The Astonishing Color of After

By: Emily X. R. Pan

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: when her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

ISBN: 9780316463997

JLG Release: Jul 2018


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Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Mild sexual themes

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Awards & Honors

2019 Walter Award Honor, Teen
Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth - 2018
CPL Best Books, Teen Fiction - 2018
NYPL Best Books for Teens - 2018
School Library Journal Best Books - 2018
VOYA's Perfect Tens - 2018

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

The Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal*, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), Publishers Weekly*, Booklist*, Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
Leigh comes home to the unimaginable—her mother, who has always been depressed, has committed suicide. As her grief swells, Leigh believes in her fog that her mother has not died but her mother’s spirit has now turned into a vivid bird who brings Leigh gifts, both physical and in the form of memories. Trying
[STARRED REVIEW]
Leigh comes home to the unimaginable—her mother, who has always been depressed, has committed suicide. As her grief swells, Leigh believes in her fog that her mother has not died but her mother’s spirit has now turned into a vivid bird who brings Leigh gifts, both physical and in the form of memories. Trying to put all the pieces together, her father and Leigh travel to Taiwan, where her mother immigrated from to the United States after meeting Leigh’s father. She has never met her mother’s family, and does not understand why her mother never spoke to Leigh about her parents or her childhood. Seeking answers for these questions and more, Leigh’s father leaves her in Taiwan to stay with her grandparents. The present-day is woven with flashback memories; Pan’s writing takes readers on a journey filled with so much emotion, color, and such well-developed characters with a touch of magic, readers will come to the ending drained and fulfilled at the same time. An exploration of grief and what it means to accept a loved one’s suicide, this book’s lyrical and heart-rending prose invites readers to take flight into their own lives and examine their relationships. VERDICT Pan’s debut novel is not to be missed. Give this to fans of magical realism titles and any reader who is battling grief.—Stephanie Charlefour, formerly of Wixom Public Library, MI

Horn Book

My mother is a bird,” declares Leigh, a mixed-raced (hun-xie) Taiwanese American teen. She has seen her mother, reincarnated as a giant red bird, and knows that she is trying to guide Leigh in understanding the reasons for her tragic suicide. (Leigh also must contend with the crushing guilt of kissing her best friend, Axel, on the day My mother is a bird,” declares Leigh, a mixed-raced (hun-xie) Taiwanese American teen. She has seen her mother, reincarnated as a giant red bird, and knows that she is trying to guide Leigh in understanding the reasons for her tragic suicide. (Leigh also must contend with the crushing guilt of kissing her best friend, Axel, on the day her mother died.) Leigh travels to Taipei to stay with her maternal grandparents, with whom she can barely communicate. There she embarks on a fervent and grief-stricken odyssey riddled with insomnia and confusion, piecing together her mother’s past by lighting magical incense sticks that allow her to witness fragments of others’ memories from the past. Pan portrays Leigh as a talented visual artist, telling her story with a vividness punctuated by a host of highly specific hues: a “cerise punch” to the gut, “viridian spiraling” thoughts, a heart “bursting with manganese blue and new gamboges yellow and quinacridone rose.” Some readers might be put off by the abundant imagery, but it—along with Pan’s threads of Taiwanese mysticism and her mingling of ghosts (gui) with the living—creates a hypnotic narrative. roxanne hsu Feldman

Book Details

ISBN

9780316463997

First Release

July 2018

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

Page Count

480

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.8; Points: 15;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 5.2; Points: 24;

Lexile

Level HL670L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Little, Brown

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Mild language, Mild sexual themes

Topics


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