Stories about sisters will get me every time. Yolk is an emotional portrayal about sisterhood, making mistakes, and those gaps in between what we think we know and who a person is. It’s a story that I ended up reading in a few days because I loved the sister relationship so much. Choi’s latest is character driven, like all of her other books, and focuses on their complexities and memories. Keep reading this book review to find out my full thoughts on this sisterhood story.
Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.
On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.
Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: Disordered eating, dysmorphia, bullimia, panic attack, anxiety
A book about estranged sisters will always be my sweet spot. Choi’s books always scream character detail, development, and complexity. Yolk is no exception. Set in NYC, Yolk is about the chasms of silence that stretch from sunrise to sunset painting the sky in shades of washed out blue. The gulf of distance between our life, the dreams we inhabited, and reality. Full of memories of moments in the past, we can be sure we see it all in clarity. That we have a handle of what we saw, who we are, and the lives of those around us. Only through time and reflection, sharing and vulnerability, do we really see how little we know.
I loved seeing the memories of their lives, of the fragments of their sharpened edges, the pieces of themselves reflected in each other’s eyes. If you have a sister, sibling, or have ever wanted one, Yolk is a layered examination of this bond. The buttons we know how to press our skill in mood reading. Especially as we bridge into adulthood and our family, our sisters, become fully fledged people. Instead of the villains, or heroes, we have painted them out to be.
Spaces rife with memories, we wonder if there’s too much distance to bridge. Pasts full of comparisons, being pitted against each other, and constantly living in shadows. All the ways we are lumped together, losing senses of edges and distinctions. The tenuous relationship between them with fault lines and weak spots. It’s a reflection on the incidents we have misread. The situations we didn’t know meant so much in a time when we thought they meant so little.
Yolk is about what happens to the promises we make and the ideas we have. Choi details her characters in relatable, messy, complex ways. How we can use people without even knowing it. Sliding into it, denying it, falling into it, while feeling that pit of our stomach wrongness. If you’ve loved Choi’s other books, I have a sneaking suspicion you will be drawn to Yolk. And if you’re like me and obsessed with sisterhood, this book will speak to you.