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Finding Yvonne

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Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school. Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school. Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.


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Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school. Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school. Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.

30 review for Finding Yvonne

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    This is such a complicated book, because I kind of like it in hindsight but I also think it's one of the most non-books I've ever read.... but I also love it so much in hindsight?? Can I just reiterate that slice-of-life stories are aggressively not my thing? And that I hate cheating as a plot device so fucking much oh my god can it just die already? Finding Yvonne is a slice-of-life story about a girl who becomes pregnant, and while some elements - like the unapologetic feminism - stood out to This is such a complicated book, because I kind of like it in hindsight but I also think it's one of the most non-books I've ever read.... but I also love it so much in hindsight?? Can I just reiterate that slice-of-life stories are aggressively not my thing? And that I hate cheating as a plot device so fucking much oh my god can it just die already? Finding Yvonne is a slice-of-life story about a girl who becomes pregnant, and while some elements - like the unapologetic feminism - stood out to me, other elements - like the aggressive cheating being completely excused - left me less optimistic. Inherent to Finding Yvonne is a sense of forgiveness for bad deeds, and a great sense of objectivity on the part of the narrator. Colbert clearly does not want to condemn Yvonne for her actions or slut-shame her at all, and this is both the greatest strength and greatest weakness of the book. On one hand, I think the lack of slut-shaming is lovely, and I definitely loved the nuance with which this narrative was crafted. On the other hand, the book does not acknowledge emotional cheating as a wrong. Like, the narrator literally says it: "I did nothing wrong." Yvonne, I appreciate that you don't want to pay forever, and I appreciate that you've taken down slutshaming but um, yes, you did do something wrong. ➽It's no one's business that Yvonne had sex with two people in a week, but pursuing a serious relationship with two people at once is bad, period, and I wish the book could've acknowledged that nuance. And honestly, ignoring the cheating, I just didn't think the book was all that good? The writing is excellent, and the feminist take is stellar, but due to the slice-of-life nature, the character progression is lackluster at best - and that's what makes a novel for me. Though I think Colbert writes excellent voice, leading me to begin the book really loving Yvonne's character, frankly, she doesn't have a particularly interesting character arc. And since the side characters left me cold, as I think is usual for Colbert books, I just found myself feeling one step removed. I will give Brandy Colbert a definite check in the activism and being an awesome person box. Themes like the heavily anti-slut-shaming message - though it's marred by the book barely passing the Bechdel test - and the important discussion around race and erasure of mixed-race Warner's blackness all definitely left an impression on me. But with so little attachment to the characters, this just could not progress past a 2.5 for me. So let's run this down. We have: ♔ A fairly interesting narrator ♔ Slice-of-life nature and readability ♔ Feminism, primarily black characters, and important conversations AND YET all good things are ruined and we also have: ♚ A lackluster love triangle involving cheating ♚ Excusal of said cheating ♚ Barely any solid character progression ♚ just... nothing especially interesting. Just... god. I wish there was more happening here and less weirdness around cheating, because I feel like this could have been really awesome. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dahlia

