8.6Heart-wrenching, Subtle, Beautiful
There is no denying the writing in this book is stunning. Primarily character-driven (my fave) this narrative and these two protagonists are filled with pain and angst and for me at least, it took a while to warm to both June and Jayne because they are so frustratingly determined they don’t need help when we first meet them. Their slow defrosting is probably why I found myself so endeared to their storyline though – it’s realistic and probably a relationship most of us are able to relate to in some way.

I will say, this is not one to go into lightly if you resonate with any of the trigger warnings; Choi doesn’t shy away from the brutal reality of eating disorders and while I think it was handled well (and the author provides information on where to find help too) the use of it in the plot is certainly not a place someone recovering would find solace (I’d worry the opposite would be true!)
Title: Yolk
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Type: Fiction
Published: 2021
Pages: 385
TW: Cancer, Eating Disorder, Body Dysmorphia, Bulimia
Yolk is a beautifully-written novel set in New York that follows two sisters – Jayne and June. With a difficult relationship, both are keeping secrets from the other, so when Jayne actually sees her sister (for the first time in a year) she is shocked to find out she has cancer. Now with the weight of this between them, their history, and all the pain they’ve built up is superseded by this disease. They have a long way to go, but June knows she must be there for Jayne, and along the way she might just be able to get help for herself too.

“We all have the same boring problems. Sometimes the best thing you can do is talk about it.” 

Review overview



Books like Yolk are actually quite hard to come by; rather than having some daring, epic romance at its centre, this is primarily about familial love, something that’s sometimes hard to nurture and protect, but often one of the most resilient types. Yolk may have beautiful prose but the story is actually rather ugly, showing the unpleasant secrets we all keep, but then again the beauty can be found underneath that – in the way we look after each other, especially at our most desperate.

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