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.
Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List
“From the first pages of The Astonishing Color of After, you know that you're reading something special. It's a strange and beautiful story of a Chinese-American girl whose mother's ghost appears to her in the form of a fantastical red bird. Chasing family secrets, she travels to Taipei to meet the grandparents she's never seen, while trying to forget about the boy she left at home. It's lovely, real, and unforgettable.”
— Christie Olson Day, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books, Mendocino, CA
"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.
About the Author
Emily X.R. Pan currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was originally born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her MFA in fiction from the NYU Creative Writing Program, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Bodega Magazine, and a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi. The Astonishing Color of After is her first novel. Visit Emily online at exrpan.com, and find her on Twitter and Instagram: @exrpan.