    God, Brandy Colbert is just so good at capturing these seemingly little things that have totally fallen through the cracks in the ways we talk about teens and putting them front and center in can't-miss books. I only barely read blurbs when the author is already an insta-buy for me, so I thought this was about a violin prodigy whose life gets thrown off kilter when she gets pregnant, but in truth, it's the spaces in between that - it's what happens when you aren't a prodigy and you've just lost God, Brandy Colbert is just so good at capturing these seemingly little things that have totally fallen through the cracks in the ways we talk about teens and putting them front and center in can't-miss books. I only barely read blurbs when the author is already an insta-buy for me, so I thought this was about a violin prodigy whose life gets thrown off kilter when she gets pregnant, but in truth, it's the spaces in between that - it's what happens when you aren't a prodigy and you've just lost your love and maybe the future isn't going to look how you thought, so now what? And it's finding other ways to use what's already in your life and build off that, but also maybe learn what else and who else you can be. And that applies to skills, to love, to existing relationships, to questions from the past...it's all just wrapped up in this Very Real Girl, and all along the while is the question of "How complex would these questions be for me if I weren't a Black girl?" and all the different ways working twice as hard for half as much presents itself. So, yeah, I guess you can say I liked it ;) Also, for anyone who specifically avoids pregnancy storylines, it's actually a much briefer portion of the book when I was expecting; please don't skip this one for it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    😭 ALL THE FEELS ❤ . I was up and down and up and down during parts of this contemporary YA novel, but oh my goodness, the last quarter of the book just blew me away. Colbert pulls no punches in her portrayal of a lonely teen who is (rightfully) not at all apologetic about her sexual experiences…….but Yvonne is still a teen and she doesn’t have any idea where she wants to go in life and how she wants to use her many talents (music and baking). Yvonne’s relationship with her father is such a welcome 😭 ALL THE FEELS ❤️ . I was up and down and up and down during parts of this contemporary YA novel, but oh my goodness, the last quarter of the book just blew me away. Colbert pulls no punches in her portrayal of a lonely teen who is (rightfully) not at all apologetic about her sexual experiences…….but Yvonne is still a teen and she doesn’t have any idea where she wants to go in life and how she wants to use her many talents (music and baking). Yvonne’s relationship with her father is such a welcome change from most YA novels, and honestly, this aspect of the book is just one of many things that is refreshingly different that the typical “senior year of high school finding myself” trope. There were many things that surprised me about the story, which is why I’m being purposefully vague in my description - I want YOU to be surprised too! . Finding Yvonne is a rich story with mature, controversial topics that will surely stick with readers for a long, long time. It brought tears to my eyes and it’s a book so many high schoolers (and adults!) should read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    A messy yet wonderful book that unexpectedly but profoundly explores the uncertainty of the future, family, and the choices we make. - Centers on Yvonne, a Black teen who, although has dedicated 11 years of her life to the violin, now feels like she has lost her passion. This book follows the grief she feels, the decisions she makes, and the unexpected intersection of her life. - Yvonne was such a brilliantly written character. She makes mistakes, she is unapologetic about her choices, and though A messy yet wonderful book that unexpectedly but profoundly explores the uncertainty of the future, family, and the choices we make. - Centers on Yvonne, a Black teen who, although has dedicated 11 years of her life to the violin, now feels like she has lost her passion. This book follows the grief she feels, the decisions she makes, and the unexpected intersection of her life. - Yvonne was such a brilliantly written character. She makes mistakes, she is unapologetic about her choices, and though some of her choices may be some readers may not agree with, you'll love the fresh and real narrative. - Loved the family relationships, particularly daughter-father (this made me cry), and the loss and grief Yvonne still feels after her mother left when she was six. - This book has a 'love triangle', but I actually liked it - though it was unpleasant to read due to the events that unfolded, the love triangle depicted felt realistic and was meaningful to Yvonne's character development - specifically, how sometimes we do make mistakes, how we can be victims of manipulation because we believe in the best in others, and how our actions affect other people. - This book has sex positivity, portrays safe sex (though (view spoiler)[I was a wee iffy on the how Yvonne got pregnant. (hide spoiler)] ), and has a good discussion about continuing pregnancy versus abortion. All in all, I recommend this book, especially for those who enjoyed Little & Lion. Trigger/content warnings: (view spoiler)[sex, unexpected pregnancy (hide spoiler)]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    Really enjoyed this! Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alexandria Ang

