My #PreFridayReads pick today probably won’t come as any surprise. If you know me even just a little, you know I love magical stories. And family stories. And love stories. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan is all of that and more.
This gorgeously written debut novel follows Leigh Chen Sanders in the months after her mother’s suicide. Plagued by guilt (she was kissing her best friend at the time), Leigh is convinced her mother has come back to her as a mysterious red bird that sends her on a journey to Taiwan to meet her mom’s estranged parents. But that’s when things get really interesting. Mementos that should no longer exist and incense that brings memories to life right before Leigh’s eyes reveal her family’s past–and maybe a little insight into her mom’s depression.
As she delves deeper into her family’s secrets, Leigh starts to question everything she knows about her life. If she ever wants to move past her grief, she’ll have to find a way to let her mother go. And open her heart to those closest to her. Magical and moving, this story of coming out on the other side of loss is a must-read!
Susan Bishop Crispell earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Born and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, she now lives twenty minutes from the beach in North Carolina with her husband and their literary-named cat. She is very fond of pie and is always on the lookout for hints of magic in the real world. She is the author of THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES (2016) and DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE (2018).