Summer Bird Blue
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.

Summer Bird Blue Details

TitleSummer Bird Blue
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 11th, 2018
PublisherSimon Pulse
ISBN-139781481487757
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Lgbt

Summer Bird Blue Review

  • may ➹
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsokay. I cried. and I rarely cry over any bookAkemi always writes the most beautiful, personal, meaningful, hard-hitting stories and this is just another one of them. this one in particular means a lot to me because I have a younger sister and seeing Rumi go through the loss of her sister made me so emotionalthis is truly truly beautiful and I can’t wait for all of you to read it 💙💙(note: Rumi is mainly questioning throughout the book. at the end, she figures that she would likely identi 4.5 starsokay. I cried. and I rarely cry over any bookAkemi always writes the most beautiful, personal, meaningful, hard-hitting stories and this is just another one of them. this one in particular means a lot to me because I have a younger sister and seeing Rumi go through the loss of her sister made me so emotionalthis is truly truly beautiful and I can’t wait for all of you to read it 💙💙(note: Rumi is mainly questioning throughout the book. at the end, she figures that she would likely identify as asexual and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum!)// buddy read with this absolute ANGEL
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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, I am so glad to finally be posting this review! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC pretty far in advance and devoured it immediately, because I loved Starfish so much, but I gotta tell you guys, this book? It blows Starfish out of the water. This was one of the most heartbreaking, gorgeous stories I have ever read, and there is so much diversity I could honestly yell about it forever. “I don’t want to hold hands, or flirt, or… kiss. And I don’t feel like I’m somehow less whole because I Wow, I am so glad to finally be posting this review! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC pretty far in advance and devoured it immediately, because I loved Starfish so much, but I gotta tell you guys, this book? It blows Starfish out of the water. This was one of the most heartbreaking, gorgeous stories I have ever read, and there is so much diversity I could honestly yell about it forever. “I don’t want to hold hands, or flirt, or… kiss. And I don’t feel like I’m somehow less whole because I don’t want to date.” First, let’s go ahead and talk about the diverse representations in this book: Rumi, the narrator, is not only multiracial (Japanese, Hawaiian, and white), but she’s also questioning for the bulk of the book before tentatively coming out as both asexual and aromantic. Among the side characters, everyone is either Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Samoan, Filipino, black, or some combination of the above. The Hawaiian locals also primarily speak Hawaiian pidgin English, which added an incredible touch, especially after having learned that Akemi Dawn Bowman learned to speak it from her own father. 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. Second, you need to know that this is a book almost solely dedicated to processing grief and the loss of a loved one. If you cry at books ever, you should probably have tissues on hand. I was literally sobbing through so many chapters. I don’t have a sibling and don’t know what losing one feels like, but Rumi’s pain is so tangible. As a mother, my heart also broke so much for Rumi’s mother and the obvious struggles she was going through, especially once she was able to talk to Rumi about what had happened and how it was affecting her mental health. Grief is a monster—not everyone gets out alive, and those who do might only survive in pieces. Another thing Summer Bird Blue does so well is its depiction of how trauma affects our mental health, and how important it is to seek help and to not vilify those who need assistance getting through difficult times. Rumi spends much of the book determined to stay in this dark place she’s been sent to by her sister’s death, but we get to watch her learn that it’s necessary to let people in and accept help in healing. On top of that, these side characters are incredible—they all feel so three-dimensional and wonderful, and I would honestly read companion novels about at least six of them. She’s a shell. A ghost. I think her soul climbed into the coffin with Lea. I wish mine had done the same. One thing that I hope everyone will keep in mind while reading Summer Bird Blue as it releases, is that Rumi does come across as a very coldhearted, callous character for much of the book, but she is human and she is grieving. She has lost not only her sister and best friend in the world, but she feels abandoned by her mother as well, and everything has essentially combined to utterly break her by the time she reaches Hawaii’s shores. Music