    Read this in two sittings. Yet another Brandy Colbert book I am absolutely obsessed with.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    I devoured this on audiobook in two days. The synopsis was misleading as the pregnancy isn't a central part of the book (it only happens around two thirds in) but didn't take away from my enjoyment. Yvonne is an amazing, complex character and I loved following her, her journey and her character growth as well as relationship growth with different people in her life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    3.5 stars I really enjoyed reading Colbert's Little and Lion when I read it last year, and Finding Yvonne was in a lot of ways different, but also the same. It's Colbert's voice or something, but it has that same heavy feeling while you read that makes it seem like every single thing that's going on has a lot more meaning than what's on the page. As if the simplest acts--baking a cake--are so much more. I love this about Colbert's writing and I think she's a fantastic novelist with a really strong 3.5 stars I really enjoyed reading Colbert's Little and Lion when I read it last year, and Finding Yvonne was in a lot of ways different, but also the same. It's Colbert's voice or something, but it has that same heavy feeling while you read that makes it seem like every single thing that's going on has a lot more meaning than what's on the page. As if the simplest acts--baking a cake--are so much more. I love this about Colbert's writing and I think she's a fantastic novelist with a really strong hold on her character's voices. But somewhere along the way, Finding Yvonne just fell kind of flat for me. Positive things first: I loved all the sex positivity! I think the way Colbert had her characters talk about this felt very natural and positive and not forced. Sometimes when authors talk about subjects, it feels like they're just parroting what other people have said about race or religion or some other topic. But Colbert made the discussion feel very real life--like something you could say too--and I really loved that. Plus, we really do get to learn a bunch about Yvonne and her thoughts and feelings and motivations. I might not have always supported her decisions (*cough*Omar*cough*), but I think she was definitely someone who we got to learn a lot about and she felt very real and genuine. That being said, one of my biggest issues with this book was that it felt like nothing was really resolved. I felt like some of the endings (i.e. Yvonne & Omar) was kind of a cop out for Colbert to tie up that storyline, and other (i.e. relationship with her father) could have had a little more closure in my opinion. I wanted more relationships during the story between Yvonne and her best friend, Yvonne and her father, Yvonne and her absent mother. I just wanted more out of this--specifically more development of the side characters (Warren was bland.) There was one relationship I wanted less of, and that's the whole Yvonne-Omar-Warren love triangle. I'm just kind of frustrated at the cheating because whyyy? Even though Yvonne and Warren weren't labeled as exclusive, it's still a bad thing to just emotionally & physically cheat on him. I felt like despite how bland Warren was and despite his faults, he didn't really deserve what Yvonne did to him. I wouldn't recommend this if you don't like reading about cheaters. What I did love was Yvonne's relationship with her violin--something that I felt we really got to see a lot of--and how she found a new passion in baking. Overall, I have positive feelings about this because I love Colbert's writing and I love her main characters and their voices, but I was definitively left a little frustrated and unsatisfied after I finished reading. I would recommend this if you're looking for a book with a really genuine and real main character, if you like more serious, slice of life contemporaries, or if you've loved Colbert's work in the past! Thank you so much to The NOVL @ BookCon (and Aitana Reads for switching with me) for providing me with an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review! Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Yvonne's been playing violin for many years, but now that her senior year is here, she's facing the reality that playing violin might not be her future. She's been fine at school, but she doesn't want to attend a school to simply attend school. Right now, she's concerned about figuring out what to do with her passion for music and how to temper that with the impending reality of high school ending. Then there's the rocky relationship she has with her dad and the desire she's unable to shake rela Yvonne's been playing violin for many years, but now that her senior year is here, she's facing the reality that playing violin might not be her future. She's been fine at school, but she doesn't want to attend a school to simply attend school. Right now, she's concerned about figuring out what to do with her passion for music and how to temper that with the impending reality of high school ending. Then there's the rocky relationship she has with her dad and the desire she's unable to shake relating to finding out more about the mother who left her many years ago. And then there's Warren, her father's sous chef who is a few years older than her. Are they an item or not? And when Omar comes into the picture, where do they stand? How does that impact the non-relationship relationship between her and Warren? But just as things begin to shake out a bit and Yvonne finds herself finding an interest and strong talent in baking and she begins toying with the idea of music therapy as a career, she finds out she's pregnant. She's not sure who the father is, and she's certainly not sure what to do. (view spoiler)[ She chooses an abortion in one of the most moving scenes of the book, both because of where and how she makes the choice, but also because of the moment of reconciliation that occurs with her father (hide spoiler)] . Colbert weaves in a lot of smart exploration of race and class here, particularly when it comes to the fear always linger at the back of Yvonne's mind about how her choices and decisions look because she's black. She knows she has to work twice as hard to do half as well as her white peers, but she also is spot on about the challenge of then always feeling she's feeding into some statistic, which removes her from being a fully-realized, complex human. Fans of Colbert's previous works will love this. It has a VERY Nina LaCour feel to it, too, so readers who love LaCour and haven't read Colbert would do great starting here.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Strolle

