20-year-old Jayne’s NYC life as an aspiring fashion designer is anything but glamorous. She lives in a tiny, rent controlled apartment with a freeloading former fling, who she is rapidly growing to despise.
This slice of life narrative takes a shift when Jayne’s estranged sister June suddenly appears in her life, expressing concerns about Jayne’s education and future. June also lives in NYC, but she lives alone in a sleek high rise apartment, with a high paying career in finance. June appears to be Jayne’s opposite in nearly every way.
When June comes to Jayne with grim news of a uterine cancer diagnosis, Jayne’s perspective begins to change. June’s life is not as charmed and unburdened as it had once seemed to Jayne. As the two sisters become entangled in one another’s lives, each slowly comes to realize that no matter how independent one may strive to be, they need not always suffer alone.
The first person, stream of consciousness narrative gives this novel an unrelentingly raw and personal edge, and displays a level of soul bearing vulnerability that is a rare find in fiction. The dialogue’s authentic feel further adds to the story’s believability.
At times, Yolk was a heavy read, with discussions of abuse, death, racism, eating disorders, and mental health. This book does not shy away from the harsh aspects of life that are often subdued or avoided altogether by YA titles.
However, it is a fantastic and enjoyable novel about growing up, complicated family relationships, and learning that sometimes it’s okay to trust and ask for help.