Published by Penguin Teen Australia on 1st February 2016
Boffins, Dymocks, Booktopia
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.
Yellow was, for me, a complete surprise of a novel. I hadn’t expected to read it just yet, but fellow blogger friend Tanieka from Young Adult At Heart had been raving about it, and after meeting Megan at the #YASquad2016 tour, I decided I needed a fresh new contemporary to read.
And I got it.
There’s so much about this book that I feel just resonates with the heart of what it’s like to be a teenager at a delicate point in life. As readers, our focuses tend to shift as we grow older in terms of what we read. While Young Adult definitely still takes precedence on my shelf, I’ve exposed myself to other genres of fiction, and I’ve found myself gravitating away from narrators who are younger than a certain age because I feel like I can’t connect with them on a certain level.
Yellow knocks that out of the ball park, and Jacobson has this really uncanny way of describing what high school life is like that the trip down memory lane was not quite what I was expecting. I so wish this book was available to me in Year Nine, as it probably would have changed a lot of the way I viewed the world at that age – and I believe it has the impact to empower our teens today.
Kirra comes from a not-so-great world where opportunities aren’t exactly knocking on her door. At 14, she’s burdened with the responsibility of her alcoholic mother while trying to get a worthy education and fit in with her peers at school.
While I wasn’t sold on the “supernatural” aspect of the novel, Boogie, the ghost Kirra communicates with. For most of the book it was all a bit misplaced, however I loved how Jacobson was able to reinforce the idea that it is up to you – and you alone – to shape who you are.
I honestly can’t wait to see what Jacobson comes up with next, because Yellow was such a powerful debut, with a message that goes beyond the idea of self-worth and touches on every day young adult problems such as bullying and education.
And to that I say, #LoveOzYA is on fire this year.