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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.

259 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2016

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About the author

Megan Jacobson

5 books82 followers
Megan Jacobson grew up in Darwin and the far north coast of NSW but now lives in Brisbane with her family. Her short stories have been published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Review of Australian Fiction, aired on ABC radio, and appeared in the UTS Writers Anthology. She has a degree in journalism and has also worked as an in-house script story-liner for several Australian television dramas.

Yellow (Penguin Random House Australia, 2016) Shortlisted, 2018 YABBA for Fiction Years 7-9, 2017 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, 2017 Davitt Award Best Young Adult Book, 2017 Davitt Award Best Debut.

The Build-up Season (Penguin Random House Australia, 2017) Joint Winner, 2018 Australian Family Therapists' Award for Children's Literature for Older Readers; Shortlisted, 2019 YABBA for Fiction Years 7-9, 2018 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature.

Big Love illustrated by Beck Feiner (Walker Studio Australia, 2021)

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5 stars
245 (30%)
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319 (40%)
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180 (22%)
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34 (4%)
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18 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 171 reviews
Profile Image for Neeks.
129 reviews935 followers
May 15, 2021
This. Was. Amazing. Yellow was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 and it certainly lived up to my expectations (oh and the cover is even better in person, it's stunning!). Kirra is a 14 year old girl who going through a pretty rough time; her "friends" bully her, her dad left her mum for another woman, her mother is an alcoholic and on top of all that, a teenage ghost calls her on a broken down phone box and wants her help to put his murderer to justice.

This book covers a lot of heavy themes such as depression, bullying, feminism, addiction, self image and friendship. Yellow is an incredibly powerful book that lingers in your mind long after finishing and will leave you feeling rewarded after putting it down.

Megan Jacobson has a beautiful talent in characterisation and crafts such unique, interesting and important characters. The characterisation is outstanding and all of the characters in Yellow were so well developed, and felt so real that even if this book was about watching grass grow, I still would’ve given it 5 stars.

As a character, Kirra is extremely self-conscious, shy and anxiety-ridden, no thanks to all the bullying at school and her big, bright yellow eyes. Her character development over the course of the story grows immensely and by the end of the novel, she is more confident, in better control of herself and her stress coping mechanisms have improved.

While I had huge expectations for Yellow, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Kirra as she is only 14 and I thought it might read too young, thankfully I was proven wrong almost immediately but the poor girl has had to grow up far too quickly. I sympathised with Kirra so much and I just wanted to give her a huge hug and tell her everything will be okay. I wanted to cry because of what she goes through. Her story at first is not a happy one, however it develops realistically and beautifully toward the end of the novel, as does her character.

Kirra's new best friend Willow and Kirra’s mum were probably my favourite “minor” characters. Okay, I don’t agree with 14 year old kids smoking, but Willow was so forward thinking for her age. She is a feminist and is determined to not let her poor upbringing or “low socio-economic status” affect her dreams. Dotted throughout the novel, Willow will turn around and slam somebody for being sexist, however there is one part at the end where she completely slays which resulted in cheering and fist pumping (okay, maybe not fist pumping but I certainly put the book down and cheered a bit in triumph). Kirra’s mum is most definitely fucked up. She is completely useless and an embarrassment of a mother, but it’s obvious she needs help and while she’s certainly not perfect, her character is unique and so incredibly important (also she grows as a character as well, don’t worry!).

I should also mention, this story is set in Australia in the 90’s and THERE IS SO MUCH NOSTALGIA I CAN’T DEAL. Spice girls and sparkly pink butterfly hair clips are just a couple of the things that gave me a giggle (also the mannerisms and language in general just oozed growing up in a small-ish town in the 90’s).


The writing was fantastic as well and I can barely fault it. It's poetic and engaging without being too flowery and guess what? THIS IS A DEBUT FREAKING NOVEL. Yes. Megan Jacobson is a debut novelist and you certainly wouldn’t think this is her first book.

I know this review is just all gushy praise, but seriously guys. Megan Jacobson is one author I’m going to be auto buying and Yellow is already my favourite book read in 2016 so far. Yellow is an enriching, thought-provoking, powerful book with fantastic characters and beautiful writing. I implore you to go buy this book (even if you’re not Australian), please.
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
394 reviews675 followers
January 14, 2020
“Draw Blood, Kirra. Draw blood with your words. Blood’s the only way to stop the bastards. — But learn to punch too. Just in case.”

The writing in Yellow just made me ached.

“There’s a sort of kindness that makes you want to cry more than any cruel words slung at you. Both kindness and cruelty will acknowledge you have a problem, but cruelty, at least, lets you don your armour and fight back when you’re faced with it. Kindness can be harder. It will look inside of you and hold up your troubles with soft, open hands, and you’re standing there, face to face with all the things that you’re pretending so badly aren’t wrong.”


“I know if Noah Willis never speak to me again after this night it won’t matter. I will love him. After what he’s done for me tonight, the way he speaks so gently to my mother.

I will love him.

That’s the truth.”

I guess this is how a writing touches your soul huh?

“I think I’m happy.”
Profile Image for Figgy.
678 reviews220 followers
August 2, 2019

Actual Rating 4.25

The Setting: A small Australian town near Mount Warning, mid to late nineties.

