Welcome to one of the march 1st stops on the blog tour for Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi, organized by Rockstar Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for other spotlights, reviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
by Mary H.K. Choi
Publishing 2 March 2021
Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Count: 400
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives.
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.
From Chapter 1 of YOLK
By Mary H.K. Choi
Depending on where I focus and how much pressure I apply to the back of my throat, I can just about blot him out. Him being Jeremy. Him who never shuts up. Him being my ex. He whose arm is clamped around the back of the café chair that belongs to another girl. She’s startlingly pretty, this one. Translucent and thin. Achingly so. She has shimmering lavender hair and wide-set, vacant eyes. Her name is Rae and when she offers her cold, large hand, I instinctively search her face for any hint of cosmetic surgery. Her lids, her lips, the tip of her nose. Her boots are Ann Demeulemeester, the ones with hundreds of yards of lace, and her ragged men’s jacket, Comme.
“I like your boots,” I tell her, needing her to know that I know, and immediately hating myself for it. I’m so intimidated I could choke. She smiles with such indulgent kindness I feel worse. She’s not at all threatened by me.
“I got them here,” she tells me in faultless English. I don’t ask her where there might be.
Jeremy says I’m obsessed with other women. He might be right. Then again, someone once described Jeremy’s energy to me as human cocaine, and they were definitely right.
“Mortifying.” He shudders, blotting his slick mouth with a black cloth napkin. Jeremy’s the only one eating a full-on meal here at Léon. A lunch of coq au vin. I draw in a deep breath of caramelized onion. All earthy, singed sugar.
“Can you imagine failing at New York so publicly that you have to ‘move home’?” He does twitchy little scare quotes around the last bit. He does this without acknowledging that for him, moving home would be a few stops upstate on Metro-North, to a town called Tuxedo. A fact he glosses over when he calls himself a native New Yorker.
I watch Rae, with a small scowl nestled above her nose, purposely apply a filter on her Instagram Story. It’s her empty espresso cup at an angle. I lean back in my wicker café chair and resume lurking her profile, which I can do in plain sight because I have a privacy shield.
It’s the typical, enigmatic hot-girl dross on her main feed, scones cut out onto a marble surface dusted with flour, her in a party dress in a field. A photo of her taking a photo in a mirror with a film camera.
In an image farther down, Rae is wearing a white blouse and a black cap and gown. Grinning. It’s a whole different energy. When I arrive at the caption, I close my eyes. I need a moment. I somehow sense the words before they fully register. She graduated from Oxford. It’s crushing that most of the caption is in Korean. She’s like me but so much better.
My will to live leeches out of my skin and disappears into the atmosphere. I should be in class. I once calculated it, and a Monday, Wednesday, Friday course costs forty-seven dollars, not counting rent.
Counting rent in this city, it’s exactly one zillion.
“Yeah, hi.” Jeremy flags down a passing server. A curvy woman with a tight Afro turns to us, arms laden with a full tray of food. “Yeah, can you get me a clean glass of water?” He holds his smeared glass to the light.
“I can,” she says through her teeth, crinkling her eyes and nodding in a way that suggests she’s garroting him in her mind.
“That’s not our server,” I whisper when she leaves. As a restaurant kid, albeit a pan-Asian strip-mall operation that charges a quarter for to-go boxes, I cringe with my whole body. Jeremy shrugs.
I check myself out in the strip of antique mirror behind Rae’s and Jeremy’s heads. I swear my face is wider now than it was this morning. And the waistband of my mom jeans digs into my gut flesh, stanching circulation in my lower belly and thighs. I can feel my heartbeat in my camel-toe. It’s a dull pain. A solid distraction from this experience. I wonder if they were talking about me before I arrived.
I eye the communal french fries. Saliva pools in the back of my gums. Ketchup is my kryptonite. Especially swirled with ranch dressing, which I’ve trained myself to give up. The Raes of the world would never. Or they would and it would be quirky and wholesome.
Her leg is the circumference of my arm.
I smile at the room in a way I imagine would appear breezy yet bored in a film about heartbreak. I love this place. You’d never guess that a dumpy French restaurant from the seventies would be the new hotspot, but that’s the other thing Jeremy’s good for: knowing the migratory practices of various clout monsters. That and ignoring the tourists as he sweet-talks Oni the hostess into ushering us past the busy bar and into the seats in the way, way back.
Someday I’m going to eat a meal in a New York restaurant by myself without burning with shame.
About the Author
Mary H.K. Choi is a Korean-American author, editor, television and print journalist. She is the author of young adult novel Emergency Contact (2018). She is the culture correspondent on Vice News Tonight on HBO and was previously a columnist at Wired and Allure magazines as well as a freelance writer. She attended a large public high school in a suburb of San Antonio, then college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Textile and Apparel.
2 winners will win a finished copy of YOLK, US Only.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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