used to be life and hope and everything happy. Now it’s full of ghosts. I think Rumi’s characterization is a poignant reminder that grief can destroy us all in different ways, but just because we lash out doesn’t mean we are bad people—sometimes it just means we don’t have the proper tools to cope with what has happened to us. The most beautiful aspect of her negative behavior, though, is how it gives the people in her life this opportunity to show how important it is, whenever possible, to stay by her side—they don’t give up on her, but offer her their strength and support as much as they can, no differently than any of us would do for our own loved ones. What if music doesn’t belong to me anymore, the way Lea doesn’t belong to this world? I know I’m rambling, and this review has gone on way too long, but this book just meant so much to me and it is imperative that I express to you how badly I want to see it, and Akemi Dawn Bowman’s writing career in general, succeed in every way possible. Please, do yourself a favor: pick up a copy of this book. Pre-order it, ask your library to stock it for you, whatever works—you won’t regret it.All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Simon Pulse for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!---Buddy read with the ever lovable May! 💖
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  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    It feels a bit too early for a review, soooo! Let's just have a quick list of what to expect:☆ story about sisters!☆ and very heavily features the grieving process☆ not everyone is "nice / likeable" but they're complex and realistic☆ set in Hawaii!☆ THE COVER IS GORGEOUS JUST LOOK☆ asexual rep for the protagonist! (possibly #ownvoices?)☆ Kai is so chill, he is just the absolute chillest (also lowkey picture him as David from Lilo & Stitch)☆ Rumi is the "grandpa friend" and this is so funny s It feels a bit too early for a review, soooo! Let's just have a quick list of what to expect:☆ story about sisters!☆ and very heavily features the grieving process☆ not everyone is "nice / likeable" but they're complex and realistic☆ set in Hawaii!☆ THE COVER IS GORGEOUS JUST LOOK☆ asexual rep for the protagonist! (possibly #ownvoices?)☆ Kai is so chill, he is just the absolute chillest (also lowkey picture him as David from Lilo & Stitch)☆ Rumi is the "grandpa friend" and this is so funny sometimes☆ basically entire cast is POC (mostly biracial!)☆ there is a lot of delicious sounding food omg(quotes from the eARC not to be reused or quoted elsewhere)"Maybe you don't have to know everything about yourself right this second. Maybe you're still figuring it out."I don't think girls should have to smile all the time in order to make other people think they're approachable. Maybe girls don't want to be approachable to everybody."Your sexuality -- and how you identify -- is nobody else's business. You can change your mind, or not change your mind. Those labels exist for you, and not so that everyone else can try to force you into a box. Especially if that box is their close-minded idea of fucking normal."
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  • Alice Oseman
    January 1, 1970
    This is a crucial book on loss. Raw, real, and deeply hopeful, SUMMER BIRD BLUE follows Rumi Seto on her path to healing in idyllic Hawaii with the help of a grumpy old man and a bubbly new friend. This book has solidly secured Akemi as one of my favourite contemporary YA authors - I will read anything Akemi Dawn Bowman writes.The stand-out element of this book for me was the aro-ace representation in Rumi, the likes of which I have never seen before (the only ace rep I've found in contemporary This is a crucial book on loss. Raw, real, and deeply hopeful, SUMMER BIRD BLUE follows Rumi Seto on her path to healing in idyllic Hawaii with the help of a grumpy old man and a bubbly new friend. This book has solidly secured Akemi as one of my favourite contemporary YA authors - I will read anything Akemi Dawn Bowman writes.The stand-out element of this book for me was the aro-ace representation in Rumi, the likes of which I have never seen before (the only ace rep I've found in contemporary YA has tended to be romantic ace, and said character always ends up in a relationship). Much of Rumi's journey in SUMMER BIRD BLUE explores her discovering and accepting her aro-ace identity, and she does NOT end up in a relationship by the end. She made me feel strongly seen in a way I don't think I've ever felt before in a book, and NORMAL too. It didn't feel contrived at all, it felt incredibly normal and valid. I deeply admire and respect Akemi for making this choice, because it would have been SO easy to let Rumi end up in a relationship with Kai. But it makes a far more interesting book because she doesn't! I hope more authors can follow suit in exploring the struggles faced by aro-ace people, and I hope publishers will continue to be more willing to publish books about the intricacies and struggles of lesser-understood queer identities like this.
