You guys. YOU GUYS. In an unexpected turn of events, I was lucky enough to read three different March releases early (at least, technically) and the final release is Emily X. R. Pan’s debut novel The Astonishing Colour Of After!
I’ve mentioned before how I basically blame Jackie for getting me interested in this book in the first place and I’m starting to think that I need to trust Jackie’s taste in books more often because any book I’ve read that she read and enjoyed first? I ended up enjoying too!
And now, before I ramble on for too much longer, let’s just jump into this review, shall we?
In The Astonishing Colour Of After, we fellow Leigh Chen Sanders, a teenage girl who – at the time of her mother’s suicide, is in the basement of her best friend Axel’s house kissing said best friend. After leaving abruptly and coming home, she finds out that her mother has committed suicide.
Leigh believes wholeheartedly that her mother is visiting her in the form of a big red bird which leads Leigh to travel to Taiwan to try and find her mother, the bird. During her time in Taiwan, Leigh gets to know her maternal grandparents and her families past while racing to find her mother.
Going into this book, I was convinced that I would have the most difficult time reading it because reading about children suffering after something horrible happens to their parents is one of the things I tend to avoid usually – especially if I know that something happens to the parent as was the case for this book.
But what won out for me was the fact that I wanted to know how Leigh’s search for her mother was going to play out. And I have to say, I truly enjoyed everything about this story.
Leigh is a talented artist, a great friend to both Axel and Caro, a caring daughter to her mother and at times resentful of her father for the way he treats her and her art. And while Leigh does her best to be there for her mother, she often feels suffocated by the atmosphere at home when her mother is going through more severe phases (is this the right word to use here?) in her depression.
Another characteristic that I think really defines Leigh is her determination and need to do things perfectly. This is something that is evident in her art as well as her approach to her trip to Taiwan and what she needs to accomplish while she’s there.
The Astonishing Colour Of After introduces us to a family that has such an interesting history and you can’t help but feel with these people and what they’ve been through over the years – especially later on! And while I would love to talk more about each of the family members I feel like that would spoil too much of this book and I want you guys to be able to experience all of it for yourself.
You guys. The last two debut novels that I read for 2018 have honestly blown my expectations so far out of the park with their writing! I look at both Tomi Adeyemi and Emily X. R. Pan and I wonder what else they have in store for all of us with any of their future books because if their debuts are this good??? Whatever is coming next is most likely going to be even better and we’ll be in for quite the treat!
Emily X. R. Pan uses colors a lot to describe feelings and events in this book and while that’s usually something that would turn me away from a story (it’s just usually not my cup of tea) that never once happened here! The colors were such an integral part of how Leigh sees the world around her that you as the reader just adapted to that worldview too and went with it. No questions asked.
The writing in this was so quick and easy to follow that I often found myself flipping page after digital page and couldn’t find a natural stopping point for myself. I mean, if you’re in that zone you’re in that zone, right?
I’m pretty sure I’ve shared some of my struggles with reading a book myself before, right? And how it will take me longer to finish a book if I’m doing the reading rather than have someone read the book to me via audiobook? That wasn’t the case here either.
While I read the book from the 15th to the 20th of March, I actually read it in just three days which is my usual amount of time to finish reading a book once I fully get into it and that was the case with this one from the very beginning! I actually talked about how I had spent two hours reading this book but those two hours just flew by without me even noticing it. And if that isn’t a sign of a fantastic book I don’t know what is.
I can almost guarantee you guys that if you pick this book up you’ll find yourself sucked into it from the beginning and before you know it, you’ll have shed a few tears (or outright sobbed) while making your way through the last 50-ish pages and you’ll wonder where all that time went! But it’s going to worth it, I promise.
Before I wrap this review up and leave you guys with some links where you can (and most definitely should) purchase this book, I want to make sure that you are aware that this book deals with depression and suicide. Both are topics that are talked about throughout the entire book and I want to make sure that you know about it before you go into it.
If you find yourself struggling at any point while reading this book, the author included a bunch of resources in her Author’s Note at the end of the book so please make sure you reach out to someone if you need to!
Where To Get The Book
How about you guys? Did you get a chance to read The Astonishing Colour Of After already? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t read it yet, are you planning on reading it? And if not, what do I need to do to make you read it? Let me know in the comments below!