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From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives. 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 read From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives. 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.


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From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives. 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 read From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives. 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.

30 review for Yolk

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Emergency Contact ★★★★★ Permanent Record ★★★★★ cover, premise, everything... perfection already. Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch Emergency Contact ★★★★★ Permanent Record ★★★★★ cover, premise, everything... perfection already. Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

  2. 4 out of 5

    emma

    lily: i just finished yolk and it could be anywhere between 2.5 and 4.5 me: WHAT that makes no sense (4 hours pass) me: i just finished yolk and it could be anywhere between 2.5 and 4.5 review & rating to come! ----------------- currently-reading updates doing my favorite thing (judging books by their covers) spontaneous buddy read because i never read anything without lily if it can be helped lily: i just finished yolk and it could be anywhere between 2.5 and 4.5 me: WHAT that makes no sense (4 hours pass) me: i just finished yolk and it could be anywhere between 2.5 and 4.5 review & rating to come! ----------------- currently-reading updates doing my favorite thing (judging books by their covers) spontaneous buddy read because i never read anything without lily if it can be helped

  3. 5 out of 5

    jenny✨

    03/02/2021: HAPPY PUB DAY! 🍳 CW: eating disorder I think the thing that both terrifies and magnetizes me about this novel is how Jayne could be me and I could be Jayne—in some alternate, messier life. Our realities aren’t separated by many degrees, in truth. Yolk’s protagonist is chaotic, flighty, obnoxious, superficial, and painfully aware of herself at all times. Her life is a hedonistic whirlwind of hot mess after hot mess—it’s all very starving Gen Z artist trying to make it in the Instagr 03/02/2021: HAPPY PUB DAY! 🍳 CW: eating disorder I think the thing that both terrifies and magnetizes me about this novel is how Jayne could be me and I could be Jayne—in some alternate, messier life. Our realities aren’t separated by many degrees, in truth. Yolk’s protagonist is chaotic, flighty, obnoxious, superficial, and painfully aware of herself at all times. Her life is a hedonistic whirlwind of hot mess after hot mess—it’s all very starving Gen Z artist trying to make it in the Instagram age in New York City. And yet… Jayne is all the more real for it. Even if I do find her a little despicable sometimes (the way she is with guys? white guys in particular?? kill me NOW). I feel like I’d probably never be friends with her if we existed in the same universe, but I also can’t bring myself to hate her. To tell you the truth: Jayne Baek makes my heart hurt. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ Reading this book felt like commiserating with a friend. There are certain things—inside jokes and quirks and insecurities—that you only understand if you grew up as the kid of Asian immigrants; this book touched on a LOT of those things. It left me feeling not only seen, but also vindicated. I am reminded, once, again, of the power of representation: I appreciate Yolk for being one such affirming presence for me. What this book does best, I think, is capture the complex ambivalence that characterizes the love between an Asian kid and their immigrant family. In Jayne’s case, this ambivalence, a devastating push and pull between loyalty/love/hurt/resentment, borders on dysfunction. Her relationship with her sister, in particular, is fraught with immense love and pain. Moreover, the book touches on the ways in which relationships with family and culture intersect with our lives as women of colour in the West, as we absorb Eurocentric beauty norms, live with culture clash, and manage cognitive dissonance on behalf of not only ourselves but also (white) society at large. We internalize, to vary degrees, self-loathing. And this manifests in many ways for image-obsessed Jayne, who grapples with an eating disorder, depression, a crushing need for validation (particularly by white men), and complex love for a sister whose mortality comes into sudden, startling relief. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ It’s hard for me to encapsulate all that this book is. It’s sarcastic and sad and infuriating and validating and laugh-until-you-have-stitches funny. In its chaos, it affords its East Asian characters dimension; no one can be predicted, let alone pigeonholed. Most of all, the dynamic between Jayne and her older sister June—so reminiscent of Fleabag and her sister Claire—in all of its messy, spiteful, bewildering glory, compelled me from their very first scene together. When together, the sisters never try to masquerade as anyone they’re not, and I think this pretty aptly sums up Yolk, too: I find this story, Choi’s writing, so refreshing because it never tries to be more than it is. I’m not fed saccharine lines about protagonists that I’m clearly meant to love. Yet in all of her obnoxiousness, I find myself loving Jayne anyways, bullshit and all. Bottom line: Don’t let the Peeps-yellow cover and cute graphics fool you—this book tackles a LOT more than you’d expect. Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sahil Javed