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  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Starfish is one one of the BEST books I've read in 2017 and I could not be more excited to see more from Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    A wish is a wish after all. Summer Bird Blue is an emotional journey of anger, grief, loss and healing. After unexpectedly losing her sister and best friend Lea, Rumi Seto is angry at the world and doesn’t know how to move on. Moving to Hawaii for the summer wasn’t part of the plan, but she’s determined to find a way to honor Lea’s memory and move on at the same time, so Rumi turns to their shared love of music and discovers a power she didn’t know existed. Things I Liked I loved Rumi. I love A wish is a wish after all. Summer Bird Blue is an emotional journey of anger, grief, loss and healing. After unexpectedly losing her sister and best friend Lea, Rumi Seto is angry at the world and doesn’t know how to move on. Moving to Hawaii for the summer wasn’t part of the plan, but she’s determined to find a way to honor Lea’s memory and move on at the same time, so Rumi turns to their shared love of music and discovers a power she didn’t know existed. Things I Liked I loved Rumi. I loved her anger, I loved her emotions, I loved her fight. She is a force and I respect her and feel for her and I want to shower her with all the support in the world. Rumi’s grief was so physical, I could feel it. It made it so easy to invest and connect with her and everything she was going through. She had quite the journey and emotional arc and I was happy to be along for the ride.I really loved seeing “The Memory” flashbacks of Rumi and Lea’s tumultuous history. It built their sisterly relationship in such an honest and realistic way. It showed their fights, resentments, and devotion. It really built their relationship so Lea was a meaningful presence in the book, even though she dies at the beginning of the story.I don’t know what it is with Akemi Dawn Bowman’s stories, but she writes some of the most unexpected friendships between her protagonists and these grumpy old men/mentor figures that I fall in love with. Rumi and Mr. Watanabe's friendship brought such joy to me that I could never have enough of them listening to music or gardening. In the midst of Rumi’s huge world shift, she’s also questioning her sexuality through much of the story. She’s conflicted about labels and needing to know what she wants right now and is deeply afraid of change. Through the story, Rumi comes to see that she’d probably identify as asexual and somewhere on the aromantic spectrum. It’s always amazing to see aro/ace characters in YA because they are severely underrepresented. Things I Didn’t Like I would have loved to see Rumi and Kai, Hannah, Gareth, and the whole crew to see more of each of other and really develop their friend group. Obviously Kai was the most developed, but I still would have liked more from him. I feel like all I know about him is that his dad’s an asshole.I felt like there was parts of the last quarter of the book that felt a little rushed. It was like everything was happening at one time, one top of each other, and no real time for the characters to react.Akemi Dawn Bowman is quickly becoming a go-to-author for me when I want a YA contemporary story that has a big emotional impact. I loved that Rumi was allowed to be angry and grief isn’t always expressed as sadness. I loved seeing that Rumi isn’t a perfect person, and sometimes she’s downright unlikeable, but she’s so real. Summer Bird Blue was a truly captivating story about healing that will play your heartstrings and pull you in.I received a copy of the book from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
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  • julianna ➹
    January 1, 1970
    pls be as good as Starfish// canceled buddy read with the brit 💖 bc neither of us could access the file through our computers rip
  • Rae
    January 1, 1970
    Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman is an emotional story of loss, life, and music. When Rumi's sister, Lea, dies in a horrific car accident, Rumi is left to pick up the pieces of her life. Abandoned by her mother, Rumi spends her summer in Hawaii with her aunt, trying to figure out how to live without her sister. Along the way she befriends the neighbors--Kai, the boy next door, and Uncle George, an elderly man who has experienced his own share of losses. My goodness, what amazing piece of li Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman is an emotional story of loss, life, and music. When Rumi's sister, Lea, dies in a horrific car accident, Rumi is left to pick up the pieces of her life. Abandoned by her mother, Rumi spends her summer in Hawaii with her aunt, trying to figure out how to live without her sister. Along the way she befriends the neighbors--Kai, the boy next door, and Uncle George, an elderly man who has experienced his own