The Plot: Kirra’s life is going downhill fast. She’s just had a talking to by her friends at school; they don’t like the way she walks, among other things, and they’re trying to show her just how undesirable she is, how much she needs them. Her dad moved out three months ago and is living with his four-month-pregnant girlfriend. Her mum is attempting to drown the pain and is drinking herself slowly to death. Oh, but don’t worry, the ghost of a teenage boy who haunts a broken phone booth is going to help her fix her life, but only if she’ll bring his murderer to justice.
It’s an old Telstra telephone booth that sits beside a disused track. The glass has been long smashed, used chewing gum is shoved into the coin slot and For a Good Time someone could Call Carly The Dirty Mole, or so says the graffiti scrawled on the back wall in faded texta. The whole thing smells like pissed-out VB. It seems so forgotten and desolate, and yet here it is, ringing to itself.
Nope, nothing insane going on here!

If asked to describe Yellow in three words, I’d have to say tragically, beautifully nostalgic.

There is so much here to love. So much to feel.

The rest of this review can be found HERE!
Profile Image for Danielle.
202 reviews260 followers
January 11, 2017
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Such a unique and beautifully written book! It took me a while to get into it and I didn't feel completely invested until the end, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless.
Profile Image for Bec (booktineus).
645 reviews151 followers
November 11, 2017
This review first appeared on Readers in Wonderland

Short, fast, and easy
Being as busy as I am with Uni, short books are my thing atm (at least, in an attempt to keep up with reviews on the blog). I’m so tired by the time I’m done with the day that I don’t want to think too much. YELLOW was the perfect book; easy to read and follow, and very well paced.

14 year old Bec related to Kirra a Lot
The very first thing I noted about YELLOW was how much Kirra reminded me of, well, me back when I started high school, and it really helped me connect to her. My family life wasn’t as bad as hers, but in terms of her school life and personality it was scarily similar. I could relate to her feeling alone, left out, her shyness, and her smarts.

Oh, 14 year olds
YELLOW’s characters are mostly 14 year olds, and I think they’re pretty accurately portrayed. Some of there solutions to things are ridiculous. Their relationships are so flippant, and some of the shit they say and do is so petty. It was the type of stuff that made me hate early high school (all those cliques/ friend groups and crap). The side characters could have been more developed, but I really wouldn’t have wanted to spend more time reading about them anyway.

A twist that surprised me
Do you know how nice it is to be surprised by a murder mystery? It hasn’t happened in so long. Maybe if more time had been spent investigating the murder (it was more of a side plot to the family and friend issues) I might have picked up on it. But for now I’m just happy a twist managed to surprise me so.

A sweet book overall with an important message
It feels weird describing YELLOW as a sweet book, it has a lot of dark themes, but it was a nice book to read. Kirra deals with a lot of things both at school with bullies and ridiculous friend drama, and at home with her alcoholic mother. It made her shy, and meek but I loved watching her grow, becoming more self confident and learning that the opinion of others means jack (especially if they’re arseholes). Honestly it was the type of book I needed when I started high school.

In Summary
YELLOW was a sweet surprise of a book. The murder mystery is more of a side plot, with greater focus on family and self belief. Well written and easy to read, YELLOW is a book I wish had been around when I started high school because I could have learnt a lot from Kirra.
Profile Image for Léá.
207 reviews37 followers
May 7, 2022
“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”

Wow. This book right here blew me away.

What a stunningly powerful and exquisitely crafted novel. 'Yellow' is an impressive and masterful debut, the sort of quietly compelling and beautifully written story that sneaks up on you page by page and takes your breath away. It is, on the surface, a young adult contemporary - set in the lower class housing commission suburbs, the public school classrooms and surrounding bushland and beaches of a coastal Australian town - intertwined with an almost supernatural murder mystery. The author creates this beautifully atmospheric and haunting narrative, bringing the story together in a way that forms something heartbreakingly amazing and unique, a whole that is a lot stronger than the sum of its parts.

This is a book that tackles some really big concepts – bullying, murder, depression, divorce, addiction, self-image and self-awareness, standing up for yourself and for others, friendship, relationships and loss – and weaves them all together into an incredibly poignant but uplifting story that is ultimately about the redemptive power of kindness, what it means to be haunted by the past and the choices we must make as we grow up and find our feet in the world. For me, at least, the ideas and themes behind this story are what made it so powerful and memorable.

This book is all heart and soul, undoubtedly a labour of love by the author; heartfelt, gritty, real and honest. There is something whisper soft and tranquil about the writing which enables the author to really pack a powerful punch with the harsher realities of the world. And Jacobson does not once talk down to her audience, she is truthful in her portrayal of harder social issues and yet intertwines it all with a level of poetry to the writing that is just heartbreakingly beautiful and so engaging. I often tag pages with beautiful lines or favourite passages when I read a book I plan to review, but with this one I had to stop because almost every second page there was a line or phrase I wanted to savour. The prose in this book is just stunning, reminiscent of a Markus Zusak contemporary. Jacobson so effortlessly creates this haunting and sad reality and yet makes it beautiful, fills even the simplest moment with something amazing. This book is the embodiment of the sentiment that even though things may be broken they can still shine and that even in the darkest of places there is still something inherently beautiful and hopeful about life.