    Perfection. I mean, it's a Brandy book so OBVIOUSLY but still

  11. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this one up but I love Yvonne and the relationships she has. Highly recommend

  12. 4 out of 5

    Latanya (CraftyScribbles)

    Yvonne's feeling a bit of a teenage life crisis. Who is she and what will she do with her life? Brandy Colbert brings her character to life by not always having the right answers pinpointed at each chapter's end. Yvonne does what's right for her without preaching and proselytizing, which is refreshing from many young adult books stressing cliched outcomes as the choice to make. While slow at times, Finding Yvonne is a story well worth a read. You will find yourself concerned about her and her cho Yvonne's feeling a bit of a teenage life crisis. Who is she and what will she do with her life? Brandy Colbert brings her character to life by not always having the right answers pinpointed at each chapter's end. Yvonne does what's right for her without preaching and proselytizing, which is refreshing from many young adult books stressing cliched outcomes as the choice to make. While slow at times, Finding Yvonne is a story well worth a read. You will find yourself concerned about her and her choices, hoping she comes to a reasonable conclusion. (view spoiler)[She does! (hide spoiler)] 3.5/5

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    4.5 stars Originally posted at For What It's Worth on 8/30/18: http://www.fwiwreviews.net/search?q=f... I had been wanting to give Colbert’s writing a try and picked up both her Stonewall Award winning book, Little & Lion (purchased) and an arc of Finding Yvonne at a signing while I was at ALA. I’m so glad I did because this quiet little story packed a lot of emotional punch. Yvonne has always been surrounded by people who knew their calling right away and are brilliant at it. Her dad is an a s 4.5 stars Originally posted at For What It's Worth on 8/30/18: http://www.fwiwreviews.net/search?q=f... I had been wanting to give Colbert’s writing a try and picked up both her Stonewall Award winning book, Little & Lion (purchased) and an arc of Finding Yvonne at a signing while I was at ALA. I’m so glad I did because this quiet little story packed a lot of emotional punch. Yvonne has always been surrounded by people who knew their calling right away and are brilliant at it. Her dad is an a successful chef and restaurant owner, his sous chef, and Yvonne’s love interest, Warren, is an up and coming star in the food scene. For Yvonne, the violin is her talent and escape but when she realizes that she’s not going to be the best – or even good enough to get into a conservatory – her hopes are shattered and confidence shaken. Finding Yvonne does a wonderful job of showing how messy and confusing and SCARY it can be as a teenager – not quite an adult but no longer a child - when everyone around you seems to have it all together but your path suddenly changes. To complicate matters, Yvonne’s mother abandoned her when she was a child. Her father loves her but is distant and unwilling to answer Yvonne’s questions about her mom. He provides the essentials but lacks in providing the affection and advice a teenage girl craves. She’s lonely and scared and seeks comfort and guidance in those who don’t judge her and give her the attention she craves. Yvonne is quick to feel the sting of rejection and sometimes makes it bigger than it is, unwilling to see that some of her friends and mentors are opening the door to new possibilities, but that’s all part of her working things out. She stumbles, makes choices that complicate matters but it was all written so beautifully and realisticly. Yvonne’s relationships with her father, Warren, best friend, Sabina, and an enigmatic musician she meets are complex and nuanced and often explore the intersections of race, class and expectations. In particular, the relationship with her father cut me deep. I felt like Colbert had actually somehow been in my house when I was a teen recording conversations I had with my own father. My mother died from cancer when I was a teen and while I didn’t have the abandonment issues that Yvonne has, the relationship with her dad was so spot on it was difficult to read at times. It was strained, messy and awkward - both making mistakes but the love between them was still there. This is a book that I wish I had when I was a teen. And a book that I apparently need as a 50-ish year old woman as well. It made me reflect on so many things that I saw one way as a teen but in hindsight - have more empathy for what my father was going through as well. As the blurb says – there is an unexpected pregnancy. I wouldn’t call Finding Yvonne sex positive so much as sex realistic. Colbert shows all the joys and consequences of sex. All the choices and all the possible outcomes in a non-judgmental way not often explored in YA. I’m going to discuss what may be considered a spoiler concerning the pregnancy and another issue below. (view spoiler)[ Many readers felt Yvonne cheated on Warren and I HATE cheating in books but let me explain why I didn’t have a problem with it here. For one, I don’t consider this a romance. This is a book about Yvonne. her coming of age, her choices, her potential and possibilities. While there are romantic interests in her life – and consequences – it’s not the main theme. Yvonne made her choices and had to live with them. The author did a wonderful job letting every character have their say about how it impacted them. (hide spoiler)] If you’re looking for a YA romance (which I LOVE!!!) this is not it. This is a book about the complexities of growing up, becoming a responsible adult, about opening yourself up to new options, even f it’s scary, even if it isn’t what other people expect or want from you. content warnings: (view spoiler)[ drug use, sexual situations, pregnancy, abortion (hide spoiler)]

  14. 4 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    Wow. This was heavy, but it was also honest and real. I’m so glad this story exists.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mariah

    4.5/5 stars Finding Yvonne is an amazingly feminist and extremely enjoyable coming of age novel about a young African American woman, Yvonne, coming into her own as she navigates her family life, sex life, and reproductive choices. It is a wonderfully refreshing and surprising read because Brandy Colbert writes Yvonne as unapologetic about her sexual choices, which is so needed in YA lit as a model of sexual liberation. While Yvonne does face insecurities and make mistakes over the course of the 4.5/5 stars Finding Yvonne is an amazingly feminist and extremely enjoyable coming of age novel about a young African American woman, Yvonne, coming into her own as she navigates her family life, sex life, and reproductive choices. It is a wonderfully refreshing and surprising read because Brandy Colbert writes Yvonne as unapologetic about her sexual choices, which is so needed in YA lit as a model of sexual liberation. While Yvonne does face insecurities and make mistakes over the course of the book, her flaws are relatable and realistic. This novel is definitely worth reading if you enjoy contemporary YA. Its depictions of race, romance, and feminist issues are all especially rewarding, and it’s a quick read to boot (I read it in two sittings). Definitely pick this book up when it comes out August 7! (ARC courtesy of Novl giveaway at BookCon)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    Brandy Colbert is easily one of the best authors writing today. Finding Yvonne is completely captivating and it's so relatable. The synopsis spoils the fact that Yvonne is pregnant, but we don't learn that until almost 200 pages in (my ARC is 276 pages). Obviously she has to figure out what to do there, but the decision about her future is already complicated. Yvonne plays the violin. That's what she does; that's her identity. Except lately, it hasn't been the joy it usually is. It sometimes feel Brandy Colbert is easily one of the best authors writing today. Finding Yvonne is completely captivating and it's so relatable. The synopsis spoils the fact that Yvonne is pregnant, but we don't learn that until almost 200 pages in (my ARC is 276 pages). Obviously she has to figure out what to do there, but the decision about her future is already complicated. Yvonne plays the violin. That's what she does; that's her identity. Except lately, it hasn't been the joy it usually is. It sometimes feels like an obligation or something she does out of guilt or habit. But sometimes it doesn't feel like anything. And when "playing the violin" has been her thing since she was little, it sends her into a bit of an identity crisis. There is so much to discuss about this book, but really? You should just discover it for yourself. It's a masterpiece and I don't want to wreck it. Highly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    DNF @ pg 80 - this makes me sad. Little & Lion is an absolutely excellent contemporary, but Finding Yvonne is unable to capture any of what made L&L a success. The writing here is lifeless, the plot is aimless, the main character uninteresting. This story desperately needed...something, though I can't quite put my figure on what. It just wasn't holding my interest in the slightest...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Assia

