Spring 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“What a sharp, terrific book. I love how Choi develops the characters with perfect details. The whole world of Yolk is beautifully built, from the vision of New York City through the eyes of both sisters to the return home to Texas, and every space in between. This family, these sisters — I’m rooting for them.”
— Rachel Barry, WORD Bookstores, Brooklyn, NY
If you're a 20-something in need of a character to relate to then look no further than Yolk. Jayne is a college student with quite a few problems; whether that's relationships or with school. It all takes a turn when she finds out her sister, June, may have cancer. Just another thing to add to her plate. I loved going through her journey with her sister as she learns to navigate the neverending overwhelming feeling that life can bring on to young adults as well as the relationships she has with both her family and with food. Mary H.K. Choi can create an environment where her characters feel like real people with their own problems and ideas and thoughts, no matter how scattered they may be.— Makayla R.
This book is the most realistic young/new adult book I’ve read in a while. Jayne Baek, a broke college student who has so much on her mind she can’t keep her life straight. Her sister June however is the opposite, a perfect daughter with her life in order… until she gets cancer and Jayne is the only one who knows. And maybe it’ll force Jayne to wonder if maybe she needs help too. -- Makayla R., Colfax Café Manager— From Staff Picks
New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they’ll go to save one of their lives—even if it means swapping identities.
Jayne and June Baek are nothing alike. June’s three years older, a classic first-born, know-it-all narc with a problematic finance job and an equally soulless apartment (according to Jayne). Jayne is an emotionally stunted, self-obsessed basket case who lives in squalor, has egregious taste in men, and needs to get to class and stop wasting Mom and Dad’s money (if you ask June). Once thick as thieves, these sisters who moved from Seoul to San Antonio to New York together now don’t want anything to do with each other.
That is, until June gets cancer. And Jayne becomes the only one who can help her.
Flung together by circumstance, housing woes, and family secrets, will the sisters learn more about each other than they’re willing to confront? And what if while helping June, Jayne has to confront the fact that maybe she’s sick, too?
“[Choi] has a knack for capturing the frenetic, vibrating voices and perspectives of young people as they enter and navigate the world.” —Conde Nast Traveler
* “Insightful and intricately constructed…an appreciably personal-feeling narrative about cultural identity, mental and physical health, and siblinghood's complications.” —Publishers Weekly, starred
“What lingers longest is the resonating, multifaceted story of Jayne and June Baek…[Choi’s] openness—personally, culturally, geographically—gives her narrative a seamless, insider fluency; her writing is consistently assured, her dialogue nimbly tuned, even her pain potently channeled through Jayne's struggles.” —Shelf Awareness Pro
“This poignant story underscores self-sacrifices that prove to be life-sustaining in the name of sisterly love. Intense, raw, textured.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Choi pushes the boundaries of young adult fiction.” —Booklist