'Yellow' so perfectly captures the emotion and atmosphere of growing up in Australia. It brought me right back to my childhood, especially with the way it explored bullying. I think many readers will find something sadly relatable about the way in which victims will try to diminish themselves in order to avoid attention and maintain the status quo within an established school pecking order, as though excelling beyond your allotted place is a crime worthy of punishment by those around you who will quickly bring you down. There is a level of claustrophobia to the world, the characters’ lives confined by the social hierarchies and limited opportunities in front of them in a way that I feel is so relatable to many younger people who cannot yet see the potential before them or in themselves. It is hard to be young, lonely and a little bit lost and I think we can all understand that feeling of just trying to work life out as we go, unable to see more than what is in front of us.

While 'Yellow' is a book heavy on themes, it is at its core a story about people and what it means to grow up and believe in yourself even in a world that will try and bring you down. This book is a good reminder that true friends will build you up, they will see the good in you, rather than try to drag you back down or point out only your flaws and failings. It really illustrates how damaging words can be, as well as how kindness and love can be so powerful and healing. The characterisation is definitely one of the areas where Jacobson really shines. These characters felt real to me; I felt their emotions, their fears and insecurities, the ways in which certain things can break a person down or build a person up, especially in the oh so important teen years where belief in yourself can be hard to find.

While I imagine some readers will find the pacing a little slow, those who like intelligent, thought-provoking and beautiful writing and a book that delves into harder topics will be richly rewarded.

4.5 stars. Beautiful. Poetic. Atmospheric. Relatable.

Profile Image for sam.
214 reviews4 followers
February 10, 2017
Thank you so much Penguin Random House Australia for sending me this book! All thoughts expressed are entirely my own.


What can I say. This book was a wonderful, different coming-of-age story. First off, one thing I loved was that it was set in Australia - not enough books, let alone Young Adult books, are set in my wonderful home country. I loved all the Australia references; they were so fun to see & it made me, an Australian, feel like part of a select group of people who only understood them. One thing that this novel urged me to do was highlight quotes; I've only annotated school books before, but something about Jacobson's writing urged me to highlight various of the beautiful quotes that she produced.

Going into this book, I didn't know what to expect from the paranormal aspect; it claimed on the back that there is communication with a ghost, and I did not know how that would be expressed. Overall, I was not blown away by the paranormal descriptions, but they weren't horrible.

I also LOVED how Jacobson was not afraid to tackle darker topics in a contemporary, including alcoholism, depression, bullying and negligence. I enjoy books with these darker themes, as they are more realistic to life; not all people have perfect lives, fall in love with the boy next door and have two perfect children. It's just not realistic - it doesn't reflect what actually happens in life.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and looking forward to future novels by Jacobson. Can't wait to meet her when she tours Melbourne very soon!
Profile Image for Emily.
187 reviews303 followers
February 25, 2016
There is so much to love about this little book. If you like strong female friendships, complicated families and cute surfer boys who want to hear your thoughts on Lord of the Flies, this one's for you.
Profile Image for Tilly Booth.
181 reviews943 followers
January 31, 2016
This beautiful debut novel by Megan Jacobsen blew me away. I didn't know what to expect when I received this book from Penguin Random House (in exchange for a review) but I've wanted to read ever since the cover reveal (isn't it beautiful!?). I was captivated from the first page and I read Yellow in one siting.

Kirra has a troublesome life with her alcoholic mum and her dad who's left them for another woman she has no safety at home and when she has a fight with her school friends (who are such b*tches!!) she finds herself lost. No friends, a passed out mother and a dead boy talking to her through a telephone box?

It's the perfect recipe for a great contemporary book with a bit a twist. Yellow is so well written. Megan Jacobsen knows how to paint a picture and she strings some sentences together that will stay in my mind for a long time. "Only stupid people aren't scared when they face something dangerous. Courage, real courage, comes from being afraid but doing it anyway.".

The characters are wonderful too. Kirra who is problematic narrator gives you insight into her problems and the life surrounding her. Willow is basically perfection. I loved Willow from the moment she was mentioned in this book. Even the bullies in this book Cassie, Lou, Sasha and Tara make you feel something (it's anger but it's still something!). I feel like every character mentioned in this book has an entire life. You could ask about Lark's girlfriend and Megan Jacobsen could tell you all about her childhood. There's depth to the characters and I loved that.

Overall this book was great. I enjoyed it from beginning to end (And what a great ending!). I felt that there was something missing. Some parts didn't flow to great for me and some chapters seemed rushed but the book made up for that in other areas.

I give Yellow by Megan Jacobsen 4 out of 5 stars!
Profile Image for i..
331 reviews33 followers
February 12, 2017
This is the kind of book you need to read when you are a teenager and feel like one, I mean , when you are not happy about the way you look, you think you don't fit anywhere , you find out that some of your friends are your frenemies and your family is far from perfect.

You will feel inspired by the strong will of the main character and at the same time you'll be intrigued by the plot.

Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,003 reviews3,298 followers
March 30, 2016
This review appears on Happy Indulgence! Check it out for more reviews.

Books about teenagers getting bullied and having a difficult life are usually depressing, melodramatic and really bring you down. Yellow differs in showcasing the beautiful moments in life, even though you may be from a low income family.

