cover image Yolk


Mary H.K. Choi. Simon & Schuster, 18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4600-7

In this reflective, deliberately paced novel told from a younger sibling's point of view, Choi (Permanent Record) examines the relationship between two Korean American sisters. Ambitious older sister June and impulsive Jayne had a love-hate relationship throughout their Texas childhood, and though they both now live in New York City, they've become fully estranged. June is a corporate success, working in hedge funds, while Jayne attends fashion design school and struggles to make it to class. The silence between the two ends, however, when June reveals that she has cancer. For the first time, Jayne, always protected by her older sibling, plays the supportive role, cooking and cleaning June's posh Manhattan apartment. Insightful and intricately constructed, Choi's novel provides a tender look at the sisters' layered bond while addressing aspects of Jayne's experience, including sibling resentment, anxious efforts to navigate relationships, and a long-term eating disorder. If the story takes its time unfolding amid running social commentary, the result is an appreciably personal-feeling narrative about cultural identity, mental and physical health, and siblinghood's complications. Ages 14–up. Agent: Edward Orloff, McCormick Literary. (Mar.)