    This review was originally posted on my blog Assia Something. Summary: Yvonne realizes that playing violin is no longer her future. She just doesn’t feel the passion necessary to dedicate her ENTIRE life to playing. Enter Warren, the guy she’s kinda-sorta dating, who is only two years older than her, and has already found his life’s passion. And Omar, the cute guy who plays music on Venice Beach. This is a bad summary, just read the book. I don’t know what I expected this book to be, but it wasn’ This review was originally posted on my blog Assia Something. Summary: Yvonne realizes that playing violin is no longer her future. She just doesn’t feel the passion necessary to dedicate her ENTIRE life to playing. Enter Warren, the guy she’s kinda-sorta dating, who is only two years older than her, and has already found his life’s passion. And Omar, the cute guy who plays music on Venice Beach. This is a bad summary, just read the book. I don’t know what I expected this book to be, but it wasn’t that. And I still loved it. I assumed we’d know Yvonne was pregnant from the start, and this story would revolve around her dealing with it. Like Juno. In a way, I wish it would have been that, because I wanted to know more about how a pregnancy would have affected her life. How her dreams would be halted, and maybe how her pregnancy would push her to finally find her mom. But this wasn’t that story. The pregnancy was NOT a huge aspect of the plot, only a tiny part that showed up at the end. This was a small slice of Yvonne’s life during a pivotal time. She’s a senior in high school, and figuring out what she’s going to do when she graduates. A lot of her previous interests aren’t hitting anymore, and now she’s trying to figure out what HER thing is. For over a decade, the violin has been her THING, but when she realizes it’s not her passion….what will her next move be? This was something I could reallllly relate to. At the end of high school, and (kinda) now. I spent a lot of my high school years trying to figure out what my THING was. I was never amazing at something, and that always bothered me. I took dance. But I wasn’t the best dancer. I played violin, but I quit because it wasn’t fun. Sewing? Too much work that I wasn’t dedicated to. I love that eventually Yvonne found a love of baking, something that connected her to both of her parents. And even though Yvonne’s interest in the violin wavered, I loved the connection she felt with her violin, and how she found a way to fit it in her life. The relationships were odd. I definitely felt like Yvonne wasn’t as interested in Warren as he was in her, and that made me really hope for her relationship with “Omar” to work out. (When I tell you that I didn’t expect Omar to turn out to be a GRANT.) Warren just seemed so dependent on Yvonne, and I totally understand why she strayed. Yvonne’s relationship with Warren seemed too perfect. Her father loved him, he had a good job, and strong ambitions. I didn’t like him. Honestly, he reminded me too much of her dad. Plus he was SO boring. And Omar was a manipulative ass. Warren and Omar both pissed me off. As I read, I found myself wishing that she’d cut them both off, or Sabina’s moms would step in and give her some tips. Because all the men in this story did was complicate EVERYTHING. Including her dad. Men suck. My favorite two characters were Lou, and Sabina. Lou was the father figure that Yvonne’s bio dad wasn’t. He recognized something in her, even when he wasn’t around her all the time, and encouraged Yvonne to start baking. Like…her dad lived with her (hardly) and he didn’t even notice that she liked to bake. Amazing. Sabina and Yvonne had a GREEEEaaaat friendship. I loved how the author explored two sides of ~teendom~. Not all teens are having sex. It’s fine if you are, and fine if you aren’t. Yvonne felt judged by Sabina initially, but even as their little argument was happening…I felt like Sabina was more worried than judge-y. I mean she’s a teenager. When I was their age, I definitely didn’t know how to frame my words, and Sabina was legitimately concerned about the situations Yvonne was finding herself in. Literally the only person who seemed to care about Yvonne, was Sabina. And Lou, but mainly Sabina. Dislikes: This book feels so unfinished. I want to know how her relationship with her father changes after her abortion. I want to see her mother come back into her life. I wish I knew more, but as I said, it was just a small sliver of Yvonne’s life. I also wish that I would have learned more about her parent’s relationship. Since her father was quiet and to himself towards Yvonne, we got the same treatment as readers as well. The only hint of emotion that her dad let show was way at the end when he admits why her mother left. (Which was an excuse. There aren’t many legitimate reasons to completely leave a child, in my opinion. That storyline is not finished.) … A lot of people had problems with Yvonne cheating on Warren… I didn’t care about that. They weren’t dating, and Yvonne was not his girlfriend. Yeah, she felt guilt and knew that he would feel some type of way. It sucked, but I didn’t care. Plus, she’s a teenager. Teens make mistakes. My main issue was with Omar literally taking advantage of Yvonne and it never being resolved, or talked about. This whole adult, preyed on a high schooler, slept with her, lied to her, then attempted to disappear. And the girl he was “dating” knew this would happen and didn’t warn her. I… Also, no one ever discussed why Yvonne found comfort in men, and seemed to trust them so easily? I assumed that was a common thing because her friend Sabina mentions it. Sabina constantly spoke up, and told Yvonne to be careful, and tread carefully around men she didn’t know well. Yvonne was offended, yeah, but sometimes the truth hurts. I feel like Sabina was kinda made out to be the villain at times, but I believe that her overall message was fine, the problem was the words she used. This was my first Brandy Colbert book (I never finished Little and Lion) and I’m considering reading all of her books now. Four stars, and one of my fave books of the year.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Teenreadsdotcom

