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Something Yellow Paperback – September 16, 2013
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Holly's sister Rachel disappeared 13 years ago. Houston was the last person to have seen her. He was dropping her off at dance class, but she wandered over to the park to look at the flowers. He didn't wait to make sure she made it inside. Holly has always held Houston responsible for her disappearance and is certain he took her. Now Holly must come back to town and care for her dying mother, and Houston is in town as well. Another girl goes missing.
Holly was...she is 31. She acts most of the time like she is 12. I kept having to remind myself that she is supposed to be 31. Houston tries to talk to her, people in town try to talk to her about Houston, people keep trying to explain to her why he is there and such and every time she is just acting like she will hold her ears closed with her fingers singing "la la la la la la" so she cannot hear anything. It was a bit ridiculous, and while I understand that she needed to hate someone and blame someone for Rachel's disappearance I still, even after reading her reasons, don't understand why that person was her then boyfriend of 2 years Houston. It wasn't because he didn't make sure Rachel made it inside. She had already written him off as a horrible person days before this for no real good reasons. I don't think they would have made it as a couple even if she didn't jump to horrible conclusions before asking him about the things she saw. If they can't be open with each other how will they work? I mean she never mentioned his home life and he never shared it either. So she seemed to always jump to horrible conclusions about everyone.
Besides hating Houston she also hates where she grew up. She never comes to visit and doesn't even seem to keep in contact with her family much. I understand that. I understand hating your small town where you grew up and escaping as soon as you can. I understand turning your back on everything that reminds you of there. I get it, I did the same thing when I went off to college. I didn't shun my family thought. We had tragedy just before I left as well, but people react differently. Holly was so stubborn in her weird horrible views of things. I really didn't like Holly. She is 31 and she has not grown up at all. She clings to the past so tightly she cannot move on. She needs to learn to let go and get some closure so she can be happy. Just because Rachel disappeared doesn't mean Holly's life should be over. When she is confronted with some new information about her sister's disappearance she just stubbornly refuses to believe it. The person must have seen it wrong or was confused. She is so stubborn in clinging to her hatred of Houston and everything it got to be a bit much. When people started to finally go off on her like look you need to move on! What is wrong with you? You can never see what is right in front of you, you just see what you want to see I just thought yes! Thank you! Please listen to these people who obviously care about you and work on moving on.
The ending, what happened and who was involved, I figured that is what had happened. Even though I really didn't like Holly I still did enjoy this book. Even though I kept thinking she is 31? Really?? She doesn't seem like it! I still liked reading it. It was really well written. I would definitely read more from this author, though I probably won't re-read this book. Still a worthwhile read just for how well it was written.
This review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland
This book has its flaws, and the relentless way it dumps tragedy after tragedy on its main character wears one down after awhile. But it's well-written and with fully developed characters instead of cardboard cutouts, and that makes it worth the read.
Holly McCann, an out-of-work banker living in Atlanta, has moved back to her hometown of White Cove, Virginia, high in the Appalachian Mountains, to take care of her dying mother. Her family has never quite recovered from the sudden disappearance of her little sister Rachel thirteen years ago -- her father fell into depression and eventually passed away, her musician brother Oliver withdrew from the family and became moody and sullen, and Holly herself avoided going home at all costs to keep terrible memories at bay. Back home, however, she has to not only confront the tragedy of her past and the inevitable death of her mother, but the nosy townsfolk, the disappearance of another young girl, her sudden attraction to the new pastor... and the return of her old high school flame, Houston, who she has always believed is responsible for Rachel's disappearance. As she finds her place in White Cove, Holly tries to piece together clues as to what happened to her sister, but finds that her healing lies elsewhere, and that there are secrets she has only begun to uncover...
This is author Laura Templeton's first novel, but you wouldn't know it from the text -- her writing is quite polished, her characters are well-rounded and believable, and her descriptive passages are vivid without being overly flowery. She doesn't paint White Cove as a completely picturesque small town, but as an actual place, with its own beauty and, conversely, its own ugliness. And the characters that populate White Cove never feel like cardboard cutouts or small-town stereotypes, but like real people with their own flaws and personalities.
If I have a problem with this book, its that it's relentless about grinding its main character into the dirt. The amount of tragedy piled onto the McCann family just keeps building until it's almost ridiculous, and after awhile you have to wonder if the family has been cursed somehow. I know there's a time and a place for tragedy, but I kept hoping for some ray of hope to make things better for Holly and her family. Sadly, these rays of hope are few and far between.
Also there are a number of gaps in logic in the book, though going too far into detail regarding these gaps would spoil the ending of the book. I will say that there's a character who's rumored to be some kind of witch or fortune teller, and her "prophecies" almost always end up coming true. Seeing as this is the only fantasy or supernatural element in the book (aside from a book about ghosts another character is writing, but that's more a compilation of local legends than an actual ghost story), it felt a bit out of place, and some sort of explanation for this character's "powers" would have been nice.
While it was an ultimately gloomy read and I'm not sure I'll read it again, I did find "Something Yellow" to be a well-written story, and I can see Templeton going on to be a successful writer. If you don't mind your fiction a bit on the tragic side, you'll probably enjoy this book. Meanwhile I'm on to read something a little lighter in feel...