A stunning, heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love, and family, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng. Read more...
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A stunning, heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love, and family, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng.
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.
- ISBN-13: 9780316463997
- ISBN-10: 031646399X
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: March 2018
- Page Count: 480
- Reading Level: Ages 14-17
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.25 pounds
Books > Young Adult Fiction > Social Themes - Suicide
Books > Young Adult Fiction > People & Places - United States - Asian American
Books > Young Adult Fiction > Social Themes - Emigration & Immigration
A lyrical debut that soars
BookPage Teen Top Pick, April 2018
What is the color of grief? When 15-year-old Leigh thinks about the answer to this question after her mother’s suicide, she feels empty—translucent. She’s an artist, and every feeling she experiences has a corresponding color.
There’s so much Leigh is struggling to understand—the depression that lead to her mother’s death, her frustrating romantic feelings for her best friend, her family’s long-buried secrets and her own Taiwanese-American identity. But the most puzzling of all is how her mother turned into a beautiful red crane, and what the bird’s nighttime visits mean. The first message she can interpret urges her to visit her maternal grandmother and grandfather (Waipo and Waigong) in Taiwan, where she can immerse herself in her mother’s world of Mandarin and Taiwanese culture as she’s always longed to do.
The Astonishing Color of After is Emily X.R. Pan’s debut novel, and it gracefully explores the depths of a teen’s trauma without ever feeling overly dramatic or saccharine. The thread of magical realism is woven through this story so skillfully that the reader will join Leigh in accepting it almost immediately. The story is centered on a heart-wrenching mystery (how should Leigh interpret the last line of her mother’s suicide note and her spirit’s puzzling transformation?), yet Pan’s prose is as warm and free-flowing as Waipo’s oolong tea, making this story a surprisingly uplifting one.