    Ever since I read Brandy Colbert's LITTLE & LION, I knew I was going to continue to be a fan of her work. So when I found out about FINDING YVONNE, I immediately added this book to my TBR. And now I'm so glad that I got the chance to read it, because this book took me on an emotional rollercoaster that I couldn't tear myself away from! I really liked the way that this book tackled uncertainty in its many forms. Yvonne wasn't sure about a lot of things in her life --- just a few being her frie Ever since I read Brandy Colbert's LITTLE & LION, I knew I was going to continue to be a fan of her work. So when I found out about FINDING YVONNE, I immediately added this book to my TBR. And now I'm so glad that I got the chance to read it, because this book took me on an emotional rollercoaster that I couldn't tear myself away from! I really liked the way that this book tackled uncertainty in its many forms. Yvonne wasn't sure about a lot of things in her life --- just a few being her friendships, her relationships and her potential careers. It felt really raw and honest to see her struggling with those things, and I feel like that's something that a lot of teenagers can definitely relate to. Also, I know the summary explains it already, but I hadn't read the book summary for quite some time before picking up the book (an oversight on my part, I know), so when I found out that Yvonne was pregnant, I was completely shocked. I even had to stop and text my friends about it because it was such shocking news that I really wanted to tell someone! And then seeing how Yvonne chose to go forward from there and how she came to her decision about everything made it all the more important of a story. There were two things about this book that I wasn't 100% sold on. One was definitely the insta-love between Omar and Yvonne. The fact that they'd only met once before and then they were suddenly going on dates and hooking up and getting really intimate with each other kind of threw me for a loop. Not because that doesn't happen with some relationships in real life (because it definitely does), but because it seemed like the romance between them may have been forced just for the sake of the plot, which made me a little bit sad. Speaking of plot, the other thing that I was a little disappointed with was the way that the book seemed to rush toward the end, with all of the (seemingly) most important aspects of the story being crammed into the last few chapters. I wanted more of what happened after Yvonne found out and how things were handled, but instead, it felt crammed into just a few pages and sort of brushed aside, even though it was arguably one of the most important plot points in the entire story. (However, just because I didn't enjoy those particular things didn't mean this was a bad book --- it was still an excellent story that I couldn't put down and wanted to know more about!) Overall, I really enjoyed reading FINDING YVONNE. It was such an easy book to breeze through, and I definitely enjoyed all of the ups and downs that came with the story. I finished this entire book in 12 hours and immediately had to stop to write down my review and get my thoughts about it out, because this is the type of story that hooks me and I really want to share it with people. So if you were on the fence about reading this book and weren't sure if you should pick it up, I definitely encourage you to, because it's a quick, easy read, and you certainly won't be sorry!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Arrow Jameson

