When Leigh’s mother commits suicide, Leigh is certain her mother turned into a bird. Her father takes her on a trip to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents after her mother’s death. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, does not speak her grandparents’ language. She struggles to communicate during her stay, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find her mother as a bird. While she tracks down her mother in her new form, she ends up uncovering family secrets and developing a relationship with her grandparents. Leigh must work through her grief as she learns to navigate life without her mother.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
This is such a beautiful story. Not only is it wonderfully written, but it’s also painful in the best way. There are so many parts that are sure to cut to the quick. One of my favorite things about this book is the setting. I’ve never been to Taiwan, but Pan writes about it in such a way that it is easy to picture. Despite the fact that it is a completely different culture, Pan makes it seem accessible.
This leads me to my next favorite part, the writing. The writing makes it easy to read, but the content makes it difficult. Pan allows for the reader to digest the content more easily by making the writing straightforward and uncomplicated. Her writing makes it effortless to focus on the main character as she struggles.
My favorite part of this book was definitely the characters. Leigh is genuine, likable, and relatable. As she moves through her grief, it was natural for me to place myself in her shoes. Even though I have never experienced the pain she did, I was able to empathize with her because of Pan’s ability to construct her with engaging qualities.
I can’t go without mentioning the ending. Not only is it pleasing because it has a happy ending, but it left me feeling lighter. After feeling like I was carrying Leigh’s weight of grief on my own shoulders for the duration of the read, it was amazing to feel like I let it go with her at the end.
Overall, I would recommend this book to a busy mom. Although it is considered Young Adult, I don’t think that makes it any less enjoyable than the general fiction books out there. In fact, I think it contains many important lessons to be learned not just by young adults, but adults as well. Not to mention, it’s a quick read! It may look like a long book, but it goes by quickly.
Five out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, you might also like Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing The Astonishing Color of After, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.