Title: Summer Bird Blue
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Date: September 11th 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
After reading Akemi Dawn Bowman’s debut novel Starfish (read my review here), I fell in love with this author. I couldn’t not read her new book: Summer Bird Blue. It’s a YA contemporary novel who follows Rumi during the months right after her sister’s death. She has been sent away to Hawaii by her mother and she has to learn to live with half of her heart gone while trying to regain her love and passion for music, a thing she shared with Lea.
After losing her sister, Rumi can’t forgive her mum for abandoning her and for not being there when she needed it the most. She admired the only person she could share her secrets with and always took care of Lea. They had dreams: they wanted to become famous with their music. But now everything has changed. Rumi’s desperate to learn how to cope with her being alone.
Music is what makes up the single soul we share. I don’t think I’ll ever find another person in the entire world who understands me the way Lea does. We’re the only two people in the universe who speak our language.
But there were many people who stayed near her: Mr. Watanabe with his expressionless personality, Kay with his straightforwardness and his smile, Aunt Ani with her love for her family. They were all important secondary characters that influenced and helped her in her journey.
You know, I feel very similar to Rumi: we both have a fire inside us. It’s like the world is set on breaking us and we’re nothing but rage and sadness. We bite through our hardships and we break when things don’t go according to us. Plus she’s asexual and aromantic.
Another character highly relevant to the story is her mother. She didn’t appear in more than half of the book, but through her daughter’s thoughts and flashback, I came to be awed by her perseverance, her strength and by how much she loved her two babies.
Summer Bird Blue is unapologetic and raw, it explores the pain from losing a family member and it leaves you with a bittersweet taste in your mouth. But it also makes you smile and cry because deep down, you can’t stop yourself from loving the novel.
Because I’m no longer Rumi Seto, the girl who believed she’d conquer the world armed with a piano and her best friend at her side. I’ve turned into someone else–someone unstable. I’ve run out of reasons to wake up every morning.
I’ve become a corrupted version of myself–a version everyone seems to think is on the brink of self-destruction.
This novel tells the story of a girl who was once lost and of how she found the light again. It tells the story of a family that was once broken and of how it learned to be united. I give Summer Bird Blue 5 out of 5 stars.
About the author
Akemi Dawn Bowman is the author of Starfish (a William C. Morris Award Finalist) and Summer Bird Blue (out September 11th, 2018). She’s a proud Ravenclaw and Star Wars enthusiast, who served in the US Navy for five years and has a BA in social sciences from UNLV. Originally from Las Vegas, she currently lives in Scotland with her husband, two children, and their Pekingese mix. She is represented by Penny Moore of Aevitas Creative Management.