Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Summer Bird Blue” as Want to Read:
Summer Bird Blue
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Summer Bird Blue

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,885 ratings  ·  1,024 reviews
Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with he
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Simon Pulse
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Summer Bird Blue, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Melanie At first Rumi is asked out by her neighbor, but she discovers that she is asexual after going on a date with him.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,885 ratings  ·  1,024 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Summer Bird Blue
Alice Oseman
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a crucial book on loss. Raw, real, and deeply hopeful, SUMMER BIRD BLUE follows Rumi Seto on her path to healing in idyllic Hawaii with the help of a grumpy old man and a bubbly new friend. This book has solidly secured Akemi as one of my favourite contemporary YA authors - I will read anything Akemi Dawn Bowman writes.

The stand-out element of this book for me was the aro-ace representation in Rumi, the likes of which I have never seen before (the only ace rep I've found in contemporary
daph pink ♡
Apr 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-authors, queer
“Grief is a monster - not everyone gets out alive, and those who do might only survive in pieces. But it's a monster that can be conquered, with time.”

Summer Bird Blue is about Rumi, who goes to live with her aunt in Hawaii, in order to give her mom the space and time she needs to process the death of Rumi’s younger sister, Lea. Rumi struggles to function after the loss of her sister. She couldn't write and play the music that once played a central role in her life. With the help of her aunt
destiny ♡ howling libraries
Wow, I am so glad to finally be posting this review! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC pretty far in advance and devoured it immediately, because I loved Starfish so much, but I gotta tell you guys, this book? It blows Starfish out of the water. This was one of the most heartbreaking, gorgeous stories I have ever read, and there is so much diversity I could honestly yell about it forever.

“I don’t want to hold hands, or flirt, or… kiss. And I don’t feel like I’m somehow less whole because
may ➹
4.5 stars

okay. I cried. and I rarely cry over any book

Akemi always writes the most beautiful, personal, meaningful, hard-hitting stories and this is just another one of them. this one in particular means a lot to me because I have a younger sister and seeing Rumi go through the loss of her sister made me so emotional

this is truly truly beautiful and I can’t wait for all of you to read it 💙💙

(note: Rumi is mainly questioning throughout the book. at the end, she figures that she would likely identi
elena ❀
Jul 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Grief is a monster—not everyone gets out alive, and those who do might only survive in pieces. But it’s a monster that can be conquered, with time.

I don’t think I will ever be able to fully describe how this book made me feel.

If you know me well, you know 5 stars are tricky for me, but I can’t deny the fact that Summer Bird Blue ticked off all the boxes, showing me an emotional and hopeful journey of a girl who gives herself a second chance at living. And let me tell you that I loved
Charlotte May
“Of course it’s dark. Life is dark. It doesn’t care about anyone. Yours just hasn’t gone to shit yet.”


This was an emotional read, but so full of love and hope.
Rumi and her sister Leah are best friends, they both love music and plan to spend their future forming a band and making music together.
Their plans are destroyed when Leah dies in a car accident. Suddenly Rumi is lost. Why Leah? She was so much more likeable than Rumi, what was the point?

Rumi’s mother can’t cope and she sends her awa
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

I strum my fingers, the familiar sound of Lea’s guitar filling the street like the scent of gardenias when I first landed in Hawaii. Mellow. Sweet. But with all the heart of an island.

I close my eyes and sing.

I woke up alone
abandoned in this space you left.
I tried to find you
and fill the hole inside my chest.
I wanted you to stay;
I tried to find a way,
and I did.
I trapped you here
with all my pain.
We became a monster
I couldn’t explain.
I needed you to stay;
I had to make you stay,
so I did.
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

“Some people are meant to be forever, like Lea and me. And other people come into your life for a reason— you help each other figure shit out and come to terms with complicated feelings that you can’t process on your own.”

🌟 I picked up this book as a recommendation by Noura for my 10 bloggers, 10 recommendations challenge. I should be honest that this is a review you may want to take with a grain of salt becaus
This was a tragic and sad story about a teenage girl named Rumi who loses her sister Lea very suddenly in a car accident. Rumi and her sister were best friends and they often wrote songs together, and when her sister died they were in the middle of writing the song “Summer Bird Blue”. Over the summer as Rumi deals with an unimaginable amount of grief she makes it her mission to finish the song her sister would have wanted her to finish. Her Mom sends her away to Hawaii for the summer to stay wit ...more
Drcong O '
I want to cut this lump out of my throats because what the fuck, Bowman, I didn't sign up. Actually I did but HDJJDDJFJF IM SAD.

this book is amazing and bye no review IM SAD

another buddy read with my fave, Maggie because Starfish made us cry and I know for a fact this one will too. Can't wait to have my heart ripped out and stomped on. 😔✊🏼
I am now convinced that I should read all of Akemi Dawn Bowman's books or else I would regret life.

