The Yearbook by Holly Bourne

On Tuesdays we review pink

The Yearbook by Holly Bourne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I have such time for what Holly Bourne does. I like how smart and fearless and honest her writing is. I really like how she’s unafraid of giving people complex endings. Life isn’t neat. Things don’t cleanly web together. We knot, we fray, we find ourselves in the bumps in between. And so to The Yearbook, a stand alone young adult novel with some fierce dark truth at its core, and a girl who’s just trying to find her place in the world.

Paige Vickers exists. Barely. Life at home is complex, her family a web of darkness and lies, and the only thing that keeps her from sinking into a sea of loneliness is the school library and her Aunt Polly. (Polly is EVERYTHING. I cannot emphasise this enough. She is one of the best characters and I adored her entirely). Paige’s parents are locked in a complex and often violently abusive relationship. Her golden child brother is at university and even when he’s at home, he’s plotting how quickly he can leave. Things are not well. And all Paige can do is write down her hurt and pain in the books she reads.

And then one day somebody responds.

I always know a book is going for well when I have to literally stop everything to read the last few pages. And although it’s not necessarily the conclusion I would have chosen, it is a conclusion that stays true to the rules of the world. Things aren’t easy. Not everything gets tied up in a neat bow. I feel like Bourne gets that and that’s why I love her work so much. She’s just truthful and kind and honest and lovely, and I thought The Yearbook was excellent.

I also really appreciated support resources being listed in the back of it. There are some dark scenes here particularly about the relationship that Paige’s father has with his family. These escalate towards the end of the book and provide some challenging reading throughout. Usborne make a good call here in signposting the additional support for readers right from the first pages of the book, and it’s something that I’d welcome more publishers doing.



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