Book Review: Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang

I had seen ‘Yellowface’ being raved about – so was delighted to be given an ARC on NetGalley. Here’s the blurb:

Athena Liu is a literary darling and June Hayward is literally nobody.
White lies
When Athena dies in a freak accident, June steals her unpublished manuscript and publishes it as her own under the ambiguous name Juniper Song.
Dark humour
But as evidence threatens June’s stolen success, she will discover exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
Deadly consequences…
What happens next is entirely everyone else’s fault.”

The book is told from June Hayward’s point of view – who rebrands herself under the pen name Juniper Song to be more ethnically ambiguous – and she is clearly an unreliable narrator, and not very likeable. In fact, I’m not sure any of the characters are pleasant at all.

June’s college ‘frenemy’ and far more successful writer, Athena, dies right in front of June – who then steals Athena’s most recent work that Athena says no one has yet seen. June / Juniper passes it off as her own and it’s published to great success. However then things start to unravel for June.

It’s a seemingly intense commentary on the publishing industry, social media, racism and unconscious bias, cancel culture and lots more.

This has loads of 5 star reviews on NetGalley – so clearly people are loving it – but it just didn’t hit the mark for me, but I suspect that’s more my problem than anyone else’s! I’m sure it will hit all of the best sellers lists when it’s released later this week.