Saturday, September 29

Book Review: Y

Title: Y

Author: Marjorie Celona

Pages: EBook - 249

Summary: Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wine glass. The question we ask over and over. Why?

My life begins at the Y.

So begins the story of Shannon, a newborn baby dumped at the doors of the YMCA, swaddled in a dirty grey sweatshirt with nothing but a Swiss Army knife. She is found moments later by a man who catches a mere glimpse of her troubled mother as she disappears from view. All three lives are forever changed by the single decision. Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures neglect and abuse but then finds stability and love in the home of Miranda, a kind single mother who refuses to let anything ever go to waste. But as Shannon grows, so do the questions inside her. Where is she from? Who is her true family? Why would they abandon her on the day she was born?

The answers lie in the heartbreaking tale of Yula, Shannon's mother, a girl herself and one with a desperate fate. Yula spends her days caring for her bitter widowed father and her spirited toddler Eugene until the day she meets Harrison, a man who will protect her but also a man with a dark past and stories yet to be revealed. Soon they are expecting a daughter but as Yula goes into labour, she and Harrison are caught in a tragic series of events that will destroy their family and test their limits of compassion and sacrifice.

Eventually the two stories converge to shape an unforgettable story of family, identity and inheritance. Written with rare beauty, wisdom, and intimacy, Y is a novel that asks “why?” even as it reveals that the answer isn’t always clear and that it may not always matter.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The story has a powerful beginning, and interchanges from Shannon growing up, to a haunting and emotional story of Yula, her birth mother and how Shannon ended up where she was. I found this book to be a beautiful and haunting read.

I loved how there were two different stories and it interchanged from chapter to chapter. It worked out wonderfully for this novel. I found that I was completely immersed in Yula's story and how she got to the point in the beginning of the book. The author did a wonderful time building up to the big reveal, it was a chilling and sad story, but told so well. I think how the author chose to tell Yula's story was one of the main reasons why I enjoyed I enjoyed the book as much as I did, was the build up to the end. Shannon also had a strong story line. Although I found more issues with what I didn't like with her storyline, more than Yula's, I think she was still a well developed and incredible character. My main issue with Shannon was the fact she was seemed to be the typical adopted, trouble child, who hase been through the system. While the author did an great job at developing and building Shannon, to which the reader will likely have trouble not having some sort of emotional connection to her, I did feel some of her personality traits and issues were predictable.

The ending was also lovely and very fitting for the book and its characters. I don't think the story would have had the same affect on me or other readers if it had ended any differently.

Overall, a lovely read, and one well worth checking out.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a great story, well written characters and one I think readers would enjoy quite a bit.

What to read next: The other 2012 Giller Longlisters

Challenges: 12 in 12, 100+ Challenge, Canadian Book Challenge VI


  1. This will probably be the last one that I read (it's the only one that I don't have a copy of) but I'm really looking forward to it; I only scanned your thoughts and am interested to see that you seemed to have particularly enjoyed it too - nice!

    1. This is a book that I bought after reading the expert on my E-Reader and had to inhale it right away. I think you'll really enjoy the book. There are two books from the list that will be read last for me most likely, as they are still on order at the library. Sigh. I look forward to reading your review on this one.