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The Astonishing Color of After

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  7,944 ratings  ·  1,978 reviews
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 ne
Hardcover, 462 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Vee ♔Under Mountain Books♔ Not even close. This is an incredibly well handled book about depression and it's clear that the author understands what she is talking about. I…moreNot even close. This is an incredibly well handled book about depression and it's clear that the author understands what she is talking about. I highly recommend it!(less)
Emily Pan Yes, it is! The audiobook will be released at the same time.
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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
I'm kind of in awe of this book. It was beautifully written and it both broke and mended my heart.
Emily May
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Depression, I opened my mouth to say, but the word refused to take shape. Why was it so hard to talk about this? Why did my mother’s condition feel like this big secret?
“She’s forgotten how to be happy,” I told him.

As you can see from the picture I shared on instagram, this book was so quotable. There were so many beautiful thoughts, emotions and moments captured perfectly with words.

I probably wouldn't have read The Astonishing Color of After if I hadn't noticed it on my library's new relea
شيماء ✨
This book made me CRY.

C: cry
R: right now, I'm going to cry
Y: yeah, that's right, I'm crying

The Astonishing Color of After is the kind of book that guts you, and buoys you, rips out your heart and gives it back somehow bigger. I've been putting off writing this review for many days, because the inside of me still clenches with the memory of what I've read, and I didn't anticipate how hard it would be to keep control of all my tethers long enough to articulate all that's burgeoning within me.

Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
TW: suicide, depression

Such a beautiful debut! The writing was exquisite, I really cared for the characters, and I loved learning more about Chinese/Taiwanese culture! It was a fully immersive read that was definitely heartbreaking, but beautiful overall. The magical realism/religion element was excellently executed. Really enjoyed this one! My only complaint is it was a teensy bit too long IMO (though it did really insanely fast for the most part).

“If he looked in my eyes straight on, he would know how he’d pierced me with an arrow, how its shaft was still sticking out of my chest, twitching each time my heart contracted. And maybe he’d see how my mother had sliced up everything else.”

This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s powerful, moving, poignant, lyrical, important, and touched me beyond words. From the discussion about mental health and the stigmas we still have in 2018 (especially in Asian
4.5 stars.

Some books you read because they’re not unpleasant or you don’t have a choice in the matter.

Other books you read because your body naturally gravitates to them, and for the sake of your sanity, you simply give in.

This is one of those books. The writing is so evocative that you will feel the intensity of everything the main character goes through to the marrow of your bones and be able to picture it all in your mind like a movie.

Normally, a story this long and slow would take me aroun
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Once upon a time we were the standard colors of a rainbow, cheery and certain of ourselves. At some point, we all began to stumble into the in-betweens, the murky colors made dark and complicated by resentment and quiet anger. At some point, my mother slid so off track she sank into hues of gray, a world drawn only in shadows.

This deserved its spot on the NYT bestsellers list. Actually, it deserved higher and to stay longer.

First of all, the writing is the best. This is contemporary fabulism
Emily Pan
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I guess I should maybe give my own book five stars?


THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list and the Indie Bestseller list! It's been nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in TWO categories: Best Debut Author and Best Young Adult Fiction!

It also was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top twelve books of the season, was #5 on the INDIE NEXT list, a Junior Library Guild selection, a Book of the Month Club
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
I'm proud of my Asian heritage. That said, there are some things upon which the Asian culture can improve in general, and one of the major issues is how we treat mental illness. It is a stigma. It is ignored until one explodes. Even in the US, Asian-American women have a high rates of suicide because of how unwilling we are to talk about our problem, and the unwillingness of our family to confront it.

There have been numerous suicides among famous actors and musicians in countries like Japan and
C.G. Drews
Ohhhh this was emotional and super super sad and yet entirely gorgeously written. We have utterly been bLESSED by the existence of this author and her words and afjkdslad I want to read everything she ever writes. I absolutely love how the emotions were told in colours here. It made me just want to swim in a bucket of paint tbh. Right after I finished swimming in mY TEARS. I actually don't cry while reading, but I felt that hot prickle of tears behind my eyes on actual page 3. So. This one is em ...more
Larry H
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up.

Lyrical, emotionally powerful, even fantastical at times, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning, poignant look at grief, family, love, and secrets that packs a real punch, and leaves you with gorgeous images in your mind.

"We try so hard to make these little time capsules. Memories strung up just so, like holiday lights, casting the perfect glow in the perfect tones. But that picking and choosing what to look at, what to put on display—that's not the true nature of
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Once upon a time we were the standard colors of a rainbow, cheery and certain of ourselves. At some point, we all began to stumble into the in-betweens, the murky colors made dark and complicated by resentment and quiet anger. At some point, my mother slid so off track she sank into hues of gray, a world drawn only in shadows.

Contemporary and magical realism, a strange combination that does not happen often. First book I ever read that included magical realism was Like What For Chocolate but
Trust me, no one's more disappointed than me because y'all don't know how bad I wanted to love this book!! I was just so bored during the middle 200 pages of this book because it's a very slow book + there was a lot of girl hate that annoyed me so much. But despite that, it's still an important and good book.

This is a book about a girl whose mother has committed suicide. Leigh is suffering the loss of her mother, who she sees as a bird after her mother's death. This bird wants Leigh to travel to
destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, and it completely and utterly wrecked me. In case you aren’t aware, major trigger warnings for suicide and mental illness in the book and this review—proceed with caution and take care of yourself. ♥

My mother is free in the sky. She doesn’t have the burden of a human body, is not made up of a single dot of gray. My mother is a bird.