    [28/07/20) - and then god said to mary "thou shall always have beautiful book covers" and so it came to be. [28/07/20) - and then god said to mary "thou shall always have beautiful book covers" and so it came to be.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    CONTENT WARNING: disordered eating, dysmorphia, bulimia, cancer, female fertility, parental abandonment Mary H.K. Choi needs a never ending round of applause. Yolk is an absolute tour de force work of fiction that needs to be read by the masses. The book follows the story of Korean-American Jayne as she tries to make sense of her world. Jayne is a wonderfully compelling character to read about. She is so beautifully human and deeply flawed which makes her feel truly authentic. But being inside he CONTENT WARNING: disordered eating, dysmorphia, bulimia, cancer, female fertility, parental abandonment Mary H.K. Choi needs a never ending round of applause. Yolk is an absolute tour de force work of fiction that needs to be read by the masses. The book follows the story of Korean-American Jayne as she tries to make sense of her world. Jayne is a wonderfully compelling character to read about. She is so beautifully human and deeply flawed which makes her feel truly authentic. But being inside her head is... well sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating but it was always absorbing. She’s struggling with deep rooted emotional issues some of which are family related, others which are founded in the way that western society is dictated by a Eurocentric aesthetic, and also how as a Korean American she felt somehow neither American enough nor Korean enough. There’s so much complexity in this book but it’s all handled with care and sensitivity. I wanted to reach into the novel and shake Jayne at times, but mostly I wanted to reach in and hug her. Her pain is so visceral. It’s so visible but yet she denies it. She tries to hide it. Her struggles with her own self image and self worth are difficult to read about because I truly experienced her sadness as a reader. Please be aware that this book provides a deep insight into bulimia and issues surrounding body dysmorphia, and therefore if this is a potentially triggering subject for you you need to be prepared for rather graphic detail. Please be gentle with yourself and read only if you have a suitable support system in place so that you can safely discuss any upset that you may experience. The book also follows a female reproductive system cancer storyline which does touch on issues of infertility and heavy, dysmenorrhea so please be advised if this is something that may be upsetting to you. During her time in New York Jayne has become estranged from her elder sister June, but upon discovering that June has cancer the two begin to have a relationship again. And this is where the novel truly excels. Their relationship is written with such careful detail, such emotion, and incredible sensitivity. The undeniable love between the two sisters is intertwined with hatred, jealousy, feelings of inadequacy... the book doesn’t shy away from showing the complexities of sisterly love and is all the better for illustrating this dichotomy of love and hate that can exist within family ties. As a white Irish woman living in Ireland all my life I have no personal experience of what it’s like to have immigrant parents and how that impacts my cultural identity. This book explores the experience of being Korean American, and I personally found this aspect of the novel to be incredibly compelling and insightful. At times I struggled to like both Jayne and June as characters. But that was because the book was very “warts and all”. No aspect of their personalities was hidden, they who appeared on the page as very much wholly realised characters and that meant that they both had traits that are less than desirable as we all do as human beings. Sometimes though, this meant that I struggled a little bit when it came to empathising with the characters; I think that’s quite a human response on my part though, rather than a flaw of the novel because in my opinion it helped the novel re the journey of the two main characters to ebb and flow in a very natural manner. I really do have to make brief mention of the story’s climax. Without wishing to give away any spoilers what I can say is that it was one of the most authentically emotional and cathartic endings to a novel I have ever read. It was perfect in both tone and pace, and is the reason why I feel this book should be read by as wide an audience as possible. I think the dissection of human relationships in this novel is incredible, and that readers of both YA and adult fiction would enjoy this story in equal fashion. A word about the categorisation of this novel. The book is categorised as young adult fiction but I think it is a perfect candidate for the NA categorisation as the main character is in her late teens, post high school, and it does deal with issues that affect that age group rather than the younger age range of YA. I wish that this type of novel was typical of the NA categorisation instead of what currently passes for NA e.g. stories focusing on nerdy college virgins who are *taught* how to orgasm by some alpha jock with daddy issues and a super hot, mean-girl ex girlfriend who ends up being slut shamed by other girls because females can’t support each other............. EYE ROLL CENTRAL! Overall this was a brilliantly written novel that I would heartily recommend to lovers of contemporary fiction with realistic characters. *An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review* Publishing 4th March 2021, Atom/Little, Brown Book Group UK For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog Follow me on Twitter Friend me on Goodreads

  6. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    I'm here for the tragic family drama I'm here for the tragic family drama

