I read a contemporary and I loved it! So today I have a review of Yellow by Megan Jacobson and it’s going to be a spoilerish review. There may be aspects of the review that some people consider as spoilers (I don’t really though) so if you don’t want to take any chance at being spoiled, you can just read my “GENERAL THOUGHTS”.
Yellow by Megan Jacobson
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Publication: February 1st 2016 by Penguin Teen Australia
If fourteen-year-old Kirra is having a mid-life crisis now, then it doesn’t bode well for her life expectancy. Her so-called friends bully her, whatever semblance of a mother she had has been drowned at the bottom of a gin bottle ever since her dad left them for another woman, and now a teenage ghost is speaking to her through a broken phone booth. Kirra and the ghost make a pact. She’ll prove who murdered him almost twenty years ago if he does three things for her. He makes her popular, he gets her parents back together, and he doesn’t haunt her. Things aren’t so simple however, and Kirra realises that people can be haunted in more ways than one.
Let’s talk about this little gem. Prepare for plenty of gushing.
This is a beautiful book; inside and out. Just look at that cover – an absolute stunner. The writing and storyline captivated me the entire time. I almost read it all in one sitting. This was one of my most anticipated reads and it didn’t disappoint.
It covers a lot of heavy themes such as depression, bullying, addiction, loneliness as well as feminism, friendship and self-image. Despite all the struggles and dark stuff, and the honest grittiness, I found it to be a heartfelt and uplifting story.
The overall outcome of the book was predictable, but it didn’t take much away from my enjoyment reading it.
The paranormal aspect was weaved well into the plot. The book still reads like a contemporary but I loved the incorporation of the ghost. I know it sounds super strange but trust me, it works. Yes that’s me chanting murder at the back. I don’t believe it’s ever fully explained, nor its workings. However, I appreciated its contribution to the novel, Kirra as a character and it’s a lovely addition to the story.
There were hints of romance, but they didn’t take over and I’m so, very grateful. Not all parts of the story were realistic. There were some parts that were particularly ridiculous but they did contribute to it story in some way. Although this isn’t the most original plot, just everything put together kept me interested and invested in the characters.
#LoveOzYA I loved all the Aussie shoutouts. The worldbuilding was so thorough and detailed especially for a contemporary, but I’m super pleased. I was completely immersed in the town.
Characterisation for was well developed and the characters all felt unique. They were all unique and important characters that grow in their own ways. It felt real.
Kirra: I found a lot of people weren’t fans of Kirra’s internal monologue but I absolutely loved it! I was initially worried that Kirra’s voice was going to be immature and juvenile being on the lower end of YA (14 years old) but there was no problem at all. Though it is sad to see that she had to grow up quickly, adopt responsibilities and care for others without it being reciprocated. She’s such a strong and tough character and I just want to give her all the hugs in the world. Kirra is an admirable character and felt entirely relatable.
She’s not perfect and often acts rashly without consulting others. Though a lot of this behaviour could be due to her neglect without and inaccessible, helpful and and guiding parental figures. Also she has a major obsession with popularity. She makes some questionable decisions throughout the book but she’s willing to face the consequences. I feel that I know her so well because she has excellent characterisation.
Kirra is extremely self-conscious and shy and she’s treated horribly by her “friends” especially due to her huge, bright, yellow eyes. I actually found that aspect especially interesting and it made the story more unique. She often gets overwhelmed and uncomfortable in social situations and public scenarios. Her journey towards becoming more self-confident and gaining self-worth was tough and it wasn’t linear – that’s realistic. I’m glad there wasn’t a “cure” and that the author didn’t hasten Kirra’s discovery of her value, demonstrating that it’s ongoing. The trust she develops within herself and her actions really brought out the hopeful tone of the book
Willow: I think she’s a great friend and support for Kirra. She’s very forward in her thinking – basically a feminist and a vocal one too. She slays. Thus, this quote is born:
“Do not define me by my gender or my socio-economic status, Noah Willis. Do not tell me who I am and do not tell me who society thinks I am and then put me in that box and expect me to stay there. Because, I swear to God, I will climb the hell out of that box and I will take that box you’ve just put me in and I will use that box to smash your face in until you’re nothing more than a freckly, bloodied pulp. You got that, sweet cheeks?”
Kirra’s mum: she’s a mess – purposely as a character just to clarify. Just imagining Kirra coming to a household like that where her mother is drunk most of the time, she’s unreasonable and does not uphold any parental responsibilities whatsoever. Yes she’s having a tough time and falling apart but a lot of the time I just wanted to shake some sense into her and make her see the repercussions of her behaviour on her daughter. So many embarrassing moments with her.
Kirra’s dad: I can’t even with him. Because of Kirra’s relationship with him, she doesn’t even call him dad. I find that incredibly heartbreaking. He’s off living with another woman concerned with his relationship with her and, prioritising and separating that life to his “past life” with Kirra. He fails to take on any fatherly mannerisms and only wants to associate himself with Kirra when it’s all sunshine and unicorns. Bad situation and he’s out and that’s what frustrates me the most about him.
It’s ironic to see how Kirra’s parents are a huge part of her life (I mean she’s only 14), definitely and consistently present in the story, yet somewhat absent and distant from Kirra.
The prose was so beautiful and poetic which may not work in everyone’s favour, but I personally didn’t find it too much. The writing is really visual which really hits you and results in an awesome experience. I was so surprised with what the author could do in such a short amount of pages. The amount of emotion she can evoke is amazing.
I believe the enjoyment reading this book is very subjective and it might not be for everyone. If you’re not a fan of the writing you’re pretty much a goner. Luckily, I loved it! This novel had such powerful messages talking about choices and haunting of the past. It was a very thought provoking read. Also it never felt melodramatic which I greatly applaud Megan Jacobson on, especially having a teenage girl protagonist in this difficult situation. Not only is this an amazing debut novel, it’s an amazing novel. It’s so emotionally charged and basically it’s awesome. Go read it.
If you’ve read this book, what did you think? Comment below!
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