This makes me think how misunderstood these teenagers are. Even though Kirra lives in a Housing Commission, comes from a low income family, has an alcoholic mother and suffers from bullying, there are moments of joy in her life, through the friendships she develops with Noah and Willow, the encouragement from the ghost Boogie, and the gentle guidance of her teacher where she learns to work to her true potential.

While Kirra is misunderstood, bullied and has low self esteem, she’s also intelligent, hopeful and interesting. She does make flawed decisions that aren’t always right, but through these experiences, she learns which is the most important thing. She learns to trust in herself and to build a better life for herself.

The magical realism in the story gives it a paranormal undertone, where Boogie talks to Kirra through a beachside telephone. It’s slightly creepy, as he laments about his loneliness and persuades Kirra to find his killer. But Boogie also gives her a direction and a means to change her life, which was the push she needed.

Kirra’s relationship with her parents was heart breaking, but I’m glad they were represented as a big part of her life as opposed to being absent. Her alcoholic mother made me really angry, as she kept on missing out things that were important to Kirra and hit the bottle everyday instead of being a parent. Her father was just as horrible but in a different way, as a surfer on the dole who just wants to have fun with no responsibilities. Both of these representations demonstrate parents who are not coping well with the consequences of their decisions, which is sad but realistic. I raised an eyebrow at the extreme measures that Kirra took to curb her mum’s alcoholism though, which were overly dramatic and unrealistic.

She doesn’t have an easier time at school either, as she’s bullied by the popular mean girl Cassie and the rest of the student cohort. It was interesting seeing everyone else follow in Cassie’s footsteps, simply because of her rung on the school’s social ladder. I’m glad that Kirra did have that one person who does stick up for her, Willow, who is an outcast and has nothing to lose by standing up to Cassie. The girls build a tentative friendship of mutual respect and understanding which was another bright spot in her life.

There’s a touch of romance and I’m glad it didn’t take over the story as an excuse to “save” Kirra from her situation. Noah is a popular guy, but he’s also misunderstood. It shows how little we know about how people really feel outside of their stereotypes, which gave the characters some depth. It was nice to have his kindness in Kirra’s life, giving her positive reaffirmation for her decisions.

I also loved the cosy setting in an Australian beachside town, with surfing, sand dunes and teenagers who save up to wear Roxy and Billabong.

Who knew that there could be a certain elegance in the difficulties of a low income family in a cosy, Australian beachside town? Yellow pulls it off beautifully, giving Kirra a way out of her circumstances. While the story became a bit unrealistic at times, it was an empowering novel about standing up to people, taking risks, and breaking out of your circumstances.

I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ryan Buckby.
645 reviews86 followers
February 18, 2016
i've stayed up to just about almost 1am finishing this book, i really really loved it and i'm finally happy to get another story set in Australia as you don't see many stories set in this amazing country.

I first heard about this book at the Penguin Teen live PTA chat in Adelaide late last year and this book was going to be apart of the new loveOZYA group of debut authors. The way it was explained had me hooked even before i got a copy of the book but unfortunately i didn't get my hands on an ARC/unproofed copy i was pretty bummed about it!

Yellow follows the story of Kirra who is a teenage girl living in Australia who lives with her alcoholic and pretty useless mother, Kirra has to deal with her mother being a raging alcoholic after her parent's divorced. Kirra's 'supposed' friends don't help her current situation at all, they are nasty and bitchy towards Kirra. Kirra one day stumbles on an old phone box that has been out of use for sometime it starts ringing and Kirra reluctantly picks it up and begins her quest to find out who murdered this boy.

Megan's writing had a way of sucking you in and leaving you hanging on each word, Megan also deals with some heavy topics throughout this book Bullying, Alcoholism, Feminism, Friendship, Self image, and Addiction. Megan dealt with these topics beautifully they were all written and dealt with in a manner that it didn't go over the top. All of her characters throughout this book had a trait in them that someone could relate to and i did identify myself with a couple of these heavy topics that were in this novel.

I loved all the australian themes and cultures that was one thing that stuck with me because most of these things i've either witnessed or done them myself, it felt like i was at home and felt that i belonged in this characters world.

Without a doubt i will be definitely pick anything else Megan writes because if its just as good as this book i will have no problem devouring each word on the page!
Profile Image for K..
3,595 reviews1,001 followers
August 7, 2016
My rating keeps wavering between 3.75 and 4 stars, and I just can't quite work out what it should be. So I'm going with a solid 4 stars for now, but I may reassess down the track.

This is a quirky little book with a truly stunning cover. In some ways, this was very relatable for me - it's Australian and set in the late 90s and dealing with the nightmare that is year 9. I can personally vouch for the fact that year 9 in 1997 was a truly horrific experience full of bitchiness and tears and debacle-esque friendships.

So all the school related stuff was really great. But then there was a whole extra layer in the form of Kirra's crappy parenting and her being 14 years old and dealing with a whole stack of things that a 14 year old should never have to deal with. And then add in a ghost who's calling her on a non-functioning Telstra phone box, and things start to get...weird.

I really liked the friendship that develops between Kirra and Willow, and I liked that the romantic side of things is a really minor part of the plot. And ultimately, I did enjoy it. It was just...quirky. And I still don't quite know how to feel about it.
Profile Image for Caroline.
589 reviews804 followers
April 9, 2016
FOURTEEN year old Kirra is struggling with her friends in school. They keep trying to change who she is and are just rude in general. Kirra's mother is an alcoholic and their life at home is falling apart. At the end of another horrible day, Kirra sits on the beach and wallows in sadness. The phone booth near her starts ringing and when she answers it, the ghost inside tells her that he will help her fix her life if she can solve his murder.

