Thank you so much to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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.
TWs: Eating disorders, depression and anxiety, cancer, bulimia and female fertility
This is the second book by Mary H.K. Choi that I have read and throughly enjoyed. Her writing is beautiful and captivating and when you pair that with a set of interesting characters and a unique storyline, you know you are in for a good read.
Yolk is the story of two sisters. The sisters have never been friends, let alone close. They could not be more different. Jayne, a girl who has always known popularity, the feeling of emptiness and lives life like it is a constant tornado. June, a high-achiever with an impressive job and seemingly perfect life. Both of them live in New York, but do not know much about each other and never talk.
Mary H.K. Choi has very quickly become an instant-buy and instant-read author for me. I have Emergency Contact on my shelves and you bet after reading this I will be finding time to read that as soon as I can. Mary’s books always dive into deep and meaningful topics and more often than not feature young adults on the older end of the ‘young adult’ scale as they are just about to enter adulthood. Something you have to know going in to this authors books is, they are not a light read and they do not have naive characters. I find that refreshing even though it can be very dark.
Jayne is a compelling and wonderful character to read about. She is flawed and she is human which helped to make her character feel truly authentic. Jayne is struggling with a lot of emotional issues that I will not go into detail on as I think they need to be read instead. The pain she feels is so visceral and it is so visible even though she tries to hide it. Jayne is a wonderful character.
The relationship between Jayne and June is where this novel excels for me. The relationship between the two of them is written is such careful detail, with a lot of emotion and incredible sensitivity. The love that the two sisters share is intertwined with jealousy, hatred and deep feelings of inadequacy. This book really does not shy away from showing the complexities of sisterly love and I loved it a lot.
Please be aware that this book does provide a deep insight into bulimia and issues that surround body dysmorphia. Therefore, if this is a potentially triggering subject for you, be gentle with yourself and read only if you feel you are supported and can discuss anything upsetting that you may experience. This book also follows a female reproductive system cancer which touches on issues of infertility and dysmenorrhea, so again, please be aware if this is a triggering subject for you.
Yolk is beautiful, heartfelt and at times quite painful to read. This book shows us that we can survive the circumstances we are put it, ask for help and accept the idea that we matter enough no matter what. We all deserve to take up space in this world.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a story about an imperfect sister relationship and with deep and hard-hitting topics and themes. I throughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see what Mary H.K. Choi writes next.