The Astonishing Colour of After
Written by Emily X. R. Pan
Published by Hachette Children’s Group
Publication date: 22nd March 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Magical Realism
Age range: 13+
Summary (from Goodreads):
Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: ‘I want you to remember’. Leigh doesn’t know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.
Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died – leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn’t home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.
Overwhelmed by grief and the burden of fulfilling her mother’s last wish, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.
With lyrical prose and magical elements, Emily X.R. Pan’s stunning debut novel alternates between past and present, romance and despair, as one girl attempts to find herself through family history, art, friendship, and love.
Why I can’t wait to read this:
- Set in Taiwan, with a character discovering that part of her heritage. I want to read more like this!
- I have heard that there is sensitive debate about the benefits and difficulties of being someone who straddles two cultures, with the rich stories and traditions this gives, yet also the search for identity.
- Magical realism is a genre that I am liking more and more. It can still be a bit hit-or-miss at times but I have read some fantastic magical realism recently ( e.g The Toy Makers)
- Discussion of mental illness in Young Adult books is incredibly important – the story looks at Leigh’s mother’s suicide and Leigh’s grief afterwards.
- The protagonist is an artist so colours and beautiful imagery are supposed to play a big part – looking forward to this!
- And – yet again, – what a fantastic cover!
What do you think?
Does it seem like a book you might be interested in reading?
Which other books are you looking forward to?
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