Jeann (Happy Indulgence) 's Reviews > Yellow

Yellow by Megan Jacobson
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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.
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Reading Progress

November 30, 2015 – Shelved
November 30, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
March 18, 2016 – Started Reading
March 18, 2016 – Shelved as: love-oz-ya
March 18, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 18, 2016 – Shelved as: ya-contemporary
March 20, 2016 –
page 127
49.03% "This book really sucked me in, it's so compelling!"
March 21, 2016 – Finished Reading
March 30, 2016 – Shelved as: review-copy
March 30, 2016 – Shelved as: penguin-australia

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