While the plot largely focuses on a simple concept, a stolen book, what we are reading is more of a character-driven story where we see how June is changed by the events she unwittingly starts. Although she makes many of the (poor) choices herself, others are made for her. Regardless of who made the choice, June ultimately wears the consequences of each and every one of them.
The core of the plot is about plagiarism and cultural appropriation, which the novel explores multiple avenues of. In this way, the novel was a social commentary on a matter that is presently quite topical. As with Kuang’s previous title, Babel, Yellowface does not restrict itself to a single theme. She also explores the predatory practices of the publishing industry, the toxicity of social media, and we watch as June’s mental health slides away in front of us.
I found this a fascinating book at was always looking for an opportunity to read just one more chapter.