This story was honestly so addictive and I really enjoyed it. You can find my review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJImo... on my youtube channel where I talk about it in a little more depth. The story sounds bizarre but this is actually a beautiful story about a young girl coming into her own and becoming comfortable with herself. Such an excellent example of Aussie YA fiction!
Profile Image for Kirra.
514 reviews18 followers
June 18, 2018
Yellow is a difficult book and like a flawed person, sometimes, it was hard to love and understand. This book follows fourteen-year-old Kirra from a small town in Australia living on the poor side of town with an alcoholic mother and struggling with her father's absence due to his new and pregnant girlfriend. Kirra is also part of a group of friends who aren't really her friends and are actually awful bullies that she's too scared to stand up to and tell off in their negative ways. There were many times in this book where I rolled my eyes, cringed at the overuse of Aussie slang and became frustrated at the characters but ultimately the character growth and the big twist at the end was so fantastic that I ended this book with a warm glow inside and a smile on my face. 

So, it was definitely interesting to read from the mind of a fourteen-year-old Australian girl with the same name as me! I didn't go through the events she did in this book but I understand the peer pressures and growing pains as anyone who has been a teenager can relate to and the funniest thing was that I listened to this book on Audible so whenever she was getting told off it seemed like I was in trouble! Kirra had a great storyline though and the secondary characters added so much fuel to the fire so it was a really enjoyable read once I settled into the story around halfway into it.

Although it took me awhile to get comfortable in this book because it was a really Australian novel I actually did end up loving it. Since I've been reading a lot of American books lately I was just thinking how can one person possibly use so much Australian slang but then I thought maybe I'm just really out of touch with my Aussie slang so it was like a little refresher course for me! Some great parts about this book though were the fantastic friendships Kirra ended up building, the pure mystery of a large part of the plot and the massive shock to my world towards the end of this book when the truth came out about the murdered ghost of the boy she had been trying to help. Overall, this was a great audiobook to read because of the suspense behind it and I'm looking forward to reading more from Megan Jacobson in the future.
5 reviews
December 12, 2015
If it wasn’t for going to the Penguin Teen Australia Live event at Dymocks in Adelaide I would have never laid eyes on this great book and I would have never received it (thanks Penguin Teen). All I can say is wow! I am so glad I have been given the chance to read this prior to its release date next year.
For starters, the cover is stunning, although the cover I have is in black and white it is so beautiful and artistic. It’s so intricate and delicate and it also corresponds with the story in a great way. I only really just heard about the book properly last Monday and I only had the chance to start it on Friday and I got through it so fast and so easily. The suspense of the book drew me in and made me want to know more and more as the story progressed.
Yellow, is about fourteen year old Kirra who is being bullied by her ‘friends’ at school and doesn’t have the best support from her mother. Kirra is in the middle of a ‘murder mystery’ where she forms an unlikely bond with a ghost and assists him in finding out who murdered him. This story was so interesting and made me want to know more to the point I couldn't put it down at all! The most scary and fascinating thing in this book is that I could picture people who could represent the people who are bullying Kirra. The story was so faced paced and full of suspense which indeed does leave you hanging on to each and every last sentence and word.
I really did enjoy this book, I felt really close to Kirra and I wanted to tell her that everything will be okay and she is better than what she thinks she is. The feelings and thoughts of Kirra were shown so vividly and helped the story grow. The only thing that I can think is wrong with the book was that the ending was so fast and after the big reveal it seemed as though it should’ve been more. Megan Jacobson is a phenomenal author who really knows how to connect the audience to the wonderful story that is portrayed. It is a wonderful story which incorporates the themes of bullying, finding yourself, love and most of all the paranormal elements. I assure you, you won’t be able to put it down once you’ve started.
Profile Image for Karina.
453 reviews47 followers
March 3, 2016
This was an incredibly sad, but beautifully written book. I'm sort of mad that there aren't more pages to read, but it's perfect as it is. I don't know why I don't read more books set in Australia because they give me all of the nostalgic feelings and they connect to me in a way that other stories just can't.

Kirra is a despondent teenager that is trying to deal with an absent father, an alcoholic mother, disgusting friends and a creepy as hell ghost. Kirra's character development is amazing to read. And even though I should pretend to be an evolved being that doesn't condone violence, I was internally cheering when she punched a particular someone in the face. I kind of really like that the supernatural element isn't explained in the story; there is this ghost at the end of the phone line and it's just sort of accepted. Sometimes inconsequential details like that can bog a story down, so I'm glad this one doesn't suffer from it.
Profile Image for XXK.
520 reviews14 followers
January 27, 2016
Ok it's a bit fair but still
But such an awesome book! BEST fourteen year old character ever. Ever. Take that Paige Toon you immature brat. That is the best younger character ever. You go girl.
Profile Image for Eliza Christine.
54 reviews46 followers
June 29, 2017
41 shits were given in this book.