    5/10 OR 3/5 STARS Okay, so I’m confused. Obviously this book was good, otherwise it wouldn’t have a 5/10. But obviously it’s not awesome since it has a 5/10. Starting with what’s good, let’s go with Yvonne and her family. I loved the bond she had with her father because it was completely bittersweet and Colbert leaves it open-ended because father-daughter relationships are very sensitive. Especially if your father is a full-time chef. What I loved most about this book is Warren *dreamy sigh*. He wa 5/10 OR 3/5 STARS Okay, so I’m confused. Obviously this book was good, otherwise it wouldn’t have a 5/10. But obviously it’s not awesome since it has a 5/10. Starting with what’s good, let’s go with Yvonne and her family. I loved the bond she had with her father because it was completely bittersweet and Colbert leaves it open-ended because father-daughter relationships are very sensitive. Especially if your father is a full-time chef. What I loved most about this book is Warren *dreamy sigh*. He was just adorable and so sweet and Yvonne was just a *beep* to him sometimes. Like come on, girl, he’s a professional chef. Chill out, give him space. It’s not like he’s your official boyfriend yet. Warren was just really patient and nice to Yvonne, and a real gentleman. I kind of wanted to reach into the book and give him a hug. The whole thing about Yvonne’s career doubts was actually very relatable, and it’s the first time I’ve read a book that’s addressed it, so props to Finding Yvonne for being a stand-out! I think her waning interest in violin was handled very well; her newfound interest in baking, however, I didn’t get. It just seemed kind of thrown in there, and it didn’t even go all the way. It seemed like a forced subplot, and Lou seemed like a super forced character. Even Omar . . . there could’ve been more there. I felt like there just wasn’t enough character development for me to have really liked the book. Yvonne seemed very naïve sometimes, and other times she was acting too mature for an eighteen-year old. I liked her principles and her fire, but there was just something missing that would’ve made her a likeable character. And with the closure, well, there wasn’t any. I was hoping that all the issues would be resolved, but as I reached the last twenty, fifteen, ten pages, I realised that there wasn’t going to be any proper climax. At least not like I expected. Yeah, Yvonne worked things out with the guy she ended up with (shush, I’m not telling you who it is), and she worked it out with her dad and stuff, but everything was just hanging by a thread. Seriously. I expected more of a finish. I guess this book started out very strong, but ended on a flat note. I was positive it was going to be a five-star read in the beginning, but it just seemed to deteriorate for me towards the ending. There wasn’t enough about the obvious diversity factor I expected to be in there, and there wasn’t enough development. I really wanted to mark this as a favourite, but I just can’t. After liking Pointe quite a bit, I thought Colbert wouldn’t disappoint. But I can only give this a half rating, unfortunately.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Hands down, Brandy Colbert is my favorite writer of contemporary realist YA fiction. Her books handle complicated situations with incomparable grace, her characters bring to life complex, intersectional identities, and she has a knack for page-turning scenes. I feel like my writing gets better every time I read her books. In Finding Yvonne, eighteen-year-old Yvonne grapples with a strained relationship with her father, the absence of her mother, and a romance with 21-year-old Warren, her not-boyf Hands down, Brandy Colbert is my favorite writer of contemporary realist YA fiction. Her books handle complicated situations with incomparable grace, her characters bring to life complex, intersectional identities, and she has a knack for page-turning scenes. I feel like my writing gets better every time I read her books. In Finding Yvonne, eighteen-year-old Yvonne grapples with a strained relationship with her father, the absence of her mother, and a romance with 21-year-old Warren, her not-boyfriend, who is also the sous chef at her father's restaurant. She's lost her passion for violin and isn't sure what the future holds when charismatic Venice Beach busker Omar waltzes into her life and complicates things further. Another reviewer said that they didn't like that this plot centers on "cheating" without much nuance; I have to say, I did not interpret the situation between Yvonne and Warren/Omar to be cheating. Her romance with Warren is under-wraps because of her age and they haven't made it official that they're together, and she mentions having sex with other boys her age in the time that she's known Warren. When she meets Omar, she is not officially Warren's girlfriend, even though Warren seems to have serious feelings for her. I think this is the kind of ambiguous situation many young adults can relate to. Is a relationship serious? How serious? These can be difficult boundaries to draw. In any case, this is a book that will certainly provoke lots of discussion among readers about Yvonne's behavior and choices, as well as the choices of those around her. It's worth reading for those rich conversations. NB: Yvonne's best friend Sabina has two moms, so there's very minor but positive queer rep in the book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    I had a hard time putting this book down! Yvonne's voice is so strong, and I really felt for her senior year struggles. I appreciated that she didn't have a clear path toward figuring out what she wants to do after high school, and I loved her self-awareness of both her privileges (as a relatively well-off teen getting a good private school education) and her disadvantages (as a black teen girl at a mostly white institution). I was just rooting for her so hard the whole time! (view spoiler)[It's I had a hard time putting this book down! Yvonne's voice is so strong, and I really felt for her senior year struggles. I appreciated that she didn't have a clear path toward figuring out what she wants to do after high school, and I loved her self-awareness of both her privileges (as a relatively well-off teen getting a good private school education) and her disadvantages (as a black teen girl at a mostly white institution). I was just rooting for her so hard the whole time! (view spoiler)[It's also sex positive and pro-choice! (hide spoiler)] Also it made me real hungry! Why isn't MY dad a gourmet chef! (I guess it wouldn't do me much good at this point in my life BUT STILL)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Crosspost: TheReadingBelle.com Perhaps, I am getting older because it is hard for me to find a good contemporary YA book that pleases me in this day and age. Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert was a choice. The synopsis was intriguing, the plot did seem something out of the CW, so I took a chance on the book. I did receive Finding Yvonne in Yallwest, but opinions are all my own. So, this is a unpopular opinion. Considering the reviews I have seen for the book, there aren't much negative reviews. Th Crosspost: TheReadingBelle.com Perhaps, I am getting older because it is hard for me to find a good contemporary YA book that pleases me in this day and age. Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert was a choice. The synopsis was intriguing, the plot did seem something out of the CW, so I took a chance on the book. I did receive Finding Yvonne in Yallwest, but opinions are all my own. So, this is a unpopular opinion. Considering the reviews I have seen for the book, there aren't much negative reviews. This book was an experience, and I was left shaking my head due to certain events that played out. That being said, this will be a rant review with spoilers. Starting on a positive note, I did enjoy how Yvonne was unapologetic about herself and her sexuality. I have no issues with a character's sexuality. Yvonne was confident about her body and her choices. That being said, she made a lot of questionable decisions. I will say that the pregnancy aspect of the book did not play a major role as I had anticipated. The pregnancy revelation was placed near the last third of the book. The synopsis presents a story of how a pregnant Yvonne has to chose the right path due to her circumstances...but, the reality was not the case. It is hard for me to comprehend the actions of Yvonne, especially when it came to her relationships. So, Yvonne was seeing her father's sous chef, Warren, but it was not an exclusive relationship. The relationship between Warren and Yvonne was secretive because of the age difference between the two. Warren was protective of Yvonne, and did not want to be sexually engaged with her until she was officially 18. It seemed like Yvonne wanted her relationship with Warren to move at a faster pace. I felt myself siding with Warren because she was underage. Though the age difference was not extreme, it seemed that Yvonne disregarded it for the sake of love. I rolled my eyes...but this was not as bad as The Beau and The Belle by R.S. Grey, a book that I had several issues with... Yvonne was happy in her relationship despite not being official. When she and Warren hang out in Venice Beach, she finds herself completely and utterly drawn by a street musician named Omar. Despite being in a complicated relationship with Warren, she falls completely head over heels for Omar. A major issue I had with this book was the cheating aspect. Yvonne does get into a major fight with Warren because he chose to work on her birthday, and she reacts by destroying the birthday cake that Warren bought her. Yvonne also seeks out Omar, and considers hanging out with him...DESPITE NOT KNOWING THE GUY!  The story tried to establish a love triangle, but it was lame. I felt uncomfortable with how Yvonne was seeing Omar, while she had her fight with Warren. Yvonne lies about her relationship status to both men. Instead of being rational and calling her relationship off with Warren, she peruses each man. I fully did not trust Omar, he seemed a bit shady...but instead of getting to know Omar, she has sex with him on her first official date with him. It does not help that she continues seeing Warren, and has sex with him a week after she has had sex with Omar. I assumed that she was going to get pregnant by Omar, but I was surprised. As mentioned previously, her pregnancy does not play a major role in this book. NOR WILL YOU FIND OUT WHO THE REAL FATHER IS! Literally, this book was about Finding Yvonne, and how she was going to deal with her relationships, ambitions, and career choices. I was not the biggest fan of Yvonne because she did have several immature moments. In my opinion, she manipulated both guys. I knew Omar was shady, which did end up being true. Yvonne goes through minimal growth. It seems that she is used to getting praises all the time. For example, growing up she received praises for her violin skills, and then as a teen, she thrived off praises for her baking skills. I really wanted Yvonne to be an awesome character. The only character that I liked by far was her best friend Sabine. Sabine was looking out for her friend, and even warned Yvonne that she could be potentially used. Sabine was supportive, and dealt with Yvonne's unnecessary drama and antics. Kudos to Sabine for being the true MVP of this book.  Final Rating: 2

