Book Review: Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

 My book review of Yellowface by R.F. Kuang.

Title: Yellowface

By: R.F. Kuang

Genre: Fiction

Pages: 329

Release Date: May 25th, 2023

Publisher: The Borough Press

Rating: ★★★★★


Summary from Goodreads:

Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena's a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn't even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.

So when June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena's just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.

So what if June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song--complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn't this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That's what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.

But June can't get away from Athena's shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June's (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang's novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.


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I've been waiting for this book for so long now and it was worth the wait.

There is a lot to unpack in between these covers. I mean a lot. The main character June is extraordinarily messed up by the end of the is book and she is to blame for a lot of what happens to her. Plagiarism, blackmail and transracial ketones make up an enthralling and thrilling story that can only be explained as absolutely jaw dropping.

June drove me nuts throughout the whole book. She knew what she was going was wrong, but didn't think anyone would find out. You and I both know, someone always finds out. The worst part about the whole situation is, she does it again. Like she didn't learn when the shit hit the fan the first time around. This is only part of the issues June has made for herself.

There was a scene toward the end of the book when June confronts the person smearing her name all over the internet. It was almost as if both characters had lost their minds simultaneously. I found myself jumping back and forth, feeling empathy and anger and then empathy again, right before the awkwardness of it all really hit. I've never lived those kinds of emotions all at once with a book. It was incredible and very well written.

Favorite Quote:
“Writing is the closest thing we have to real magic”

This book was a crazy ride of emotions with a powerful voice. It was so wrong, but so right at the same time. R.F. Kuang has an amazing writers voice with a twisted mind and I can't wait to see what they come out with next. I'm there for it.

Gave this read a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars.

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