share of losses. My goodness, what amazing piece of literature did I just read? This is the second book written by Akemi Dawn Bowman, and I'm simply blown away by how beautifully written her books are. Summer Bird Blue was downright lyrical, tugging at my emotions, and leaving me feeling utterly wrecked at the end. Not every book makes me cry, but both of Akemi Dawn Bowman's books have turned me into a sobbing mess (in the best of ways, of course).Summer Bird Blue is well-paced. You follow Rumi throughout an entire summer. At first there is no light, but through friendship, Rumi learns to write the song she owes her sister, Lea. The entire story is well-executed and laid out with care. The progression from dark to light is gradual, and Rumi's grief is explored in depth. This book is truly a study in grief and an emotional read that sticks with you long after you've read the last page. I loved the theme of music throughout the book. Music is Rumi's life, so it makes sense that it's front and center in the book. Music has so much power, and that comes through in this story.I adored the book's ending, even though it was tough to read. While it made me cry, I liked how all of the heavy emotions really came to a head. Rumi confronts demons throughout the book, and this continues to the very end.The characters in this book were wonderfully written. I felt like I was in Hawaii as I read the pidgin the author incorporated into the book. I thoroughly enjoyed Rumi's interactions with Kai and Uncle George, two very different characters in Rumi's life. Kai is all easy smiles, patience, and understanding. He helps Rumi learn how to have fun again. Uncle George is delightfully crotchety. He's cranky and abrupt but finds a soft spot for Rumi. Rumi is an intense character--dynamic, complex, and deeply sensitive despite her tough exterior. I loved this book. If you don't have this book pre-ordered, I highly recommend you do so. Seriously. It was that good!Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • ilsa ➹
    January 1, 1970
    PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:THIS BOOK HAS ACE REP.Well, that's what I have heard and that is the number (1) reason YOU SHOULD BE DYING FOR THIS BOOK WITH ME. okay besides the pretty cover and the fact that this is written by the same author who brought us the wonderful starfish.
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  • Rachel Strolle
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a f*cking mess right now I cried so much reading this and cried even harder in the last fourth oh my heart
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    I've finally read the book and I had so many emotions????This isn't an easy read. Rumi is angry and hurting and she lashes out a lot at people who love her. If you're not into "unlikable characters," you won't like Rumi. But this exploration of grief was really beautiful and honest - how often do we wonder why it THAT person had to die and get mad about it? And I loved the way she looked back on her relationship with her sister and the regrets we had, because don't we all? No matter how good a r I've finally read the book and I had so many emotions????This isn't an easy read. Rumi is angry and hurting and she lashes out a lot at people who love her. If you're not into "unlikable characters," you won't like Rumi. But this exploration of grief was really beautiful and honest - how often do we wonder why it THAT person had to die and get mad about it? And I loved the way she looked back on her relationship with her sister and the regrets we had, because don't we all? No matter how good a relationship is, we'll still make mistakes. And in her grief, she also makes mistakes in other relationships and has to learn from that.Also, the exploration of her sexuality???? I knew going in she was ace and I think I knew she was aro going in, but she also explores that in both flashbacks and in the present day because she struggles to just...accept that. Labels can be so complicated and take so long to figure out and she spends time in the book thinking about different terms and what works for her and just questioning. I've been aching for more characters to really have to question their sexuality and those labels so this was SO refreshing and actually impacted the plot!I feel like I'm still processing this book, so I don't know that I LOVE it, but the fact that I keep thinking about it means I probably do. Pre-Reading: I dunno who at S&S is giving me yearly ace YA but I am HERE FOR IT. (And really, they've just been quietly doing well at diverse books???? Even beyond Salaam Reads???? So many queer books...)
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  • alice (arctic books)
    January 1, 1970
    Of course it was amazing. Full RTC!
  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    another masterpiece. there are still remnants of mascara tears on my face from finishing this book. i can't form any coherent thoughts right now.