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This book is STUNNING. Just one sharp, fascinating, painful, cut-glass observation after another, on the awfulness of being and dealing with people, on family bonds, immigrant culture, city life, narcissists, bodegas, Instagram, disordered eating, sex, first dates, shitty apartments. Do you remember the Upright Citizens' Brigade episode with the Bucket of Truth? This book is kind of like that. You can learn more about the plot through the publisher's copy up top, to me it's a book to read in par This book is STUNNING. Just one sharp, fascinating, painful, cut-glass observation after another, on the awfulness of being and dealing with people, on family bonds, immigrant culture, city life, narcissists, bodegas, Instagram, disordered eating, sex, first dates, shitty apartments. Do you remember the Upright Citizens' Brigade episode with the Bucket of Truth? This book is kind of like that. You can learn more about the plot through the publisher's copy up top, to me it's a book to read in part for story but even more to be flattened by an author's ability to skin the world and show you all its beating parts. Definitely read this if you're a writer and want to take notes/be boggled as you watch someone create a kaleidoscopic, unimpeachable vision of teeming, sweaty, sometimes sickening life through words. I can see every one of these characters, even if I don't want to.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anna Avian

    A difficult and uncomfortable read that was hard for me to follow.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    OMG this sounds SO good though!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    This has tragedy siblings written all over it AND I WANT IT

  11. 4 out of 5

    lexi ✨

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 1-1.5 t/w: eating disorders, mental illness, cancer it was so messy, so real, & very hard.. this book was heavily character based & focused on showing jayne's life & her experiences with an eating disorder, anxiety, depression, self hatred, family issues & her sister june's life & her experiences losing her job & having cancer. when i say this book is heavy, i mean it is HEAVY. it is not an emotionally easy read.. it will rip you apart. let's start with jayne. jayne is so mentally ill, she assumes 1-1.5 t/w: eating disorders, mental illness, cancer it was so messy, so real, & very hard.. this book was heavily character based & focused on showing jayne's life & her experiences with an eating disorder, anxiety, depression, self hatred, family issues & her sister june's life & her experiences losing her job & having cancer. when i say this book is heavy, i mean it is HEAVY. it is not an emotionally easy read.. it will rip you apart. let's start with jayne. jayne is so mentally ill, she assumes the worst of everyone & assumes how they’ll make her feel & will essentially hate someone like her sister june for scenarios & assumptions she makes up & how she believes they’ll react. she craves recognition & it’s sad she just wants someone to want & choose her. she does go as far as sleeping with holland hint knowing he has a girlfriend & has a goal of wanting holland hint to like her more than his gf, & then there’s jeremy who literally uses her & treats her horribly. i did like how mary h.k. choi revealed how horrible men can be & how she didn't choose to incorporate a fluffy romance because in reality a lot of people do not have good intentions, & make very hurtful choices. i will admit i was surprised at how much i liked patrick & jayne’s “relationship” as messy as it was back to jayne, i did noticed her train of thought is very harmful to her & others. she wanted to appear “easy” & not high maintenance. she had expectations for people & how they should act & if they don’t act in accordance to what she wants she gets angry. she could never fully be herself & she was holding on to A LOT of anger. she had an eating disorder as well & it was hard to read especially near the end. she was so calculated in how she dealt with her relationship with food & i don't think i've ever read a story about a woman with an eating disorder that was as detailed, graphic & difficult to get through like this one was. it really broke my heart to see jayne in her self hatred, but she still kept going she still tries to power through everything & i’m honestly stunned at how real her character felt. i like june i think at times she enforces reality within jayne even though she never wants to face it. i liked jayne & june’s dynamic i think mary h. k. choi really grasped the reality of sister relationships & how nasty & thoughtful & loving yet hating they could be. . love is shown in many ways & i guess jayne & june’s mom has her own way of showing it which june understands & notices she’s not very good at it, but jayne has a bit more trouble processing & realizing people are not always going to act the way you want them to. plus jayne is just as bad at showing people she loves & cares for them.. i mean she literally avoided her family before june found her. sibling relationships & family relationships are rollercoasters in general & i liked how real it was. you can see how jayne & june deal with their mom who has her own ways of doing things. after a lot of thought i realized i didn’t enjoy reading this book. even though i liked how it reflected real life through jayne & june's dynamic & problems with men & family, i did not have fun reading about someone who was in constant pain. from the beginning of the book up until right before the end you are taken on jayne & june's agonizing journey. if you're looking for a fun fluffy read this is not it, this is a graphic, revealing & upsetting. i do believe this book would help many with starting conversations about eating disorders, showing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel & that it is entirely possible to have an understanding circle with people who do care & will motivate you to get better. i think this book shows how mental illness can take over someone's life. but damn this was triggering af & i've read triggering books before, but this one was a bit too much for me & it didn't leave me feeling good. - arc provided via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  12. 5 out of 5

    lily ☁️

    — 3 1/2 stars i am ……… not okay. * i love sibling stories, especially sibling stories featuring two sisters, and i love buddy reading with emma, so ……… high expectations abound. Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Bloglovin’ — 3 1/2 stars i am ……… not okay. * i love sibling stories, especially sibling stories featuring two sisters, and i love buddy reading with emma, so ……… high expectations abound. Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Bloglovin’

