Author: Emily X.R. Pan
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 Glowing Stars
Synopsis: Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.
Review: This book. Even though the year has barely begun, this will definitely go down as one of my very favorite books this year. It is so beautiful and heartbreaking. Leigh’s journey to come to terms with her mother’s death is about so much more than just grief. She learns about her family history, her mother’s life, and of course along the way she learns so much about herself. I felt connected to Leigh and her story and found myself itching to pick this book back up every time I had to put it down.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: magical realism is the best genre. And Emily X.R. Pan does it marvelously. The imagery and overall story will stick with me for years to come and I know I’ll be rereading this book in the future. Thank you so much to The Novl for sending me a copy to review.
Go now and preorder a copy for yourself! And then check out the amazing preorder swag that Emily has made available!