and June having uterine cancer. So proceed with caution – this is not a happy story. Some parts are funny, but for the most part, it’s heavy reading.
  • There is a little bit of romance but it’s definitely not the main thing about this story. It was realistic too and it didn’t dominate the story.

This story is dark, complicated, emotional, layered and real. I was hooked and yet scared for Jayne as she went through her life lost and in pain but hiding it so well. But one person sees through her mask, her sister June. I loved how these crazy sisters fought, because siblings fight – and I love how New York City comes to life through the author’s words. When everything comes to a clash: Jayne’s past, her present, cancer, family and bulimia – that’s when the hard work starts as these sisters grind through the surface of their tense relationship and find the love that’s been hiding under there all along.

💛 ~ Yolanda

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