According to GoodReads, I’ve read over 80 books this year, and we still have two months of the year left to go! *proud face* What a shame that I can’t say that I have written over 80 blog posts this year though… *guilty face*. Moving on, let’s talk about a book I read recently; The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance.
The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance
Publication Date: 28th July 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Sixteen-year-old Anna receives a letter from her father’s girlfriend telling her he has died and asking to meet. Anna is drawn to Edie: her warmth, her character, her ability to rustle up delicious meals, all of which her own mother is seemingly incapable of… and the way she can tell Edie the secret that is buried inside her.
A tautly told, compelling tale about mothers and daughters and the lengths that some will go to, to make their dreams come true.
I may read a lot of YA, but there are still a few authors I have yet to check out. Jess Vallance is one of them. A fairly new author to the UKYA scene, The Yellow Room is her second novel. From the synopsis, The Yellow Room sounded like a thriller, a genre of which I definitely need to read more of. I am aware that I have an addiction to love stories… I can stop any time I want to… *shifty eyes*
The Yellow Room follows Anna, a teenage girl who doesn’t have the best relationship with her mum. With her mum being wrapped up in her work, their current relationship is at rock bottom. Days go past without them speaking to each other. One day, she receives a letter from her father’s partner informing her that her father has passed away. In order to help her with her own grief, her father’s partner requests if Anna can meet her, to which Anna accepts. Edie, her father’s partner, is a complete contrast to her mother. She is warm, approachable, and gives Anna what she has been craving in a mother figure. But is Edie really all that she claims to be?
From the first few chapters of The Yellow Room, I got the sense that something was amiss. I felt as if what I was reading wasn’t exactly as it seemed. There was definitely an element of suspense and mystery. Coupled with the short chapters, The Yellow Room kept me on tenterhooks.
I found that the language and style of The Yellow Room was perfectly suited for the plot; teenage, chatty and easy to get into. The short chapters definitely helped to keep the story moving along at a good pace. The Yellow Room is definitely more of a plot-driven story then a character-driven story, and I would imagine having long chapters with this style of narration would have slowed the story down unnecessarily, when the fast pace suited the plot more.
Even though I guessed the ending of The Yellow Room at about half way through, I still enjoyed the book. I thought the plot was unique, if perhaps executed in a way that was a touch too simple. There was definitely potential to have more twists involved in the story, but I am aware that may have been too much for the intended age range and audience. I have to say that I found the sub-plot of Anna being blackmailed by Leon (the most creepy, entitled character I’ve read in a while) to be rather odd. I was expecting something a little more sinister for Anna’s “secret”, but I suppose when you’ve read Gone Girl, you expect the worst in everything!
In terms of the characters, I felt that as the narrator of the story, Anna was the strongest and had the most depth. Her mum seemed almost too cold towards Anna to feel genuine. I hated her best friends George and Sienna with a passion. They were completely self-absorbed, very annoying, and their lack of care towards Anna meant that their friendship did not seem genuine. Why would Anna be best friends with people like that? With regards to Leon, the less that is said about him, the better. UGH. What a loathsome creature. However, on a positive note, I thought that Edie was perfectly written too, and I felt myself warming to her a lot as a character. I wonder what that says about me? *muses*
I rated The Yellow Room 3/5 stars on GoodReads as I found it to be a fast paced, easy to read thriller. Even though I was perhaps a little too old for it at 23, I still enjoyed it and read it in about two hours. Like my bae Chelsea said, it would be ideal for someone branching into YA for the first time. I would recommend it for young teens at 13 years old and above, as it is an enjoyable thriller without the gore that comes associated with the adult genre.