Holly Bourne is one of those authors that I know of, but I’ve never read anything from before. Nor had I ever planned to. Her books didn’t look like my sort of thing. Until The Yearbook. The premise of a girl getting back at her bullies using the lies they wanted her to put in the yearbook? Genius. I’ll be honest, this book was nowhere near what I was expecting. But it was still an easy and enjoyable read. Just…a much more emotional one.
Paige is a quiet girl in school. The way anyone would ever know her is through the school paper. She planned to keep out of it all until Grace and her friends bring the yearbook to the newspaper. Now as well as spreading lies in the paper? Paige has to bring up all these false or cruel memories in the yearbook too, and she hates it. The only person who could understand her is Elijah, and it’s him she turns to as she figures out what to do.
This sounds pretty epic. But when I started reading, Paige at first annoyed me. She saw others being bullied, but she didn’t say or do anything. I was bullied. And I went out of my way to try to make sure other people didn’t feel as alone as I did. Unless they were actual dicks, but those were few and far between. Only Paige has a reason for this, one I didn’t guess from the summary. It said her family wasn’t perfect, but what isn’t obvious is that it’s abusive. Her home situation is bad, and Paige suddenly makes a lot more sense. Being quiet and staying out of things is how she survives at home. Of course, she’d do so at school too.
I truly felt for Paige, and I’m glad she has her Aunt. Her brother frustrated me. I get that he had uni and had to look out for himself, but I wish he’d been checking on Paige more. Trying to look after her too in some ways. I didn’t expect him to come home or take her with him. Either of those would have been ridiculous. But he could have been emotionally and virtually there for her more.
The family issues and Paige being terrified of standing up to people is most of the novel. It isn’t until the end that the yearbook plot stuff actually comes into play. I’m not going into detail, but that was a lot of fun. I just wish there had been more of it. I’d expected a novel focused around it. Instead, it just felt like bonus content at the end of all the drama. I’m glad Paige did it though, she kicked ass,
There is some romance in this book with Paige and Elijah, and I enjoyed it. They had a lot of cute banter, and even the stuff with the rumours was so funny. I was giggling. He was there for her when she needed him, even if he was a little pretentious and he was a good guy. The fact he scribbles in library books in a pen all the time pains me though? Please only annotate your own copies, dude. That would have been a pain back in school.
The final thing to note is that there’s some fun formatting in this book. The back of bathroom doors, notebook notes and yearbook pages etc. There’s a lot of little illustrated additions to pages, and I really liked that. It gave the book a bit more of a visual feel, and it’s fun to flick through. They might not be proper pictures, but it just feels more fun.
I might not have read what I expected to read, but I did still thoroughly enjoy it.