Published by Penguin Teen Australia on February 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: My copy
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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.
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?