Review: The Yearbook by Holly Bourne 

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Paige Vickers is most likely to be forgotten. She’s in year 11 and nobody really knows who she is and she’s okay with that. At least if nobody knows who you are, then mean girls Grace Langdon and Amelia Murray can’t make your life miserable.

Paige’s home life isn’t great either. Her older brother Adam moved away to start university, leaving Paige alone with her emotionally abusive father and complicit mother. It’s best for Paige to stay out of everyone’s way because they all treat her like she doesn’t exist.

But when Paige starts to find writing in the margins of the books she checks out at the school library, she realizes that maybe one other person gets it. His observations of the world around him hit close to home. When Paige concocts a plan to find out who this mystery person is, they begin to communicate through the pages of their favorite books.

Elijah Jones is unlike any other person she’s ever met. He’s confident, self-aware and doesn’t buy into the things that everyone in Paige’s year does. The two have an immediate connection in real life and he encourages Paige to tell the truth. See, as a newspaper reporter, Paige got dragged into Grace and Amelia’s plan for the ultimate yearbook and Paige is supposed to make that happen. But what if she’s ready to tell a different story?

The Yearbook is an emotional YA contemporary about mental health, abuse and learning to love yourself. Based on the description, we were expecting a Mean Girls style romcom. But what we got was so much better than we could have imagined.

Paige Vickers is an amazing protagonist. She’s realistic and paints a picture of what it’s like to exist when everyone tells you how insignificant you are. We loved watching Paige gain self-confidence and learn to speak her truth. Even though there are a lot of consequences, she’s able to finally start rewriting her story.

Elijah Jones is adorable and swoonworthy, even before we got to meet him. He stood out to us right away because we’re not sure we’ve ever seen such a mature and deep male love interest in YA before. We love everything he wrote in the margins of his books and how he always encouraged, but never pressured Paige. Plus, one of our favorite parts of the book was when he took Paige to London and they finally opened up to each other about their respective pain.

Another star of the book was Paige’s Aunt Polly, who was the only adult to actually take care of Paige. Thankfully at least one person could handle some adult responsibilities, unlike Paige’s parents. Paige’s parents were the absolute worst and we wanted to go into the book and save Paige from the massive heartache they caused her.

While we recommend this book for everyone, we will warn you that the themes of bullying might be triggering to those who’ve faced it in the past. It’s not always easy to read how bad Grace and Amelia are at school and how twisted Paige’s dad can be.

Overall, we loved this book and we wished we picked it up sooner. It’s perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Every Day.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The 10 Best Quotes from The Yearbook

We loved this book so much that we wanted to share our favorite quotes in the book with you!

1.  “People always believe they’re nice in their own heads. That’s what makes it so scary when you look at the state of the world.” 

2. “If you’re not scared, it’s not courage.” 

3. “About regret, and how…pointless an emotion it is. How regret can’t bring anything back. Can’t transport you in time to redo things. Like, we only get life. One. One opportunity at every moment we are given, and every moment we are given is totally irreplaceable…these precious gifts. And if you waste them, then…well, regret, what do you do with it?”

4. “We delved deep into the dark waters of the human experience — sharing books and thoughts and philosophies — but I’d never never told him about what it was like to be.”

5. “I might be a loser. I might never be perfectly carved from wax. But this…now…It was the realest moment I’d ever live in.” 

6. “You’re trapped in this endless cycle of wanting more from them, and then hating them for not giving you more, and feeling guilty and defensive of them, because you love them and don’t want to feel badly about them, so you want them to change, you want more of them…but the the circle starts again…”

7. “I exist.”

8. “That the end of childhood is when you realize adults don’t really know what they’re doing.”

9. “Sometimes it only takes one person to tell you a different story. A person you love and respect. And with hope, and love, and encouragement, you can start to believe a different tale about yourself.”

10. “Well, the weird thing about people,” Polly said, “is, so often, they’d rather feel important than feel happy.”

Published by I'm All Booked Up YA

We write recommendations and reviews for YA books.

19 thoughts on “Review: The Yearbook by Holly Bourne 

  1. As someone who read and enjoyed Perks of Being a Wallflower, this looks like another great book to add to my tbr list. Emotional abuse is not a topic explored very often and it’s nice to see books like this are finally bringing this topic to light.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t heard of The Yearbook before, but it sounds interesting. I do like that it does include topics that aren’t talked about much in books. It’s also great to know both Paige & Elijah are good characters

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like how the main plot of this story is to learn to love yourself. It true that sometimes it is hard at a younger age to accept your self and talk about mental health issues. I know I didn’t at that age and I wish I was more confident in who was at least I am not. I would totally like to read this book. I also like the quote “I exist.”

    Liked by 1 person

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