Yellow Blues

Original publish date: 2 August 2014

A quiet Appalachian town plagued with unpleasant memories of her sister’s disappearance and a sense of being trapped for Holly McCann  was reason enough to leave 13 years ago. But because of her mother’s decline from cancer, she comes home to care for her and learns more about the town, the disappearances, and herself.

Laura Templeton’s Something Yellow finds Holly’s homecoming tainted with the disappearance of Cailey, the 9 year old daughter of her high school friend, which mirrors the disappearance of her younger sister Rachel. If dealing with her ailing mother wasn’t bad enough, she’s greeted with the unfortunate situation that drags up unpleasant memories of years past. And, to top it all off, Houston Phelps, her high school boyfriend, has just come back to town, too, which pisses Holly off since she blames him for Rachel’s disappearance. And her brother, Oliver, flits in and out of the picture to help his mother and is always in an indecipherable mood, which helps and distracts from the entire situation.

Secrets and keeping to yourself seems to come naturally to Holly, Oliver, and Houston, which only leads to communication issues. And what can I say about the horrific plot device of miscommunication? It’s plenty abundant in the story and while I have begrudgingly accepted it as a necessary evil in writing convention, it doesn’t meant that I have to be happy with it. I find it so incredibly difficult to believe that the miscommunication would be THAT bad that 13 years go by and no party attempts to resolve the issue. Does Houston seek out Holly to explain? No. Does Holly seek out Houston for any reason? Of course not. Do either Holly or Oliver attempt to contact one another to at least stay in touch? Doesn’t really seem like it. So with all the opportunities for communication to possibly take place, it seems rather unlikely that no attempt would take place or at least be mentioned over the 13 years–especially with the emotional connection between the characters.

I thought that the story itself was rather good and overall the writing was quite polished. I did, however, have a large issue with the incessant repetition of the word yellow. There are synonyms for yellow that would make more sense for certain situations. For example, a porch light would likely be more amber in color than yellow. And words like buttery to describe a flower’s color could have been utilized for variety instead of constantly saying yellow. The repetition of that one word felt incredibly heavy-handed in description and foreshadowing–I was frustrated to the point of uttering “I get it, already!” It intersperses past in relevant areas of the present narrative that help to flesh out the motivations and defining situations and characteristics that drive the characters forward in the current moment.

Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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