3 Starred Reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and School Library Journal
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A New York Public Library 2018 Best Book for Teens
Shortlisted for The Falkirk Red Book Award
Paste Magazine’s “10 of the Best Young Adult Novels of September 2018”
Paste Magazine’s “The 30 Best Young Adult Novels of 2018”
YA Pride September #YAPrideBookClub pick
One of BuzzFeed’s “16 Queer YA Books We Loved in 2018”
Cover designed by Sarah Creech
Three starred reviews for this stunning novel about a mixed race teen who struggles to find her way back to her love of music in the wake of her sister’s death, from the author of the William C. Morris Award finalist Starfish.
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.
Aching, powerful, and unflinchingly honest, Summer Bird Blue explores big truths about insurmountable grief, unconditional love, and how to forgive even when it feels impossible. Published by Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster in 2018.
cw: loss of a sibling, grief, depression, near-drowning
United Kingdom – Ink Road
Croatia – Fokus
“Will leave readers breathless.” — ★ Booklist, starred review
“A strikingly moving book about teenage grief.” — ★ Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A stunning story filled with the healing power of friendship, family, and music. . . . The language is extraordinary.” — ★ School Library Journal, starred review
“A diverse, sensitive and hopeful portrayal of a teen simultaneously struggling with questions of personal identity and difficult external circumstances.” —BookPage
“A lyrical novel about grief, love, and finding oneself again in the wake of a tremendous loss, Summer Bird Blue is a truly special novel.” —Bustle
“Summer Bird Blue boasts Bowman’s gorgeous prose and heartbreaking storytelling in a novel of music, family, love and death. Don’t miss this book (or any book) by Bowman.” —Paste Magazine
“Bowman beautiful captures the complexity of sisterhood and grief, depicting characters and relationships that aren’t simple or perfect, but flawed and authentic. Her writing is lovely, her storytelling honest, and her characters frighteningly relatable. Summer Bird Blue is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read this year. It grabs your heart and won’t let go.” —Book Riot
“Summer Bird Blue delivers a laudable exploration of love in all its forms, grief in all its shades, and identity in all its complexities.” —Medium
“In Summer Bird Blue, Bowman dives into the sea of grief with her protagonist and celebrates the kinds of love that are eclipsed all too often by romance in fiction. With this remarkable book, she has cemented her position as one of the most progressive and insightful authors of her generation.”—Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Season series
“Achingly beautiful and exquisitely crafted, Summer Bird Blue is an emotionally raw and utterly honest story about loss, about hope, and about finding the courage to sing your own song. Akemi Dawn Bowman’s writing is lyrical and full of life. I was riveted from the first page.” —Samira Ahmed, New York Times bestselling author of Love, Hate & Other Filters
“Summer Bird Blue is a quiet but powerful exploration of music and love, and their ability to heal grief over time. Like my favorite sad songs, this book settled deep into my heart and refused to let go.” —Brandy Colbert, author of Little & Lion and Finding Yvonne
“Summer Bird Blue brings us the gift of Rumi, unflinchingly honest in herself, her music and the ways she loves and doesn’t. I got (sobbingly) lost in the rhythms of this beautiful exploration of what it means to grieve when you haven’t figured out who you are or your place in the world. With a Hawaiian setting so vividly alive that it becomes essential to Rumi’s healing, this is a gut-wrenching, must-read novel.” —S.K. Ali, award-winning author of Saints and Misfits
“A beautifully complex exploration of grief, guilt, and the healing power of art and friendship. Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Summer Bird Blue will make your heart ache and leave your soul hopeful.” —Ashley Herring Blake, author of Suffer Love and Girl Made of Stars