Once again, Akemi had made me cry. 👏

“You can’t rush creativity. It’s like the rain. You wait and wait and wait, and when it finally comes, it soaks the earth and revives all the plants.”

Summer Bird Blue is very close to my heart. It's about a girl, grieving her sister in Hawaii after her mom sent her away to her aunt. There she met her neighbors, an old grouchy man and a too care free teenage
Oct 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Loved the representation of grief, friendship, and aromanticism in Summer Bird Blue. The novel follows a young woman named Remi who loses her sister Leah in a car accident. Akemi Dawn Bowman portrays Remi’s grief in a realistic and uncompromising way, ranging from her lashing out at close loved ones, distrusting newer social connections, and over time starting to heal. Remi’s messiness mirrored the messiness of grief. Toward the end of the novel I found myself getting a little emotional about th ...more
Lea (drumsofautumn)
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-done
Video Review

Summer Bird Blue is an intense Contemporary novel that deals with grief in a way that I have never come across before.

“Because to Lea and me, music wasn't only about sounds. Music was scenery and smells and tastes and magic, too. But it doesn't feel like magic anymore – it feels like I'm being haunted.”

At the centre of this novel is Rumi, who, after losing her sister Lea in a car accident, gets sent away to live with her aunt in Hawaii, while her mum deals with he
julianna ➹
pls be as good as Starfish

// canceled buddy read with the brit 💖 bc neither of us could access the file through our computers rip
Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

Thank you Simon Pulse for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Akemi Dawn Bowan wrote the most beautiful and heart wrenching book I think I have ever read. When I read the synopsis I immediately requested the book. I hardly ever read contemporary books but something about this one drew me. Probably the best decision of my life.

The most amazing story ever written. I felt so many emotions when I read this book. There was sadness, anger, pain and love. A book that manage
I hope Akemi Dawn Bowman has a good life and her flowers are watered and the sun shines down on her, because she’s such a gorgeous writer. This book made me both smile and cry, and it was really wonderful. It’s about grief, but it’s not harrowing to a point of overall depression, and it’s got moments of beauty that make you smile.

The whole novel actually made me very nostalgic for Hawaii - the warm air and the scent of lingering flowers and the sand between your toes and the lapping waves. The
♛ may
book #9 done for the contemporary-a-thon under the challenge of: read the most recent contemporary book you purchased/acquired.

- rumi is an unlikable character, she is brash and blunt and i appreciated how unique her character is
- the writing is very easy to read through, it's captivating without being excessively wordy or prose-y
- the way the grief was expressed felt AUTHENTIC, it may have even hurt my heart to read sometimes
- i love the relationship between rumi and lea :(
- it takes
R.F. Kuang
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I read Akemi Dawn Bowman’s debut novel Starfish, I was blown away by the vivid imagery, the painfully accurate portrayals of mental illness and broken families, and the intense rollercoaster of emotions that had me riveted from start to finish. Bowman’s Summer Bird Blue is even better.

Summer Bird Blue is first and foremost novel about grief, loss, and healing. Rumi and Lea Seto are sisters with a beautiful relationship; they laugh, they fight, and they bond through their music. (My own sist
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I didn't like it, simple as that. I didn't connect with the story, especially because I hated Rumi so much... She is so angry at everything... ok girl, I get it, your world just turn upside down, but it was necessary to be that mean, selfish and asshole to everybody? And the worst is not that you can think "ok, she's grieving, she has right to be mad", NO, she was mean, angry, selfish and bad with everyone before the accident. And then she's "oh poor me, I was mean with my sister, I don't
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
A wish is a wish after all.
Summer Bird Blue is an emotional journey of anger, grief, loss and healing. After unexpectedly losing her sister and best friend Lea, Rumi Seto is angry at the world and doesn’t know how to move on. Moving to Hawaii for the summer wasn’t part of the plan, but she’s determined to find a way to honor Lea’s memory and move on at the same time, so Rumi turns to their shared love of music and discovers a power she didn’t know existed.

Things I Liked
I loved Ru
✨    jami   ✨
Starfish is one one of the BEST books I've read in 2017 and I could not be more excited to see more from Akemi Dawn Bowman ...more
Wow. This book was stunning. It took my heart and shattered it into a million pieces, and then it healed it again. This book was gorgeous and amazing and I'm just completely blown away.

I don't even know how to review this book.

I don't think I am capable of reviewing this book.