  • Lea (drumsofautumn)
    January 1, 1970
    ♦ Video Review ♦Summer Bird Blue is an intense Contemporary novel that deals with grief in a way I've never seen before. “Because to Lea and me, music wasn't only about sounds. Music was scenery and smells and tastes and magic, too. But it doesn't feel like magic anymore – it feels like I'm being haunted.” Before I get into my thoughts and feelings (there's a lot of them) first something about the representation.The main character, Rumi, is multiracial (Hawaiian, Japanese and white). There's ♦ Video Review ♦Summer Bird Blue is an intense Contemporary novel that deals with grief in a way I've never seen before. “Because to Lea and me, music wasn't only about sounds. Music was scenery and smells and tastes and magic, too. But it doesn't feel like magic anymore – it feels like I'm being haunted.” Before I get into my thoughts and feelings (there's a lot of them) first something about the representation.The main character, Rumi, is multiracial (Hawaiian, Japanese and white). There's a lot of biracial side and minor characters and many of them speak Hawaii Pidgin English.There's also absolutely amazing questioning rep going on. The way that Rumi described being unsure about her romantic and sexual orientation, about not feeling comfortable with even the idea of labels, about being sure what you feel but becoming insecure about it when everyone tells you that's not how it's supposed to be, about being scared that you settle on a label and then you realize it doesn't quite fit or things have changed.. it blew my mind. And it was so easy to relate to Rumi. She eventually plays with both the asexual and aromantic label and she is definitely a-spec but I don't think she ever quite wants to settle on anything exact.As someone who is not a-spec but has been questioning and struggling with orientation well into my twenties, this is one of the best questioning representation I have EVER seen. Akemi Dawn Bowman just absolutely nailed it. “I'm not comfortable with the labels, because labels feel so final. Like I have to make up my mind right this second. Like I have to be sure of myself as everyone else seems to be.” The writing is beautiful and fascinating in every aspect. I have never in my life seen grief described this way. The imagery, the metaphors, the similes, it made the pain and the anger so vivid and relatable. Whether you've ever lost someone so close to you or not, Rumi's pain grabs every little bit of you and does not let go. I would definitely say be careful going into this, if you experienced a loss just recently. It is a tough read as it is!The music aspect spoke to my heart and soul. I am a musician and songwriter myself and while I don't really have a person that connects me to music as Rumi is connected to Lea through it, I still could really relate to so many thoughts about music, about the songwriting process and about how much music can heal but also hurt. The way she feels about music, before and after the accident, is pouring out of the pages. “Because music is a carnival at night, lit up by a thousand stars and bursting with luminescent colors and magical illusions.Music is magic and lightning and fireworks.” I loved that as an adult I could read this novel and understand Rumi's mum while still also 100% understanding where Rumi's anger towards her is coming from and how justified it is. I love that this was a novel where eventually, the two found their way back together, but I never felt like this novel was trying super hard to excuse her mum's behaviour and make Rumi realize how wrong she was.Everything, every emotion Rumi had about her mother and the way she behaved during the grieving process, was valid, even after they talked and Rumi's mum gave a good explanation. It does not invalidate Rumi's feelings. Hell, it doesn't even invalidate the way Rumi behaved towards her mother. It is all still justified. And I feel like this is just generally something that YA, as it's mostly written by adults, often gets so wrong. It is a genre about the lives and feelings of teens, an adult's "redemption" does not need to be part of that necessarily.If you're an adult and you cannot handle Rumi's behaviour, I seriously think it is time for you to reflect on how you read Young Adult. It's NOT written for you. “My shoulders shake like there's an earthquake in my core. Every inch of me tenses up like I'm bracing for the room to split apart – for the earthquake inside me to be real. I imagine the room exploding to bits, with pieces of drywall and tile flying in every direction and the tremor of the earthquake breaking the building in half.” There's also a plethora of amazing friendships. I always love when a book displays different kinds of friendships and how some friends are the ones you laugh with and others are ones you cry with and some are ones you have adventures with. Sometimes friends are all of those things but I just