  13. 4 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    Choi is great at writing for/about young folks without being condescending or it feeling “educational”. She tells good complex multilayered stories. I really liked this one. I loved the sister stuff it made me really emotional. The love story stuff was great too, she knows how to write about crushes and starts of relationships. Choi just gets it. Her stories and characters are really human in the best ways. It goes on a little long but it’s good overall.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    3.5 stars This book was heavy. Much more heavy than I anticipated and on so many levels. First off, let me say that Mary H.K. Choi is a true wordsmith and her words are always well crafted. I think she is such a strong writer and I love that she writes about topics that aren’t easy. What I loved about this book was the familial aspect, specifically the sibling relationship. This book was specifically hard for me and I know the blurb alludes to some issues, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was (view 3.5 stars This book was heavy. Much more heavy than I anticipated and on so many levels. First off, let me say that Mary H.K. Choi is a true wordsmith and her words are always well crafted. I think she is such a strong writer and I love that she writes about topics that aren’t easy. What I loved about this book was the familial aspect, specifically the sibling relationship. This book was specifically hard for me and I know the blurb alludes to some issues, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was (view spoiler)[ trigger warnings for: bulimia/disordered eating, cancer, identity theft, mental illness (hide spoiler)] .. It was just really hard for me. I wanted to love it, it was well written and impactful, but it wasn’t my favorite from Choi and was just too difficult for these too close to home topics. Audio book source: Libby (library borrow) Story Rating: 3.5 stars Narrator: Joy Osmanski Narration Rating: 4 stars Genre: Contemporary (new adult) Length: 13 hours and 6 minutes

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    Damn I love this book. Messy, dysfunctional, raw and real young adulthood combined with one of the best sister stories I’ve ever read. Jayne is a hot mess with so much hope, I just want to bring her home and give her a hug. Librarian note: The MC in this book is in her 20s and I’m actually confused as to why this is categorized as YA. Not a YA book for middle schools. Sex, drugs, alcohol, lots of adult themes in general. Brings me back to the whole question of what IS YA anyway? So much of it is Damn I love this book. Messy, dysfunctional, raw and real young adulthood combined with one of the best sister stories I’ve ever read. Jayne is a hot mess with so much hope, I just want to bring her home and give her a hug. Librarian note: The MC in this book is in her 20s and I’m actually confused as to why this is categorized as YA. Not a YA book for middle schools. Sex, drugs, alcohol, lots of adult themes in general. Brings me back to the whole question of what IS YA anyway? So much of it is written for 12-15 but then there are books like this for 18+. CW: eating disorders and cancer

  16. 5 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    4.5 stars read on my blog rep: ownvoices Korean-American protagonist, main character, and love interest cw: disordered eating, body dysmorphia, bulimia (ch. 45 particularly), cancer (uterine), depression **I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** I think just being in a family is what screws you up. I’m never going to fully understand them. And it’s fucked up because that means they’re never going t 4.5 stars read on my blog rep: ownvoices Korean-American protagonist, main character, and love interest cw: disordered eating, body dysmorphia, bulimia (ch. 45 particularly), cancer (uterine), depression **I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** I think just being in a family is what screws you up. I’m never going to fully understand them. And it’s fucked up because that means they’re never going to understand me. I love love love Mary H.K. Choi’s books and already was so excited for her next release! I knew as soon as I read the summary that I’d be crushed by this one too, especially because it deals with a complex sibling dynamic, a topic that I’m always drawn to. Yolk navigates a need for validation, a complex sister relationship, and the realization that maybe your past perceptions and desires aren’t what they should be. In New York City, Jayne is living in a tough spot, quite literally, actually, since she’s still living with the guy she used to hook up with but definitely isn’t anymore. She’s struggling with her classes and actively avoiding her sister June. That is, until her sister tracks her down to tell her she has cancer. Then, Jayne realizes that she can’t avoid her forever and begins spending more time with her, even after she finds out June has been using her identity for her insurance because what’s a little insurance fraud between sisters? (For legal reasons, this is a joke.) Much like Choi’s other novels, Yolk is very much character-focused. Jayne is clearly struglling in New York, even if she’s not willing to admit it to June. It’s supposed to be this magical place, but she still feels like she doesn’t belong and never will. Usually with books set in New York that talk about the magic of living there, I’m just like, okay I get it. However, I think this book really convinced me of it, mostly because I understood Jayne’s reasoning. She has this constant need from validation, mostly from people she shouldn’t be seeking it, like white men; she just wants to be seen, and maybe if she can recognize all of the strangers around her, they’ll recognize her too. read my full review here original review: this felt different yet so closely related to her other books…I honestly almost started crying at the end thought. it might take me a few days to sort my thoughts out for a review btw bc this book deals with a lot.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cesar

