The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance

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The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Amy Etherington
Reviewed by Amy Etherington
Summary: A compelling story of an unlikely friendship surrounded by secrets and lies, The Yellow Room is a smart and well written novel that is hard put down. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: July 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471405815

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Sixteen-year-old Anna lives an ordinary, uneventful life with her workaholic mother after her father left them both years before without a single word since. However Anna's simple life is suddenly changed when she receives a letter from Edie, her father's girlfriend, telling her that he has died and she would like for them to meet. Anna isn't sure how to feel at first – she was estranged from her father but the news has still come as a shock, and so Anna agrees to meet Edie and they start up an unlikely friendship. Edie is eccentric and warm and offers Anna the companionship she lacks with her own unemotional mother, so much so that Anna manages to gather up the courage to tell Edie about the troublesome secret she has been carrying deep inside her.

Jess Vallance is an author I've only just discovered this year but I can fast see her becoming one of my favourites. She's written a compelling story about family relationships that had me engrossed from the start with its effortless writing style and clever story. I love books that appear simple on the surface; books that set up a straightforward idea which gradually turns in to something intriguing and becomes so much more than what you expected. There's a sinister atmosphere which clouds the familiarity of the story – you can sense something isn't quite right and you know that something is going to happen. I could feel it stirring within the pages and it's executed brilliantly. I was completely invested in Anna's story and her growing relationship with Edie, and the build-up of tension which echoed throughout gave the story a powerful edge.

The Yellow Room is marketed as a novel for young adults but I liked how this felt different from other YA novels. It isn't clichéd nor is it your standard coming-of-age story; instead it's a challenging and lightly thrilling exploration of a young girl dealing with complex human relationships. The story is filled with twists and turns so I don't want to say too much about the plot but there's plenty to keep you gripped: bullying, blackmail, secrets, and lies, all which make for a book that is hard to put down. In addition to being realistic and engaging, it's also quick – you're thrown in to the story straightaway and for a book of only 272 pages the plot and character arcs are very well crafted.

If you're looking for something a little different then I definitely recommend giving The Yellow Room a go. It's well written and thoughtful contemporary fiction which I flew through easily and loved every minute of it so I'll be keeping my eye out for more of Jess Vallance's work in the future. Many thanks to the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For further reading I'd recommend Birdy which is Jess Vallance's first published novel and it's just brilliant. It's darker than The Yellow Room but it's completely engrossing so I'd highly recommend checking it out.

Buy The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance at

Buy The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance at


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