No, really, 41. By shits, I mean the protagonist thinking “Shit” to herself over something that happens in the book. I can’t say that it added much to the story. Unfortunately, that’s more shits than I gave this book, though I wanted to care more about it.

Seeing this in the bookshop, I was enthralled by the beautiful cover and was then intrigued by the book’s premise. I was so excited to read a story that explored some dark themes, such as bullying and substance abuse, but with an added supernatural element (I love me a good – or not so good - ghost). However, as I cringed my way through reading the first chapter, I had a feeling that I’d be disappointed.

The book is not badly written, but I found the author’s writing to be somewhat clunky and stilted. I felt like the author was trying to explain the protagonist’s thoughts, feelings and actions, rather than describe them, so that was clear to the reader that the protagonist would always react a certain way to a certain situation. It left little room for subtlety. It was like the author had forgotten the “show don’t tell” rule. Though there were a few paragraphs throughout that I thought really captured some beautiful description, the writing didn’t captivate me.

Our protagonist was better. The book is narrated by Kirra, a lonely fourteen year-old girl with yellow eyes (I did not like this motif as I don’t think it added any depth to Kirra’s experience, it was just a cool thing to identify her by). Kirra’s friends bully her, her parents are negligent and she struggles with self-doubt. Though it is quite clear from the beginning of the book what lesson she is going to learn, it was good to see Kirra develop confidence in herself and build authentic friendships as the story progressed. This is not to say that she didn’t make mistakes along the way , but she persevered through all the crap that she went through and I was glad that she was in a better place at the end of the book. I think that Kirra’s a reasonable role model as she sends a good message to people struggling with feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression: “I’m still shy… and I might always be, I don’t’ know, but I think you can be shy and still feel okay about yourself at the same time.”

None of the other characters really stuck with me. Kirra’s mother is an alcoholic for most of the book, so when that went away I felt like there wasn’t much left in regards to characterisation as she had been so defined by her drinking problem. I didn’t really have a feel for who she was behind the drinker, which was a shame, especially since her character actually turns out to be a major factor in the story. It was similar with the other characters; Kirra’s father’s defining trait is that he’s a surfer, the school mean girls are just as they sound, and the love interest is barely present so of course we don’t learn much about him other than through his little monologues that pop up out of nowhere. Kirra’s friend Willow could be entertaining and I admired how she did her own thing, but her voice could seem a bit forced with how she’d refer to Kirra with pet names. It felt very much like an adult trying to be “hip and with it” through writing a teenage character who uses terms that very few teenagers would actually use, even if it was set in the 90s.

Now, the ghost. I did see the twist coming . I’m still not sure about how things ended with Boogie, whether that was right thing for Kirra to do in the end or not, but I do think it’s keeping in line with the book’s message.

Yellow isn’t a book that will stay with me nor a book that I would read again, but it did explore some interesting themes. I’m just disappointed it wasn’t quite the ghost story I was thought it would be.

If you’ve read this, let me know what you think:
Profile Image for Jess.
315 reviews14 followers
July 3, 2016
I picked up this book because I was heading to Penguin Teen Australia's #YASquad 2016 event in Sydney and Megan Jacobson was one of the four Aussie authors speaking. I can't thank Penguin enough for bringing this book to my attention, or Jacobson for writing such a gut wrenching book.

Not going to lie, I went into this book with no expectations and the 90s world Jacobson writes about smacked me in the face with all the subtle etiquette of a freight train. In fact I started reading it while waiting for my younger sister's drama class to finish. In that hour I was outraged and texted Amy from Lost In A Good Book (because I knew she'd read it and loved it) like crazy ... weeks later I still don't have enough words to sum up this book!

Yellow is about Kirra, a 14 year old teenager who lives on the wrong side of the hill near South Beach, a small costal town near Mount Warning and not too far from Bryron Bay in Australia. Nicknamed yellow because of the unusual shade of her eyes, she is constantly taunted by the unforgiving world of teenager girls in high school. After a particularly harsh day, Kirra hits the deserted unpopular beach only to find an abandoned telephone box ringing. Odd. Not to be weird out, but fearing yet another harrowing teenage prank, Kirra answers the phone and learns that the voice on the other end belongs to a teenage boy named Boogie who claims to have been murdered 20 years prior.

'I don't believe in you,' I whisper. 'Ghosts aren't real.'

'You're wrong,' He sounds upset. 'There's nothing more real than the things that can haunt you... but, you know, there's nothing more powerful than deciding not to be afraid.'

Maybe he's right, but the thing is, fear doesn't let you decide if you're going to feel it or not. It barges in on you without knocking.

I connected with Kirra from early on in the book. High school, or in my case primary school, was not all sunshine and roses. In particular I learnt from an early age that girls can be really cruel when they want to be. So to see the extent of the bullying in this book, and to see it so viciously on the very first couple of pages made my skin crawl. It got me outraged and so angry and brought back a flood of memories. It made me feel violently ill in places and it's been a while since a book has given me that kind of physical reaction.

I think what the book is trying to say is that everybody is vicious and brutal really, once you scratch the surface. It's only society that makes us pretend that were not.

The quality and ease of the prose of Jacobson's writing astounded me. From the very first page I was sucked into her world, and it only took a couple of pages for me to fully see just how amazing her writing style was. The words on the page ebbed and flowed with the natural grace of the story; they were almost whimsical and musical, and just so profound in parts that I found it hard to place this book within the knowledge that this was Jacobson's DEBUT novel! There are some seriously beautiful passages in this book.

