The Astonishing Color of After, by Emily X.R. Pan
Let me start off by saying--holy moly, this book killed it!
I have never been one to lean towards books that deal with death or tragedy in the exposition, and I was a little wary when the first few chapters were the main character finding how to deal with her mother's suicide. But--the feeling of loss was written so well that I couldn't put it down. I could actually feel what Leigh (the main character) was feeling.
And the book only got better from there.
As revealed in the publisher's description, Leigh thinks that her mother has turned into a bird, which incorporates a bit of fantastical beliefs into a contemporary novel--something that I loved.
The journey that Emily X.R. Pan takes readers on is one non-stop adventure, that gives readers a view into what Taiwan's culture looks like, right from the comfort of their homes. (Or wherever else you might be reading this book.)
This book is a a very eye-opening piece of contemporary literature that gives readers a look into the world of death, self-realization, and depression.
If you like strong, believable characters, sweet romances, and/or beautifully and emotionally worded YA novels, this book is definitely the one for you!
Here's the publisher's description:
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 stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.
You can find Emily X.R. Pan's website HERE, and you can read a free excerpt HERE