    As much as I didn't like Emergency Contact, and even though I didn't read Permanent Record, this one sounds a lot more promising and heartbreaking so I'll give this a chance. As much as I didn't like Emergency Contact, and even though I didn't read Permanent Record, this one sounds a lot more promising and heartbreaking so I'll give this a chance.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I loved this. I liked Choi's EMERGENCY CONTACT a lot and this is a much more ambitious book taking on some really heavy themes. The emotional center of this is so, so good, which is a must for a book that has so many complex characters and relationships to cover. Big big content warnings for disordered eating. If I sat down and counted the plots here there would be at least three, but it makes sense because literally everything in Jayne's life is a mess. The kind of a mess that happens when you a I loved this. I liked Choi's EMERGENCY CONTACT a lot and this is a much more ambitious book taking on some really heavy themes. The emotional center of this is so, so good, which is a must for a book that has so many complex characters and relationships to cover. Big big content warnings for disordered eating. If I sat down and counted the plots here there would be at least three, but it makes sense because literally everything in Jayne's life is a mess. The kind of a mess that happens when you are unwilling to address the one very big problem in your life so that your denial spills out into every corner of your life. So for a long time, we get very little of Jayne's central problem, her eating disorder. Because Jayne is blocking it out while also setting up her whole life around it. Choi is quite subtle about it in a way that felt very genuine, the way self-destructive people are able to look right past the actual thing. As far as the rest of her life, the biggest piece is her relationship with her older sister June. They both live in New York but never talk, and there is a lot of longstanding resentment between them. But they are forced to address it when June reveals that she has cancer and Jayne steps in to help. In a lot of ways this is a book about how you move from the stormy sibling relationships of childhood to the more mature relationships of adulthood. Jayne has to confront the ways she has failed and misjudged June. In addition to this central relationship we also get Jayne's relationship with her mother, who disappeared for a few months when she was a teenager; with men, including her habit of hooking up with inadequate white boys and her interest in a new guy; and even with New York City, which she looked to as a great escape that would save her only to find that she is even more messed up as an adult than she was stuck in San Antonio as a teen. I was a little hesitant on this one because I do not really like cancer books, but this never feels like a cheesy YA cancer book. In fact, I haven't shelved it as YA at all. Jayne is 20 or so, and her problems are pretty adult problems rather than teen ones. Sometimes books stuck in this age range can get stuck between YA and Adult but I really hope this one doesn't, there is so much here to enjoy. Other content warnings include infertility, slut-shaming, and unwanted sexual advances.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Yolk is Mary H K Choi's third novel, following on from Emergency Contact and Permanent Record (the latter of which I have read and enjoyed). Choi's novels are exactly what I look for in contemporary YA fiction: realistic protagonists who feel like genuine people and not characters in a novel, flawed in real and relatable ways and struggling with finding themselves in their early 20s. Choi's latest offering follows college student Jayne, studying fashion in New York City. Jayne lives in a crappy i Yolk is Mary H K Choi's third novel, following on from Emergency Contact and Permanent Record (the latter of which I have read and enjoyed). Choi's novels are exactly what I look for in contemporary YA fiction: realistic protagonists who feel like genuine people and not characters in a novel, flawed in real and relatable ways and struggling with finding themselves in their early 20s. Choi's latest offering follows college student Jayne, studying fashion in New York City. Jayne lives in a crappy illegal sublet with a guy she used to be sleeping with and which rarely has hot water and is ridden with cockroaches. Her elder sister, June, also lives in the city, although the two don't speak often due to their fraught older/younger sibling relationship and different lifestyles and values. However the two are forced back together after June is diagnosed with cancer and she is forced into revealing a few secrets which bind the two sisters back together. Alongside this, June has also got back in touch with a childhood friend from church called Patrick, another Korean-American from her hometown in Texas who has also moved to NYC, and they begin meeting up again. All this is happening to a backdrop of Jayne barely coping on a personal level - she has a longstanding eating disorder, drinks too much, isn't quite over said douchey roommate who keeps using her bed to have sex with random girls, and has always had a youngest sibling complex when it comes to her very traditional Korean parents. I thought Choi did a brilliant job of weaving the various plot lines together and conveying exactly how sibling relationships can change in a heartbeat (often for totally arbitrary reasons) and the self-destructive tendencies people can develop when they're unhappy or don't feel in control of their lives. I devoured this novel in less than a day, and would recommend it if you're in the mood for a smart, sad and at times funny contemporary YA with a sprinkling of romance. Thank you Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    all of this author's covers are just soothing perfection all of this author's covers are just soothing perfection

