Title: Summer Bird Blue
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Genre: Young adult: Contemporary
Publication Date: September 11th 2018
My Rating: 5/5 stars
“I use the sandwich method. A compliment, followed by my real thoughts, follwed by a compliment.”
“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 abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.”
First of all, this cover is GORGEOUS! I am obsessed with Akemi’s books’ covers as they’re so pretty ad I could stare at the all day. Secondly, this book is just as beautiful inside as it is out. I think it may be one of my all-time favourites. But it definitely will make it into my top 10 reads of 2019.
“There’s nothing wrong with you, Rumi.” She shrugs. “You don’t have to like kissing Caleb. You don’t have to like kissing boys. And you know what? Maybe you don’t eve have to like kissing, period. It doesn’t matter – you’re still just as normal as everyone else.”
THINGS I LIKED:
- The characters, every single one of them was amazing, and complex and I adored getting to know them, especially Rumi. Rumi is very flawed but that’s what makes her human, she’s the complete opposite of most people, but she has a good heart deep down. And honestly, her character inspired me to care more about the people around me, to appreciate them and to appreciate the life I’m given.
- The major theme of this book is grief and though I haven’t dealt with the topic personally, I believe it was explored well and it was very emotional, so I think you really have to be in the right mindset to read this one (yes I may or may not have cried throughout the entirety of the book, it was that emotional but so so good)
- Continuing on the second point, this book was raw and emotional and explored the healing process of grief. It truly felt like we were standing by Rumi’s side and dealing with the grief and healing alongside her. That’s how realistic it felt.
- I absolutely adore Akemi’s writing, something about it is so beautiful and has me hooked. Honestly will read anything by her at this point (so excited for Harley In The Sky!)
- The cast is mostly all PoC, many of which are biracial. And the book is set in Hawaii. So bonus points!
- Rumi is asexual and though I’m still uncertain on placing a label on my own sexuality, I feel like I resonated with Rumi a lot. I understood how she felt and it meant a lot to me to be able to read about someone else having similar thoughts and feelings
- I love the cast though? Kai is pretty prominent in Rumi’s life when she stays in Hawaii, and he’s such a cool and friendly person and I just adore him for being so sweet and understanding. 10/10 need more boys like him in the real world. And also Rumi’s relationship with George, her elderly next door neighbour, and their bond over music is so sweet and heartwarming and pure. They’re friendship was strained at first but it grew and honestly it made me crave for my own grandparents.
- Even though Lea, Rumi’s sister, dies in the beginning, we get to explore the sister bond they had and it was so beautiful. It made me wish for a sister too. Their shared passion for music, their arguments/fights, the way they cared for each other and helped each other through their problems was all so sweet. Can I have a Lea too?
“Grief is only a visitor, but it goin’ stay mo’ longer when it sees you hiding from it.”
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE:
- I don’t even remember having anything bad to say about this book? Other than it made me sob and my parents thought something bad had happened ahahha.
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend this lovely, raw and emotional contemporary novel. It deserves so much more love (Akemi’s books all deserve more love tbh) and I do hope you pick it up!
Have you read Summer Bird Blue yet? If so, what did you think about it. Do you agree or disagree on any of my points? If you haven’t read it, are you planning to read it soon?