Words are the most powerful things there are. Words change thoughts, and thoughts change actions, and actions change the world.

Yellow is a heartbreakingly sad and in your face raw and honest narrative about the world around you. I touched on it above, but it deals with a number of serious issues that aren't usually conveyed in YA novels - or at least aren't usually all represented in the one book. It's one of things I admire about the narrative, about Kirra's characterisation and about Jacobson's writing; the refusal to back down and shy away from the unlike-able and unfavourable parts of life.

Kirra isn't a perfect character by no means. She's self centred - a trait that we can move past given everything that's going on in her life -, insecure, obsessed and driven by this need to be popular and liked. But more importantly she's lonely.

Before I grab a couple of sets to put on the beds I stand there for a moment. I close my eyes and lean against the frame, and with my eyes still closed, I slot my hand inside the folds of one of the bed sheets at the bottom of the stack. I imagine, with the pressure of it, it's someone holding my hand. Not just someone. I imagine it's my mother holding my hand, and she's soft and nice and smells sweet like washing powder. She's holding my hand because she wants me to be safe.

Her parents have recently split, her mother is an alcoholic and her father has a new family and a new baby on the way too boot. Her friends are not only nasty, but out right bullies!

.. I think of The Circle, and how it felt like their words were scratching me right up, except the scratches were all on the inside, and how it felt as raw and painful as it would have felt if they'd been using their fingernails to claw at my skin. Maybe more. Real scratches heal. Those words they used, they drew blood all right. I need to use those types of words, Boogie said, and I wonder where I can find them.

Kirra can't see life past the few weeks before her because she simply can't fathom the world beyond her town and high school.

From up on the hill my town looks so small, like a toy town, with one main road, some fish and chip shops, a police station, a grocery, a library and a hardware store. But when you're in it, my town seems like the biggest thing in the world.

It seems like the whole world.

Nothing around her shows her that there is more to life than the misery and gloom that surrounds her. Until Boogie of course. But he is a whole other story. One I can't deal with here without hinting heavily at spoilers (this review is so hard to write without giving anything away!).

But despite all that, I really felt for her. On almost every page I wanted to pull her from the pages of the book and just pull her into the tight hug and tell her that it will all be okay. Kirra has a strength of character that I haven't seen since reading Frankie by Shivaun Plozza, and yet it's different too. She's clearly alone, fragile and has low self-esteem, but she's also incredibly smart and brave and courageous for what she does and how she overcomes things. Although I don't condone some of her actions, and I wanted to scream at her with some of her dealings mid-to-late-book with her ex-best-friends (I literally put my head in my hands at one point), I generally admire her as a character. Especially in the scene where she tries to help her mum overcome her addiction, even if she might have gone about it the wrong way.

Only stupid people aren't scared when they face something dangerous. Courage, real courage, comes from being afraid but doing it anyway.

Even more so, I love that despite all the shit Kirra is dealing with, with her problems at home and those confronting her at school and with Boogie, she's not whiny. I can't commend Jacobson for being able to pull that massive feat off enough!

There is really so much to love about this book. The narrative is not only intriguing, but its full of mystery and suspense and the smallest touch of paranormal that somehow works despite the relatively contemporary grounding of reality present in the narrative itself. The paranormal aspect just works even though it sounds like it shouldn't, in that vain I think it's similar, but perhaps a more mature version and target of the paranormal elements found in Kaz Delaney's Dead Actually and Almost Dead books. There's also a touch of romance with Noah and a sense of true friendship with Willow, who also brings this sense of life and humour to the book. Willow is kind of awesome in that regard, as she is both an enabler and a sense of reason for Kirra, and yet she is so witty and laugh-out-loud-funny!

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?" - Willow

And lastly, the big I-can't-talk-about-moment most of all is this books ending and what an ending it is. I think Jacobson nailed the pacing to this gripping conclusion, but I so was not ready for all the feels, even if I did suspect what was going on regarding a big reveal fairly early on in the book. Even knowing didn't diminish it's effect or power.

Yellow doesn't shy away from life's hard truths. Told poetically by Jacobson, you can't escape the unfathomably raw and hard to take realities of Yellow's/Kirra's world. In the end, I think its wiser that you don't. This book will hold you captive from the very first page and force you on emotional journey that perhaps you didn't think you were ready for. It will make you more aware of the types of friendships you surround yourself with, and the type of person you want to be. That you can be.

Yellow is the type of book that leaves you staggering for more and I'm not afraid to say that following Frankie, I think Yellow is my second favourite book of the year so far. I know it's a big call, especially this early on to make. And I never make these calls, but I really don't know what can beat it now. With this one book, Megan Jacobson has firmly cemented her place on my MUST BUY list and I can't wait to see what the future holds for her.
Profile Image for Casey.
389 reviews96 followers
July 24, 2017
Yellow is a weird story, the story of a girl who's to young to be dealing with everything she has laid in front of her, bitchy friends who bully and pick at her, a mother suffering an alcohol addiction and break up, a boy on the phone who dies 20 years ago, a supposed murderer she's been tasked to bring to justice, a new friends, a new crush, basically a lot for any grown adult let alone a girl of 14.

