Evie Braithwaite's Reviews > Summer Bird Blue

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
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really liked it
bookshelves: 4-5-stars, arc, contemporary, cover-appreciation, fiction, young-adult

4.5 stars

I'm pretty sure there are still remnants of mascara tears on my face from finishing this book. This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story about a teenager struggling to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life.

Rumi spends her summer in idyllic Hawaii with her aunt and is trying to make sense of the world now that her sister and best friend, Lea, has been taken from it. The writing style was light and lyrical and I found Rumi's pain so tangible.

Summer Bird Blow is a profound exploration of grief and loss. Feeling lost and abandoned, Rumi’s angry. Bowman conveys her conflicting emotions and watching her lash out on others and struggle to deal with her feelings makes her feel all the more realistic. She can't fathom a life without her sister; what does she eat, who should she love, how can she possibly go on now that the only person who truly understood her is gone? Healing is no linear journey, yet watching her progress over the entire summer was incredible. Although it was an arduous effort, she learns to manage and understand her emotions. She learns to rekindle her passion for music. It's the answer she was so desperately searching for.

What’s more, Summer Bird Blue highlights the importance of seeking help and letting others in. Rumi is stubborn in her determination to remain isolated in the dark and initially vilifies those who are trying to support her. However, eventually, she learns to accept support. Two relationships I enjoyed watching blossom were that with the boy next door, Kai, and the grumpy old man Mr. Watanabe. These friendships don’t ‘cure’ Rumi, but the impact they have on her makes her realise that there is still a life out there for her. She’s might never be completely okay. And that’s fine.

Overall, this was a tear-jerking, hard-hitting, but ultimately, awe-inspiring read. Rather than her misery being quickly rectified, Bowman's depiction of the grieving process is raw and realistic. There's diversity, complex familial relationships, friendships, hurting and healing. I know I'll always be recommending this book to anyone who loves hard-hitting contemporary.

Thanks to Black & White Publishing for sending me a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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Reading Progress

July 1, 2018 – Shelved
July 1, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
March 21, 2019 – Started Reading
March 21, 2019 –
page 75
March 23, 2019 – Finished Reading
March 24, 2019 – Shelved as: 4-5-stars
March 24, 2019 – Shelved as: arc
March 24, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
March 24, 2019 – Shelved as: cover-appreciation
March 24, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
March 24, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult

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