First of all, the writing in this book is stunning. It’s got this beautifully magical,
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
can we all just take a moment to appreciate that this is a debut??!!? like, honestly. i am the astonishing colour of impressed. this book definitely didnt read like it was an authors first work. this was magic. just the imagery alone was outstanding - it showcased dealing with grief in such beautiful and colourful way! i really hope emily pan chooses to write another book because i need more of her writing!

4.5 stars
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book hit home for me. From Leigh losing her mom to how she had to grow up being biracial. Just a beautiful and heartfelt story.
may ➹
Mar 16, 2018 marked it as need-to-finish
this is not a bad book

it’s not!! I’m enjoying it!!!

however, it is VERY slow (since it is focused around Leigh’s grief), and usually, I’m fine with slow books. but I can currently feel myself on the edge of a slump and I will not let a slow book drag me down into that hellhole, so for now, this book is on hold


I mean, I’m not saying that I’m still in disbelief that one of my most anticipated 2018 releases is in my hands, or that I’m dropping everything
ilsa ➹
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
update 06/07/2018: i have re-written my review because my previous one did not do this book justice. this one doesn't either but in my last review, i held back. in this one, i don't hold back. i open up about why this book means the world to me and more.

I cannot physically put my emotions into words to explain to you how much I loved this book. However; I shall try to for the sake of the people who read my reviews and for the sake of the world; you all need to read this book because it simply
may ❀

im legit more disappointment in this book than i am in the world cup okay maybe thats a sliiiiight exaggeration

this book started off SOSOSOSOSO GOOD but it was SO long and i started to find the writing grow so TEDIOUS and then the mystic plot just began to overwhelm everything and i just wasn't feeling it gahhhh im so sad.

i wish it was more contemporary than mystic bc the magic realism aspect made me more confused and underwhelmed than anything. i felt like the grief and sadness got overshadow
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and heartbreaking. Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year, and definitely a new favourite.
Nov 19, 2018 marked it as to-read
It sounds so heartbreaking.
Joshee Kun (조수아)
There's no point in wishing. We can't change anything about the past. We can only remember. We can only move forward.

Last December, many K-pop fans (myself included) were distraught when SHINee's Jonghyun committed suicide. Following this tragedy, EXO's Baekhyun was criticized for saying that he didn't know why people get depressed. These events in the K-pop world piqued my interest and made me realize that depression isn't something that shouldn't be taken lightly, especially now that more and

My mother is a bird. This isn’t like some William Faulkner stream-of-consciousness metaphorical crap. My mother. Is literally. A bird.

First of all, I love the quote above; such a phenomenal and humorous way to start a novel.

Wow, okay, this book went through so many ups and downs. But it doesn’t matter because it ended up being more unique and touching than I thought it would/could be -- and I couldn't be any happier by that!

The opening chapters of this novel are probably my favorite part
Lily ☁️

Basically, I ditched all my would-be current reads and everything else in my life for this book (with Hamiltrash #1’s blessing), and it kind of (?) lived up to being one of my most anticipated 2018 releases. (rtc)

Pretty, pretty please, let me love this.


A female, half-Asian main character, a storyline set in Taiwan (!!!), and elements of magical realism, combined with lyrical prose—have my drea
Yusra  ✨
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
that was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read in my life. it was stunning. I don’t have words.

review to come when I can breathe again

I am ready to be torn apart.

buddy read with Caidyn and Melanie!
Closer to a 4.5 stars
"Memory is mean thing, slicing at you from the harshest angles, dipping your consciousness into the wrong colors again and again."

Wow, this book was gorgeously written and heart-breaking and amazing. This story follows a young girl named Leigh who has just discovered her mother has killed herself. This story is about her discovering her families history that she never knew about, and going to her Mother's birth place, and dealing with an absurd amount of grief. This book m
Terrie's Just Another Book B*tch

For those familiar with the book... I have to share this picture. I read this on the beach during vacation and this crane decided to hang out with me! Those having read this book know the significance of the crane how amazing this is!!


If someone asked me to describe this book in one word I'd have to say Heartbreaking.

This hypnotic tale of tragedy is interwoven with a mystical aspect along with a light kiss romance and a book that I will live
Candace Robinson
Lovely writing but too much color talk!
shady boots | #WatchPOSE
Here is my mother, with wings instead of hands, and feathers instead of hair. Here is my mother, the reddest of brilliant reds, the color of my love and my fear, all of my fiercest feelings trailing after her in the sky like the tail of a comet.

Trigger Warning: Suicide, depression

It's strange to think that this whole time I had just been reading words on a screen, cause this book feels like a giant canvas where literally every color imaginable splashes onto it. Some people will probably be a
Liz Barnsley
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is simply incredible. I absorbed it into my soul and cried like a baby when I finished it. I then put it on my review list and it’s taken me a while to come back to tell you all about it, but here I am.

“How could a person like her be depressed? She was full of energy and life and passion. The word depressed made me think of this group of kids at school who wore all black and thick eyeliner and listened to angry music and never showed their teeth. The ones who people sometimes called em
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Emily X.R. Pan lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her MFA from NYU, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She is co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology, a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi, and a 2019 Artist-in-Residence at Caldera. She logs the books she reads in an Excel spreadsheet.
“There's no point in wishing. We can't change anything about the past. We can only remember. We can only move forward.” 66 likes
“Once you figure out what matters, you'll figure out how to be brave.” 54 likes
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