Summer Bird Blue|Akemi Dawn Bowman
Summer Bird Blue
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Earliest ship date: June 6, 2022
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"A lyrical novel about grief, love, and finding oneself in the wake of a tragic loss." --Bustle
"Gorgeous prose and heartbreaking storytelling." --Paste Magazine
"Grabs your heart and won't let go." --Book Riot

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

Three starred reviews for this stunning novel about a mixed-race teen who struggles to find her way back to her love of music in the wake of her sister's death, from the author of the William C. Morris Award finalist Starfish.

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn't have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of--she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the "boys next door"--a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn't take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago--Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

Aching, powerful, and unflinchingly honest, Summer Bird Blue explores big truths about insurmountable grief, unconditional love, and how to forgive even when it feels impossible.

This item is Non-Returnable


  • ISBN-13: 9781481487757
  • ISBN-10: 1481487752
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: September 2018
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.01 pounds
  • Page Count: 384
  • Reading Level: Ages 12-17

A sensitive tale of grief and self-discovery

Sisters Rumi and Lea are going to make music together forever. Rumi plays piano, Lea plays guitar, and together they write lyrics. That is, until Lea dies in a car crash and Rumi is sent to live with her Aunty Ani in Hawaii.

Rumi spends the first few weeks of her summer pondering impossible questions: Why did her mother abandon her with a relative she hardly knows? Is Rumi just like her absent father, scared of commitment and bound to abandon everyone she loves? Why does she feel so physically attracted to Aunty Ani’s teenage neighbor, Kai, even though she doesn’t have any desire to touch or kiss him? And how can she ever write, perform or even hear music again, when she’ll always have to experience it without her sister?

Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Summer Bird Blue is a story of healing. As Kai gradually coaxes Rumi back into a world of friends, summer jobs and days at the beach, Aunty Ani’s other neighbor, the grumpy Mr. Watanabe, provides an unexpected haven. Hawaii’s geography, food and language (Hawaiian Pidgin) are authentically researched and lovingly portrayed. Bowman, author of the William C. Morris YA Debut Award finalist Starfish, once again offers a diverse, sensitive and hopeful portrayal of a teen simultaneously struggling with questions of personal identity and difficult external circumstances.


This article was originally published in the September 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.