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Leigh uses colors to describe her feelings and help her cope with not just the death of her mother, but in discovering her mother's estranged family, and her hidden romantic feelings for her best friend Axel. But not just any colors - colors with names like "Viridian Blue" and "Sunglow Yellow". She travels to China, searching for the bird she is sure her mother turned into, hoping to find an understanding that will allow her to move forward and cherish the memories she has.
"Emily X.R. Pan's brilliantly crafted, harrowing first novel portrays the vast spectrum of love and grief with heart-wrenching beauty and candor. This is a very special book."--John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down
A stunning, heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love, and family, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng.
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.
Praise for The Astonishing Color of After:A New York Times bestseller
An IndieBound bestseller
"Emily X.R. Pan's brilliantly crafted, harrowing first novel portrays the vast spectrum of love and grief with heart-wrenching beauty and candor. This is a very special book."—John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down
"Magic and mourning, love and loss, secrets kept and secrets revealed all illuminate Emily X.R. Pan's inventive and heart-wrenching debut."—Gayle Forman, bestselling author of If I Stay and I Was Here
"Emily X.R. Pan utterly transported me to a world reminiscent of Isabel Allende. Haunting at every turn, this is a glorious debut."— Renée Ahdieh, bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn
"An extraordinary debut from a fiercely talented writer."— Nova Ren Suma, bestselling author of The Walls Around Us
"This beautiful, magical journey through grief made my heart take flight."— Holly Black, bestselling author of The Cruel Prince and The Darkest Part of the Forest
"The Astonishing Color of After works a delicate magic. Its portrayal of grief is deeply felt, and so too is its deliciously tricky romance. I loved this book."— Marie Rutkoski, bestselling author of The Winner's Curse
"My heart has never been more pleasantly devastated. A raw and brilliant debut."— Roshani Chokshi, bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
"lyrical and suspenseful"—The New York Times Book Review
"In this dazzling debut, author Emily X.R. Pan has created a spellbinding narrative about love, family, and what it means to grieve."—Bustle
* "Dynamic, brave Leigh emerges vividly in Pan's deft hand, and her enthralling journey through her grief glows with stunning warmth, strength, and resilience."—Booklist, starred review
* "Pan's emotionally charged debut is a compelling exploration of grief and the insidiousness of depression."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Pan's debut novel is not to be missed."—School Library Journal, starred review
* "This novel is as elegant as it is mesmerizing."—VOYA, starred review
* "Pan offers an extraordinary journey that proves real, surreal, and wholly magical."—Shelf Awareness
* "[The novel] pushes the readers' expectations in beautiful and interesting ways."—School Library Connection, starred review
"An evocative novel that captures the uncertain, unmoored feeling of existing between worlds--culturally, linguistically, ethnically, romantically, and existentially--it is also about seeking hope and finding beauty even in one's darkest hours."—Kirkus Reviews
"I am sure I will return to this book every year, just as I am sure that there will always be something new for me to find in its pages."—BookRiot
"In her debut book, Pan communicates what seems many lifetimes of wisdom: the intricacies of grief, how mental illness ripples through families and what it means to find love in the midst of so much loss."—The Daily Beast
"The story is centered on a heart-wrenching mystery, yet Pan's prose is as warm and free-flowing as Waipo's oolong tea, making this story a surprisingly uplifting one."—BookPage
"Emily X.R. Pan beautifully depicts grief in all its complexities: the numbing sadness, the rage, the confusion, and, most hauntingly, the joy."—Bustle.com
"Through Leigh's emotional, illuminating first person narration, Emily X. R. Pan peels back the layers of her grief to expose the heart at the center. The result is a novel as lyrical as it is earnest."—Tor.com
"A hypnotic narrative."—Horn Book