[Review] Yellow by Megan Jacobson

19:15 Cilla P 4 Comments

Title: Yellow
Author: Megan Jacobson
Publisher: Penguin Teen Australia
Source: Bought
Synopsis: 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.

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"Because you don't get to choose your parents, and at some point you realise that maybe your parents just aren't able to parent very well, but we exist, and the only choice we've got in the whole situation is whether we're gonna love them anyway. It's as simple and messy and complicated as that."
Yellow is one of the four books I bought at the YA Squad event in Melbourne, and it was the one I was looking forward to the most. It's not because of the cover (though it is gorgeous) or the premise (though phone calls from a ghost sounds pretty cool). It's because of what Megan Jacobson said about the main character being a quiet girl.

Being one myself, I'm constantly on the lookout for a character who prefers to not say much, but still gets to be the hero of their own story. There's actually not that many, when you think about it! So I was quite enthusiastic about Kirra, and I'm pleased to say she didn't let me down. I recognise myself in her quietness, and was pleased to see her bloom throughout the story. By bloom, I don't mean she becomes the life of the party, but rather she finds strength while still being her quiet self and she finds friends who accept her the way she is. I adore her.

While the ghost storyline is a nice mystery to follow, I feel the story is most compelling when it focuses on Kirra's parents and her relationships with them. These relationships revolve around difficult themes, and it's quite heartbreaking to read about this fourteen-year-old who has to basically be the grown-up in the house. The emotions are raw, but Megan handled it well.

The other thing that I love about Yellow is the setting. It's set in a small Australian town, and the writing brings out the details so well that it can't be mistaken for a beachy small town anywhere else in the world.

While I enjoy Kirra's journey, I felt that the ending was rather too neat. On one hand, she deserves all the happy endings; on the other, I felt - given the complicated nature of her problems - the perfect endings fell a little flat. As a whole, however, Yellow is an honest portrayal of a complicated family and the girl who's trying to figure it out. Plus, I'm all for having more stories featuring quiet characters!

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:

  • Goodreads Challenge
  • Around the World 2016


  1. I haven't beard much about this one, but I'm definitely going to have to give it a try because it sounds really good. :) Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    1. It's an Australian YA, which may be why you haven't heard much about it! I hope you will though :) Thanks Zoe! <3

  2. I like hearing about a character who is quiet and whose story isn't about making her "stronger" by becoming the life of the party, as you said. There's strength in being a quiet girl, too. Still, I can also respect your criticism of a neat ending. Regardless of what characters deserve, it can still be a little disappointing when problems aren't given the space they deserve.

    1. Absolutely - I think flourishing and finding self-confidence don't necessarily equal being loud, and it's lovely to see that reflected in fiction. And yes, I like the hopeful tone of the ending, but given the difficulties the family grappled with in this book, I kind of wish there was more indication that the resolution they achieved might not be permanent and would need to be constantly worked on.


Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)