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dayla

    I received a copy via the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way. TW for this book: Eating disorders, Depression & Anxiety, Cancer, Fat Shaming Choi is one of those authors that is always an Insta-read for me. Her books always delve into deep topics and usually feature older young adults going about their lives on the cusp of adulthood. I know that when I pick up her books, I’m not going to get a light read and I’m not going to get naive characters. It’s kind of refreshing, even if it I received a copy via the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way. TW for this book: Eating disorders, Depression & Anxiety, Cancer, Fat Shaming Choi is one of those authors that is always an Insta-read for me. Her books always delve into deep topics and usually feature older young adults going about their lives on the cusp of adulthood. I know that when I pick up her books, I’m not going to get a light read and I’m not going to get naive characters. It’s kind of refreshing, even if it’s dark. After having read her last book, I was both excited and nervous for this one. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I won’t even lie, I didn’t read the synopsis (even when the ARC was pitched in a blogger email.) I just saw her name and I Instantly knew that I needed it. I’ll just say that I was so pleasantly surprised! Not only was YOLK better than her last novel, but I think it’s a pretty strong contender for the award of being her best novel to date. Exploring the complexities of both being a younger sister and being part of a Korean family with high expectations, the MC struggles through new health discoveries regarding her sister and fights her own personal demons. Through masterful writing and situations that feel all too real, Choi tells us about her MC’s overwhelming shame of who she’s become and how much she wishes to hide her existence. Through glimpses of their past, moments of levity where the sisters forget the animosity that grew between them for so many years, and the times where the MC allows herself to feel loved despite her fear of being seen, we’re introduced into this NYC life that’s far from perfect but a work in progress. YOLK is heartfelt, beautiful, and at times painful. We want the MC to do better for herself, to make better choices, to WANT better things. But her spirals and occasional choices show us that, despite her age, she is still human and she is still young. My review can’t do this book justice, but I will say that above all else that happens in this book, this is a book about surviving the circumstances we’re put in, allowing ourselves to ask for help, and welcoming the idea that we exist and matter enough to not want to be alone. We deserve to take up space. We are more than our anxiety, our fears, and whatever may plague us—whether it be illness, our past, or trauma. I highly recommend this book for readers who want a story about an imperfect sister relationship and who want a deeper look into what it might sometimes mean to be a Korean American. But especially if you are looking for Young Adult books about mental health, this is a great exploration of that topic as well. Happy reading!

