The Astonishing Color of After

  • Type: Books
  • By: Emily X.R. Pan
  • Age Category: Teens
  • Genre: General Fiction
  • Recommended by: Eyal S.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9780316463997
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A gorgeous look at grief, ghosts, folklore, and family.

After her mother’s death (and subsequent transformation into a bird - Lee knows this to be true, even if her father disagrees), Lee travels to Taiwan for the first time to meet her maternal grandparents. Over the course of her short trip, she learns more about her mother’s hidden past and her own family history than she could have ever imagined.
In this magical realism tale, Pan brings Taiwan to life through her descriptions, and shares a view on the afterlife that was completely new to me, even though I like to think of myself as fairly well-read. It was fascinating to discover how cleverly she had woven folklore through the story itself, all while jumping between times and realities. This is a hard read, just because the initial momentum is created by such a tragic event, but it’s also a really beautiful read.