Title: The Astonishing Colour of After
Author: Emily X. R. Pan
Pages: 480 Pages
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: ‘I want you to remember’. Leigh doesn’t know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.
Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died – leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn’t home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.
Overwhelmed by grief, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.
With lyrical prose and magical elements, Emily X.R. Pan’s stunning debut novel alternates between past and present, romance and despair, as one girl attempts to find herself through family history, art, friendship, and love.
The loss of a parent is something that I find unthinkable. I have been lucky, I am well into my thirties and both of my parents are still alive so I find stories with this as its premise really hard to take. It just seems so unjustifiably unfair.
It is this premise that The Astonishing Colour of After follows. Our protagonist, Leigh, is dealing with the death of her mother. Suffering with depression, Leigh’s mum took her own life and Leigh embarks on a journey to find out about her past on her mother’s side. It is a journey that takes her to the other side of the world, to a family she has never met before to figure out just who her mum was.
The Astonishing Colour of After is an interesting story, one that is both uplifting and devastating at the same time.
For more information regarding Emily X. R. Pan (@exrpan) please visit instagram.com/exrpan.
For more information regarding Orion Children’s Books (@the_orionstar) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.