The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Hi, I am Sarah. I am fourteen years old and an avid reader; it is one of my favorite things to do. Inspired by authors’ creations of magnificent places and surprising havens built by simple letters, I aspire to be an author and, meanwhile, nurture the love to write.
Leigh’s world is shattering around her, but she does know one thing for certain: when her mother committed suicide, she turned into a bird.
Not metaphorically or anything like that.
Her mother is literally a bird.
After her mother (the bird) visits in the middle of the night with a package for her, Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time in her sixteen years of life. Her world unspooling through grief and confusion and a wrecked web of broken relationships, she journeys through the city in search of her mother, some kind of constant – and winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering long-buried secrets, and learning her family’s history as it slowly disentangles.
Tumbling between past, present, and a world of memories, The Astonishing Color of After is a spectacular narrative of one girl’s journey through grief and loss, and her struggles to adapt to that mother-shaped hole in her life.
I enjoyed this book immensely and found it to be a beautiful and impactful story. It encompassed many topics associated with grief, but in such a fantastical and original way. Leigh’s artistic talent and colorful view of the world makes for a refreshing yet relatable narrator, and her story gives voice to those personal battlefields, unseen and unheard and yet so prevalent in our society.