like when it is recognized in YA that a friendship with a certain person can be especially benefiting for one aspect.The way in which the friendship between Kai and Rumi is written, is super special. It portrays a "friendship crush" so incredibly well. And the way this friendship is taken seriously as a huge, important relationship in someone's life, while being non-romantic and confined to a time and place, really resonated with me. It is so special to read about a friendship like this, especially as Kai has romantic feelings for Rumi. It shows that when two people really mean something to each other, you can still work on that friendship and stay good friends, even with one person having romantic feelings. This certainly doesn't work for everyone and you have to figure things out on the long run but I loved seeing this portrayed as possible!There's also the amazing friendship Rumi has with this older man, Mr. Watanabe. This might have been my favourite relationship in this whole novel. I was so emotionally involved in this development and the way these people were there for each other and meant so much to each other's lives, while barely even acknowledging that. You could feel the impact these two had on each other. This was an incredibly special relationship. “I don't know how something as beautiful and important as music could suddenly feel so empty and cruel.Music used to be life and hope and everything happy. Now it's full of ghosts.” So yeah, this might be one of the longest reviews I have ever written and honestly, I could write even more. But I don't think I have to, you get what I'm trying to say.Overall Summer Bird Blue is an amazing novel, that deals with loss and grief, friendship and family, hurting and healing. It feels like Akemi Dawn Bowman lay her soul bare. This is a remarkable novel.♦ Booktube Channel ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Rumi and her sister, Lea, dreamed of a life on the road, making music together. This dream was shattered in a heartbeat, when Lea's life was lost in a car accident. Though Rumi and her mother both survived, they had stopped living. Summer Bird Blue told the story of Rumi's summer of "goodbyes", and her trying to find a way to live without Lea.• Pro: The emotional impact of this book was unreal. I am sort of crying a little right now as I write this review, because Rumi's loss hit me really hard. Rumi and her sister, Lea, dreamed of a life on the road, making music together. This dream was shattered in a heartbeat, when Lea's life was lost in a car accident. Though Rumi and her mother both survived, they had stopped living. Summer Bird Blue told the story of Rumi's summer of "goodbyes", and her trying to find a way to live without Lea.• Pro: The emotional impact of this book was unreal. I am sort of crying a little right now as I write this review, because Rumi's loss hit me really hard. Bowman expertly depicted her pain, suffering, and guilt, and my heart ached for Rumi. • Pro: Bowman shared Rumi's memories of Lea with us in each chapter, and the love between them was obvious. The dynamic between Rumi and Lea was wonderful, but complicated and real. I thought the memories were also well placed in the story, and helped me understand Rumi's pain better. • Pro: I was so touched by the relationship Rumi shared with Mr. Watanabe. He was a special source of support for Rumi, because he related to her pain and loss. I looked forward to the time they shared together, and was grateful he was able to open himself up to her. • Pro: Can we talk about Kai! Even with all his own problems weighing him down, he was able to be a great friend to Rumi. He was charming and fun and a really important part of Rumi's healing and self discovery. • Pro: This is the first book I have read with a questioning asexual character. I knew early on, that Rumi was leaning that way, but really found the exploration of her sexuality informative.• Pro: I got to go to Hawaii, and Bowman really showed us the sights, the smells, the tastes, and the little of the culture too. Overall: A beautifully written and extremely moving book about love, loss, grief, forgiveness, and saying goodbye. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
    January 1, 1970
    Bowman literally has the best cover designer, hands down
  • Marianna
    January 1, 1970
    RTCthe only thing I'll confide in you for now is that I cried. A lot.thanks to the publisher and edelweiss for providing me with an e-ARC
  • madeline h. ✶ (semi hiatus)
    January 1, 1970