  22. 4 out of 5

    ♡ jules ♡

    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  23. 4 out of 5

    The Reading Raccoon

    Read for Barnes & Noble Young Adult Book Club March 2021 Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi is a young adult (I would argue “new adult”) novel about two sisters living separate lives in NYC and the illness that brings them together. Jayne is a 19 year old art student struggling with a precarious living situation in Brooklyn with her roommate/part-time lover, barely managing school (the book takes place over a few months and I think she attends maybe once??), obsessed with her appearance and estranged from he Read for Barnes & Noble Young Adult Book Club March 2021 Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi is a young adult (I would argue “new adult”) novel about two sisters living separate lives in NYC and the illness that brings them together. Jayne is a 19 year old art student struggling with a precarious living situation in Brooklyn with her roommate/part-time lover, barely managing school (the book takes place over a few months and I think she attends maybe once??), obsessed with her appearance and estranged from her older sister June. June is a series of contrasts. She’s a Manhattan-ite with the posh apartment, hired cars and business suits. But she’s also hiding a serious medical issue, secrets about her job and has refrigerator filled with old food and not taking care of herself. When these two sisters find themselves back in each other’s orbit they are forced to confront truths about their past and present. Mary H.K. Choi uses her own experience as a Korean-American immigrant, growing up in Texas and living in New York to write an edgy and humorous novel about family, dating and loving yourself. The language is often spicy and the sexual content is frank and realistic which is why I would categorize it “new adult” as apposed to traditional young adult contemporary. There is also casual drug use, underage drinking and detailed scenes of bulimic episodes. I highly recommend Yolk for readers looking for novels about college age women who DON’T have it together, are struggling with their identity and find themselves out of step with their family and in romantic relationships. Choi is a master at creating clever dialogue and exchanges between young people and not making every interaction too “precious”. 4 stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Rating: 4.25/5 stars I read this book in a span of three days, which is pretty quick to me. However, I will say that this book has sensitive content like eating disorder, which was also mentioned in the preface of this book. This book focuses on the perspective of Jayne and how she is navigating her life from her internal struggles to living in one of the busiest cities in the world, while coming to terms with her older sister, June. The character development was phenomenal, as it felt real and ho Rating: 4.25/5 stars I read this book in a span of three days, which is pretty quick to me. However, I will say that this book has sensitive content like eating disorder, which was also mentioned in the preface of this book. This book focuses on the perspective of Jayne and how she is navigating her life from her internal struggles to living in one of the busiest cities in the world, while coming to terms with her older sister, June. The character development was phenomenal, as it felt real and honest to what Jayne was going through. I will say Jayne is not a likeable character, but she is portrayed as someone who feels skeptical about her life and those around her, which can feel relatable to those who are figuring out their life. Every sibling dynamic is different and the way the sibling dynamic was written felt honest for me. This book explored an imperfect sibling relationship who can’t stand each other and what happens when they need each other, despite the challenges they face. The author did not shy away from writing about the hatred the Baek sisters had for each other. Jayne and June have their flaws and appeal to different types of siblings. I relate to Jayne and June in different ways and I think that’s what made the book more intriguing to me because there were moments where I related to June (as an older sibling) and moments where I related to Jayne (as someone who is not sure what to do with their life). Overall, it was a great book to read for the weekend and would recommend to everyone who is interested in reading about imperfect sibling dynamics and life from someone in their early 20s (but please read the content warnings before reading this book). Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and NetGalley for sending me this e-arc, in exchange for an honest review. Cw: cancer, eating disorder, body dysmorphia, parental abandonment, drug-use, miscarriage, mental illness (anxiety, depression).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin (The Grateful Poet)

    Gorgeous as always. Choi is famous for writing books where “high-key nothing happens” and i like them. She does not shy away from writing about real life. in this case it’s women’s health, sisterhood, eating disorders, & casual sex. But this book is so much more than that. Choi feels like a friend telling you a story. If her name is on a book, I’ll read it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Yolk in exchange for an honest review. While I know some of Choi's previous YA books have focused on NA protagonists, they have a distinctly more YA feel that justifies the classification. This book is definitely more NA and because of that, I was about to relate to it less where readers in the NA stage of life would probably be able to relate to it more. Yolk is a very character driven story, following our protagonist after finding out her "perfect Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Yolk in exchange for an honest review. While I know some of Choi's previous YA books have focused on NA protagonists, they have a distinctly more YA feel that justifies the classification. This book is definitely more NA and because of that, I was about to relate to it less where readers in the NA stage of life would probably be able to relate to it more. Yolk is a very character driven story, following our protagonist after finding out her "perfect" sister has cancer spurs the two to get close enough to realize that neither was perfect. It's emotional and in my opinion, the writing is far stronger than other books by the author (which I personally haven't been the biggest fan of in the past) so I'd definitely recommend this whether or not you're a Mary H.K. Choi fan.

  27. 5 out of 5

    lei (pearl)

    update: nvm this is a 5. sorry i just can't give it anything less 4.5 stars (would be a 5 except for a couple of scenes that made me uncomfortable) this book fed me to a meat grinder update: nvm this is a 5. sorry i just can't give it anything less 4.5 stars (would be a 5 except for a couple of scenes that made me uncomfortable) this book fed me to a meat grinder

  28. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: Disordered eating, dysmorphia, bullimia A book about estranged sisters will always be my sweet spot. Choi's books always scream character detail, development, and complexity. Yolk is no exception. Set in NYC, Yolk is about the chasms of silence that stretch from sunrise to sunset painting the sky in shades of washed out blue. The gulf of distance between our life, the dreams we in (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: Disordered eating, dysmorphia, bullimia A book about estranged sisters will always be my sweet spot. Choi's books always scream character detail, development, and complexity. Yolk is no exception. Set in NYC, Yolk is about the chasms of silence that stretch from sunrise to sunset painting the sky in shades of washed out blue. The gulf of distance between our life, the dreams we inhabited, and reality. Full of memories of moments in the past, we can be sure we see it all in clarity. That we have a handle of what we saw, who we are, and the lives of those around us. Only through time and reflection, sharing and vulnerability, do we really see how little we know. I loved seeing the memories of their lives, of the fragments of their sharpened edges, the pieces of themselves reflected in each other's eyes. If you have a sister, sibling, or have ever wanted one, Yolk is a layered examination of this bond. The buttons we know how to press our skill in mood reading. Especially as we bridge into adulthood and our family, our sisters, become fully fledged people. Instead of the villains, or heroes, we have painted them out to be. First on Radar in June: OMG I need this so much. I have loved Choi's work since Emergency Contact, so underrated and brilliant and cannot wait for this one full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Treesh