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Yvonne's struggle with her music and figuring out her future is spot-on and something that a lot of teens her age struggle with. She's struggling to find herself in a lot of ways in this book - her once-certain career path is thrown off the rails, she struggles with her feelings about a barely-there father and the mother who left when she was six, and she's navigating some pretty intense romantic situations. This is a sex-positive story that shows Yvonne figuring out relationships and having sex Yvonne's struggle with her music and figuring out her future is spot-on and something that a lot of teens her age struggle with. She's struggling to find herself in a lot of ways in this book - her once-certain career path is thrown off the rails, she struggles with her feelings about a barely-there father and the mother who left when she was six, and she's navigating some pretty intense romantic situations. This is a sex-positive story that shows Yvonne figuring out relationships and having sex because she wants to (physically responsibly, still working on the emotional side of things, which is fairly typical). Hand this to older teens who enjoy realistic contemporary fiction, particularly those who are realizing the need to figure out their next steps towards adult life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jory

    I really enjoyed this second novel by Brandy Colbert, perhaps even more than Little & Lion. Yvonne is trying hard to navigate her world: does she still love the violin? Does she love Warren enough? Or is Omar better for her? Does she even miss her mother? Is her dad enough? In some ways a straightforward story, but the characters are nuanced and make up for it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    April

    Brandy Colbert stuns me again with this beautiful, nuanced exploration of identity at the end of high school and the pressures of that time. She also thoughtfully explores race, prejudices, sex positivity and pregnancy. The family, friend and relationship dynamics were beautifully don’t and I cried more than once.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wilmarie

    Amazing read! Completely different to what I was expecting but I think that was because I had a completely different idea of what I thought the book was. This book is hard to rate because it isn't a four stars but it's not completely a five stars. I'll rate it here four stars but I think it's closer to 4.5 Honestly just read it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    RATING: 3.5/5 stars I liked the depiction of a lonely teenage girl trying to work out what she wants to do with her life. It made for an interesting audiobook. I did not really like the cheating though, and what makes it worse is that Yvonne does not see it as cheating.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mattie Richards

    Great relationship writing, cliche story. Almost finished it but the relationship building that kept me involved took an absolute nosedive into bad self published territory, so I stopped wasting my time. Also that covered killed a lot of interest for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    A solid 4.5 Stars for me - I love Brandy’s ease and style of writing, and the casual way she addresses tough topics: sex, love, family, and in this novel, teenage pregnancy. The music topic was a good one, but I felt it clashed a lot with the cooking side. It wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked. Yet it still packed the emotion it needed and left me feeling satisfied at the end.

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