    [4.5 stars] i really loved this. this has to be some of the best multi-racial rep i've seen. like eVer. not even kidding, there were about 5-6 on page mixed race characters!!!! which is a huge deal to me!! the overall diversity was fantastic. (and i have a lowkey crush on hannah now, one of the side characters. she was giving me sapphic vibes tbh)and also, this was unexpected but the aroace-rep was so damn relatable, even though i didn't previously identify myself as being on the aro/ace spectru [4.5 stars] i really loved this. this has to be some of the best multi-racial rep i've seen. like eVer. not even kidding, there were about 5-6 on page mixed race characters!!!! which is a huge deal to me!! the overall diversity was fantastic. (and i have a lowkey crush on hannah now, one of the side characters. she was giving me sapphic vibes tbh)and also, this was unexpected but the aroace-rep was so damn relatable, even though i didn't previously identify myself as being on the aro/ace spectrum. thank you to the moon and back, Summer Bird Blue, for helping me clear up some questioning. the book did get to be a little repetitive towards the end, but that's a small issue.i have so many feelings about this and i'll share them later :')thank you sooo much to the wonderful May for sending me this book. ILYILYILY. <3
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  • Kaja (red panda) *:・゚✧
    January 1, 1970
    APPARENTLY THIS BOOK HAS ACE REPRESENTATION??? <3(also I just started reading Starfish and it's SO SO SO good, I think I have new auto-buy author, hey, I don't make the rules)
  • nick
    January 1, 1970
    Akemi Dawn Bowman's debut, Starfish, is one of the best books I have ever read. It captured anxiety and teen emotions so brilliantly so I couldn't wait to read everything and anything by her. Summer Bird Blue, her sophomore novel, was just as gorgeous. Be prepared to be emotionally eviscerated with this one. I'm not quite sure how Bowman does it, but her characters always feel real to me. She is a star at meticulously fleshing out her characters in such a way that makes them pop off the pages. I Akemi Dawn Bowman's debut, Starfish, is one of the best books I have ever read. It captured anxiety and teen emotions so brilliantly so I couldn't wait to read everything and anything by her. Summer Bird Blue, her sophomore novel, was just as gorgeous. Be prepared to be emotionally eviscerated with this one. I'm not quite sure how Bowman does it, but her characters always feel real to me. She is a star at meticulously fleshing out her characters in such a way that makes them pop off the pages. In Summer Bird Blue, we are lucky enough to meet Rumi, whose story made every corner of my heart ache. To Rumi, her sister Leah and music are her whole life. When Leah dies in a car accident, her whole life is shattered. Throughout most of Summer Bird Blue, Rumi was grieving her sister and simmering in anger as she felt like her mom had abandoned her with her aunt in Hawaii. It was heartbreaking and Bowman made me feel every emotion that Rumi experienced. I'm not going to lie, this book was not always easy to read, but it's gorgeously written so it's also simultaneously hard to put down. Her anger, her sadness, and her guilt all hit me right in the heart. In Hawaii, Rumi also met two people who slowly helped her move on a journey towards healing. Mr. Watanabe, her 80-year old neighbor with a yappy dog, was possibly my favorite. He was a grumpy old man who did not hold back his thoughts. He and Rumi form a special bond as a result of their losses and it made me happy that she had someone like him to help navigate the complicated time in her life. She also met a boy, Kai, who was just a breath of fresh air. He was kind to her and became an important friend. He also helped Rumi discover more about her identity, something that she struggled with quite a bit throughout Summer Bird Blue. This was the first book that I have read that depicted an aromatic and asexual teen. It was interesting to see this perspective of a young woman who really had no interest in dating or sex, but was also confused as to why she did not have those feelings. Kudos to Bowman for the great representation. As you can imagine with a story like Summer Bird Blue, family was an important theme. Like all the other elements in this book, it was also deftly handled. Rumi's relationship with Leah was one of the best siblings relationships I have ever come across. There was jealousy, pride, admiration and l, ve between these girls and these were all depicted through flashbacks and Rumi's thoughts. The intricacies of her relationship with her mother were also beautifully touched upon throughout Summer Bird Blue. Then there was her aunt, who she barely knew growing up, but who became her pillar while her mother was away. I could just go on and on about how great all the relationships were in this book!I can't recommend Summer Bird Blue highly enough. Yes, it's a tough story, but it's so worth it and I am really happy that teens have this book. At this point, I'm ready for more books by Akemi Dawn Bowman - it's going to be torturous having to wait for her next release!
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  • Madalyn (Novel Ink)
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this. Review coming soon!