    remember when i watched to all the boys 3 three times in one weekend and cried every time i saw the nyc montage? the first couple chapters of this book were kind of like that. but then it got into the eating disorder/cancer/immigrant family part, and i started crying for different reasons. there is so much that i loved about this novel. the complicated sister relationship was convincing and heartfelt but never saccharine. jayne's inner dialogue was unflinchingly honest, painfully relatable, and remember when i watched to all the boys 3 three times in one weekend and cried every time i saw the nyc montage? the first couple chapters of this book were kind of like that. but then it got into the eating disorder/cancer/immigrant family part, and i started crying for different reasons. there is so much that i loved about this novel. the complicated sister relationship was convincing and heartfelt but never saccharine. jayne's inner dialogue was unflinchingly honest, painfully relatable, and often hilarious. i also think that every "literary" writer who wants to include romance in their novel should read this book as a guide. i feel like love in "serious fiction" (whether movies or books) is always about instant attraction instead of accumulated affection. there's some kind of meet-cute and then a montage or fade-to-black, and we have to rely on our own expectations (often derived from such fiction) to fill in the details. but mary hk choi? she really said "FUCK fade-to-blacks i am going to tell you every single thing that they say to each other we are going to accumulate the fuck out of this affection folks.” there were so many times when a chapter ended, and i thought, "ok so i guess we're done with that interaction," and then i'd turn the page, and she would just KEEP GOING. it was so satisfying. seriously cannot recommend this book enough

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

    Thank you to NetGalley & Simon & Schuster for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. "Jayne and June are nothing alike." ― Mary H.K. Choi, Yolk *// TW: body dysmorphia, bulimia, cancer, female fertility, parental abandonment, toxic relationships, sexual content, drug-use, under-age drinking, slut-shaming, racism, mention of bullying.*  **dark - emotional - family drama - identity crisis.** - Plot- or character-driven? Character - Strong character development? Yes - Loveable charact Thank you to NetGalley & Simon & Schuster for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. "Jayne and June are nothing alike." ― Mary H.K. Choi, Yolk *// TW: body dysmorphia, bulimia, cancer, female fertility, parental abandonment, toxic relationships, sexual content, drug-use, under-age drinking, slut-shaming, racism, mention of bullying.*  **dark - emotional - family drama - identity crisis.** - Plot- or character-driven? Character - Strong character development? Yes - Loveable characters? Yes - Dislikable characters? Yes - Diverse cast of characters? Yes - Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes 4 ★ I did not start this book feeling the same way I did when I finished it. I went in excited, nervous and all around curious is to where Jayne and June's story was going to take me. With the mention of strong family dynamics, an identity crisis and all while living in the ambiguity of New York this book presents itself correctly. But it will hit you like a bag of bricks speeding down the highway. Mary H.K. Choi writes a love letter to the gen Z population, a letter delving into love and loss, messy relationships, ferocious family ties, the ugliness of growing up in a social media driven era and the challenges of being children of immigrant parents. I both related and disassociated from Jayne, our main protagonist so much that it felt like I was in a constant battle with myself for 400 pages. But getting to watch Jayne grow and even find herself in small ways really had me rooting for her development in the end. June being the older sibling of two immigrant parents, I related to her more in most scenes but overall Jayne was the driver and June almost took a back seat. I also want to previse this review by stating this book does not read as a YA novel, more NA bordering on Adult Fiction, and with the talented writing of Choi I couldn't put this book down and was fully immersed. Now comes the infamous pros and cons list: + compelling, unapologetic, deeply flawed and truly human MC - sometimes chaotic, melodramatic thoughts that didn't fully progress the story + impactful conversations about disorders, loss, toxic relationships, racism and the idealism of love. + authentic and real moments between siblings + New York, New York and New York - would have loved to see this book take the dual perspective route: seeing this story from the eyes of both Jayne and June. + raw and honest character development - I would have been completely content if this book focused only on the Baek family and less or no romantic entanglements + Being able to see the cultural impact of what it means to be Korean American and how woven our familial ties are in our lives.

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