Emotional tale has lots of strong language, sex, drinking.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mary H. K. Choi's Yolk is an emotional tale about Jayne and June, two estranged sisters who must mend their relationship when one of them is diagnosed with cancer. Jayne has an eating disorder and makes herself throw up after she eats a lot of food. She receives an unwanted kiss from an older man at a bar. Characters kiss, have sex, and shower together. There are also references to oral sex and how characters lost their virginity. Strong language includes frequent variations of "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "goddamn," "p---y," "bitch," "d--k," "c--t," "douche," "bastard," "idiot," "hell," "whore," and "chink slut." Frequent underage drinking. Mentions of marijuana, shrooms, cocaine, wine, vodka, bourbon, beer, Champagne, vaping, cigarettes, and Ativan.
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What's the Story?
YOLK tells the story of Jayne Baek, a struggling fashion school student who doesn't want to admit that she has an eating disorder. On the other hand, Jayne's older sister, June, seems like she has the perfect life with her successful finance job and huge Manhattan apartment. Although both Jayne and June live in New York, these estranged sisters want nothing to do with each other. But things change when June tells Jayne she has uterine cancer and that Jayne is the only one who can help her through it. Will the sisters be able to repair their broken relationship? And will Jayne realize that June isn't the only one who's sick?
Is It Any Good?
Mary H. K. Choi's emotional tale doesn't shy away from tough topics, including complicated family relationships, eating disorders, and mental health issues. It's told solely from Jayne's perspective, and some might question why Yolk doesn't include June's perspective, especially since Jayne often comes across as unlikable, with her cynical attitude and selfish behavior. However, readers will appreciate how the sisters' relationship evolves as Jayne learns to support June, who would do anything to protect her younger sister despite their differences. As Jayne and June mend their relationship and realize they'll always be connected, teens will see the importance of communication and understand that it's OK to ask for help.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the heavy theme of Yolk. Is it important for teens to read Jayne and June's story? Why or why not? How does the book deal with sex, body image, and mental health? How do these issues affect the characters?
How do you cope with serious issues? Who can you turn to? What help is out there?
How do the characters demonstrate compassion and communication? Why are these important character strengths?
- Author: Mary H. K. Choi
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: March 2, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: March 19, 2021
Our Editors Recommend
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