The writing is beautiful, the story is melancholy and hopeful, Kirra is such a strong teen and makes mistakes that she deems necessary.

Willow is a badass and I want to be her bestie, someone who's not afraid to be herself, to speak up for woman and roar at the sky. The girl can take on the world and win making smartass comments as she does.

Boogie hurts my heart, he makes me ache for all the lost teens, all the teens faced with bullies and the bad luck of being born into a shit family.

Kirra's Dad Lark is a dick but he's a charismatic dick and I loved he's relationship with Kirra. Kirra's Mum is suffering, she's overcome by alcohol but like all people she has her reasons, her dark spaces, her guilt that's eating at her.

Every character is complex, messy, sad, and happy. This book is unlike anything I've read and I'm so happy I finally picked it up.
Profile Image for Tamsien West (Babbling Books).
608 reviews323 followers
April 8, 2020
Yellow is such a terrific example of how compelling Young Adult contemporary fiction can be.

Megan Jacobson paints a portrait of a teenage girl struggling with the separation of her parents, her mother's alcoholism, and the bullying of her 'friends'. Everything is compounded by poverty, & it was good to see representation of characters who don't come from middle class or higher that didn't trivialize or romanticize her situation.

There's a ghost, a murder mystery, and a bit of falling in love, but I'll let you discover the story for yourself. It's a gem.
Profile Image for Annie.
655 reviews17 followers
September 18, 2017
This was a sad but thought provoking read about our main character, Kirra who is trying to deal with her broken home - her father is no where to be found and her mother is an alcoholic - and if that wasn't enough - her school life isn't that much better with plastic so called friends who put her down but say it's for her own good... then there's a ghost.. It was interesting and insightful to see how Kirra develops to overcome these demons in her life, I believe this to be worth a read!!!
Profile Image for Clare Snow.
924 reviews99 followers
March 29, 2017
"There's nothing more real than the things that can haunt you."

This week Yellow was shortlisted for the CBCA Book of The Year Older Readers 2017. Time for my annual rant at the inadequacies with the Shortlist. Yellow haunts me, but not for the right reasons. I was loving the story, the writing, Boogie the unreliable ghost, until I got to page 173.

Yes, Megan Jacobson's writing is spectacular, but...
"I wonder how many little scraps of beauty we miss because we're too busy walking around in the dark."

title page magnificence

The book design by Marina Messiha is phenomenal, with fox_industry's surreal, geometric eye adorning the cover and internally.

Yellow by Megan Jacobson

This is from my blog http://ofceilingwax.wordpress.com/201...
Profile Image for Anika Claire.
Author 3 books43 followers
April 2, 2016
Wow. Loved this. Half star off for everything being a dramatic overreaction, but otherwise, beautiful and sad and glorious. More when I can get my brain around it.

Review posted on Tea in the Treetops in April 2016:
Fourteen-year-old Kirra is from the wrong side of the tracks, living with her alcoholic mum and putting up with being bullied by her so-called friends at school. She thinks she’s really losing it when a secluded phone box near the beach starts ringing one day, but the boy on the other end of the line knows more about her than he should. Can she help Boogie to expose his killer, while he helps her to get her life together?

Set in a northern New South Wales beach-side town, the location is brought to life with beautiful descriptions of the beach, as well as recognisable members of a school community.

Kirra seemed very familiar to me. When you’re fourteen, all you want is to belong and to feel like your problems are being heard. I went through a similar friend group change at that age, although thankfully without the humiliation that Kirra goes through. It’s an awkward time, when many kids just say whatever is in their heads without any tact filtering.

It did seem at times that Kirra was a bit too old for her years, but she does have a proper coming-of-age during this book, learning to shrug off the bullying and grow into her confidence. I’m not sure I’d advocate taking the path Kirra does to ‘fix’ her mother (that’s rather illegal!) but I was glad it was effective! I also felt that Kirra’s friends tended to overreact to situations, creating a lot of extra tension that moved the story forward, but felt a little unrealistic. The ending also wrapped up very neatly, almost to a happily-ever-after point, but I didn’t mind that so much.

The supernatural element was an interesting addition. I thought the story probably would have functioned without it, but if I’m honest, that’s what drew me to read this book in the first place.

Philippa and I heard Megan speak at the Penguin Teen Aus #YASquad event during March, and there we discovered that Megan has worked as a TV writer. Yellow does almost read like a screenplay – it’s a fast-paced read and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it brought back uncomfortable memories of high school. It’s a fantastic debut novel and I look forward to Megan Jacobson’s next project.

It also happens to have an amazing cover, wouldn’t you agree?
Profile Image for Kirsti.
2,456 reviews82 followers
February 7, 2016
This book is beyond good. At first I was skeptical, especially since the main character has yellow eyes. Ha, that sounds sooo weird! But it ended up being a kind of cool plot point, and it grew on me. Her father Lark calling her "Yellow" was super cute, especially when Lark is swinging her around. Kirra (her real name) turns into an exceptional yet flawed character that I so so loved. She seriously (and Willow eeee!) is just a joy!

This is a strange story, by the way. There is the small question of just what is real exactly, but it all comes out in the end. I loved the twists that get us there, and the lessons Kirra learned.

Highly recommend, I can't praise this one enough. Five stars.
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