Books Reviews

The Yellow Dinghy Cafe

The Yellow Dinghy Cafe by Sophie Chenoweth


When Cybelle, Jasmine and Michaela finish high school, they go their separate ways, but the distance between them is no match for the secrets, fears and hopes that bind them together. Cybelle has a stalker, an anxiety disorder and warring parents. Jasmine studies at a regional university and her social life explodes, but the guy she falls for is not what he seems. To make matters worse, her flatmate bullies her and Jasmine wonders whether there is anyone she can trust.
Michaela works at The Yellow Dinghy Café and meets Charlotte, who makes a scene during the morning rush. Peter, the owner-operator has been receiving threatening letters and Michaela suspects that Charlotte’s mother is responsible. After all, she’s using an assumed name and has been schmoozing with Peter. Or could it be Ben, who won’t take no for an answer? He’s been wining and dining wealthy older women and is wanted for petty theft all along the East Coast.
At the end of the year the three friends organise a fund-raiser for the New South Wales drought, which Jasmine has experienced first-hand. The night promises to be a success but disturbing revelations and petty jealousies loom large. Michaela always thought Cybelle had the perfect life and Jasmine, who is on scholarship resents being defined by her intellect. Can they resolve their problems and repair their friendship before it’s too late? And who is lurking in the shadows, determined to sabotage it all?


Set in Australia, this novel by Sophie Chenoweth is about how three young high school friends, Jasmine, Michaela, and Cybelle, cope with the next phase of their lives. As they come from dissimilar backgrounds, they have aspirations and expectations quite different from each other.

Cybelle, from a wealthy family, goes on a tour before deciding what to do next. She first goes to England and then to Vietnam, where her older sister is an English teacher.

Jasmine, who wishes to escape from the city and the harsh reality of her father’s illness, enrolls in a rural university in New South Wales. She finds that she knows next to nothing about boys and communal living.

Michaela is trying to figure out what her future direction should be. In the interim, she joins as a waitress at the Yellow Dinghy Café, owned by Cybelle’s uncle Peter.

All three girls find that they have much to learn about the real world and that nobody’s life is perfect. They go through many emotions as they transition from teenagers to young adults. However, their friendship stays intact through all the turmoil and challenges they face.

Probably because of my age and current circumstances, I was unable to relate to the protagonists. Despite this, it is a pleasant, enjoyable, well-written book.


I received an advance free copy of this book from BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

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