Summer Bird Blue is a masterpiece. It's heartbreak, and it's healing. Its beautiful. Really truly beautiful.

Akemi Dawn Bowman is an amazing writer. The writing is spectacular! Really really spectacular.

And the characters we
Schizanthus Nerd
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sorry in advance for the ramble. I’m still an emotional wreck from this book so this review may not be overly coherent.

I knew I’d have to read everything Akemi Dawn Bowman ever writes when I fell in love with Starfish, which I reviewed here. With Summer Bird Blue Akemi has confirmed her place as one of my favourite authors.

Rumi is one of the most acerbic characters I’ve loved in a long time. She’s angry, she’s confused, she’s mean, she feels guilty as hell. Lea, the g
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman is an emotional story of loss, life, and music. When Rumi's sister, Lea, dies in a horrific car accident, Rumi is left to pick up the pieces of her life. Abandoned by her mother, Rumi spends her summer in Hawaii with her aunt, trying to figure out how to live without her sister. Along the way she befriends the neighbors--Kai, the boy next door, and Uncle George, an elderly man who has experienced his own share of losses. 

My goodness, what amazing piece of li
Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Edit October 2020
It's been two years since I've read this book and reviewed it as an own-voices aromantic asexual reviewer.

This is still an asexual own-voices review. I'm actually even more sure of my asexuality now than when I read it, even found the right label for me - demisexual. But I no longer identify as aromantic.

It turns out I'm actually hella gay. So take this review with a grain of salt. This book still holds a special place in my heart as the first time I truly related to a chara
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary from Goodreads

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being
Clara (The Bookworm of Notre-Dame)
Even though I am definitely not aromantic, this is the first time I saw my sexuality being *exactly* represented. And I am deeply grateful for that. (Also, I cried. A lot.)
Kathy - Books & Munches
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As with Starfish, the writing was beautiful once again. Bowman writes in a way that draws me in immediately, which makes reading her work a feat. Of course.. We have to take in consideration the way her writing also succeeds at hitting me in the feels every single time. It's only the second book of hers I've read, but I can tell she has a knack for grabbing my heart and squeezing it, twisting it, turning it, breaking it in the best ways possible. The stories living in her head are ones that spea ...more
Claudie Arseneault
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aromantic, asexual, lgbt, ya, aoc
tw (which i forgot in my coffee-less state this morning) : car accident, sibling death, grief, panic attacks, drowning

This was fantastic. A bit of a slow start, but by the end I couldn't let go. I loved Rumi's relationships with her two neighbours, but especially with Mr. Watanabe. 💜 Oh and the descriptions of music are just amazing? Really nice.

Massive props for the asexual rep, too. It's woven throughout the story as an important part of Rumi (rather than 'mentioned one then never again'). At
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow! This one’s heavy but so wonderfully written. Starfish has a special place in my heart so this was an auto buy for me and I was not disappointed.

Rumi loses her sister/best friend in an instant and then is sent to her Aunts while her mother handles her own grief.

Rumi feels abandoned and she takes her anger out on everyone around her. Her anger and selfishness don’t always make her the most likable character but it felt like a realistic portrayal of how a hurting teenager would react to such a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tash Hearts Tolstoy
  • Let's Talk About Love
  • Loveless
  • Brave Enough (Brave Enough, #1)
  • I Was Born for This
  • Beyond the Black Door
  • Little Black Bird
  • How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual
  • The Liars of Mariposa Island
  • Scars Like Wings
  • Tarnished Are the Stars
  • Summer of No Regrets
  • The Resolutions
  • Radio Silence
  • The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake
  • Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating
  • Alex in Wonderland
  • Patron Saints of Nothing
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Akemi Dawn Bowman is a critically-acclaimed author who writes across genres. Her novels have received multiple accolades and award nominations, and her debut novel, STARFISH, was a William C. Morris Award Finalist. She has a BA in social sciences from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and currently lives in Scotland with her family. She overthinks everything, including this bio. You can find Ak ...more

Articles featuring this book

If you like books about queer kids falling in love and having adventures, you're in for quite the treat this month. June brings a great...
54 likes · 38 comments
“Some people are meant to be forever, like Lea and me. And other people come into your life for a reason— you help each other figure shit out and come to terms with complicated feelings that you can't process on your own.” 15 likes
“And maybe that’s like life. You live for a moment—one single moment. And then you don’t matter. Because there are years of the past and years of the future, and we’re all simply one tiny blip in time—a surge of water waiting to leave our mark on the sand, only to have it washed away by the waves that come after us. And Lea, with her brief, tiny wave. She didn’t get to make a mark. If she’d had more time, she would have been a hurricane.” 15 likes
More quotes…