Waiting on Wednesday: The Astonishing Colour of After

astonishing cover

The Astonishing Colour of After

Written by Emily X. R. Pan

480 pages

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?

Please link your ‘Waiting on Wednesday’ posts below as I’d love to read them!

See my ‘Waiting on Wednesday’ for last week – The Tangled Lands

Read a book review of The Hazel Wood or The Cruel Prince?

Read how book blogging has changed how I read.

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Breaking the Spine



10 Comments Add yours

  1. I love this cover! The synopsis also sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let me know if you read it! I have it lined up for the Easter holidays!


  2. Ellie says:

    I read this a few weeks ago and loved it! I thought Pan’s writing in particular was just beautiful, and the whole book was gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that’s so good to hear! I have been wanting to read it since I first heard of it, and just got approved on Netgalley so planning to read it this weekend. So excited!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this one! And I absolutely love this cover!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, isn’t the cover beautiful! I am planning to read it this weekend so hope it lives up to my expectations. Let me know what you think of it!


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