  • LaRonda (Flying Paperbacks)
    January 1, 1970
    You can see my full review here!*I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review*This book is my heart... and Bowman has gutted me. The beginning scared me in the sense that we’re thrown into the grief of Rumi, we don’t really get to know Lea or their mother; it’s just anger and hurt and pain. But as the story went on, everything is developed seamlessly. We see through flashbacks that Rumi wasn’t the nicest sister or daughter, she’s selfish a You can see my full review here!*I received an eArc of this book from the Publishers through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review*This book is my heart... and Bowman has gutted me. The beginning scared me in the sense that we’re thrown into the grief of Rumi, we don’t really get to know Lea or their mother; it’s just anger and hurt and pain. But as the story went on, everything is developed seamlessly. We see through flashbacks that Rumi wasn’t the nicest sister or daughter, she’s selfish and speaks without regard for others feelings, but she loves fiercely. I, personally, related to her a lot. As someone with two siblings, all of these feelings resonated with me almost too deeply. And the ace/aro rep was too real for me. Every questioning thought Rumi had was such a connectable thing for me. I wasn’t expecting to empathize with Rumi’s mother yet understand where Rumi was coming from. The last 80% had me bawling my eyes out. It’s open yet ends on a hopeful, uplifting note that leaves a somber feeling in my heart.08/10-- Just cut out my heart why don't you.05/19-- I GOT AN ARC!! MY ACE HEART CAN'T HANDLE THIS HAPPINESS (Thank you Edelweiss btw !! <3 )
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  • Haadiya // Hiatus
    January 1, 1970
    I JUST HEARD THAT THIS HAS ACE REP AND I HADNT REALIZED THERE COULD BE SOMETHING IN THIS WORLD TO MAKE ME WANT THIS BOOK MORE THAN I ALREADY DO~~~~~~~~~i dont even need to read the synopsis to TBR it
  • Jenni Frencham
    January 1, 1970
    Bowman, Akemi Dawn. Summer Bird Blue. Simon Pulse, 2018.Rumi and her sister Lea are inseparable, but when Lea dies in a car accident and Rumi's mother sends her to Hawaii to live with an aunt while she grieves, Rumi feels betrayed and abandoned. She is angry at the world and doesn't know what to do with herself, but with the help of her family and her aunt's neighbors, she begins to work through her grief.I loved the diversity throughout this book. Rumi doesn't self-identify by the end, but is q Bowman, Akemi Dawn. Summer Bird Blue. Simon Pulse, 2018.Rumi and her sister Lea are inseparable, but when Lea dies in a car accident and Rumi's mother sends her to Hawaii to live with an aunt while she grieves, Rumi feels betrayed and abandoned. She is angry at the world and doesn't know what to do with herself, but with the help of her family and her aunt's neighbors, she begins to work through her grief.I loved the diversity throughout this book. Rumi doesn't self-identify by the end, but is questioning whether she is asexual. Rumi along with all of her new friends in Hawaii are biracial. The setting of Hawaii is appropriately done along with a sprinkling of Pidgin in the book. Rumi's grief feels real in that it doesn't follow a nice, logical sequence and she reacts in ways she doesn't want to. I loved the grumpy grandfather neighbor character. Recommended for: teensRed Flags: languageOverall Rating: 4/5 starsRead-Alikes: We Are Okay, You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, UnspeakableI received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purpose of review.
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  • Iris
    January 1, 1970
    After reading Starfish, this has gone from a book vaguely on my radar, to one of my most anticipated releases. Can I have this now please?
  • Hannah (Ink and Myths)
    January 1, 1970
    🌸🌸🌸 (3.50/5.00)I liked Summer Bird Blue a lot, but there were a few small things that bothered me. I prefer Starfish (Akemi Dawn Bowman’s debut novel), though, so that’s why I can give Summer Bird Blue only 3,5 🌸. Still, I recommend it highly, especially for its portrayal of grief and loss, and also of family and identity.
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  • sofie
    January 1, 1970
    Let's be real, Akemi Dawn Bowman's books are cover goals.How GORGEOUS is that cover! And it matches Starfish!After reading (and loving) the beauty that is Starfish, yes I will be reading Summer Bird Blue.
  • Brandy
    January 1, 1970
    WOW! What a beautiful, powerful, and deeply moving novel of loss, unconditional love, forgiveness, and finding yourself. I loved this book from the beginning to the end; it really hit home as I too have lost a sibling when I was 14. The amount of raw emotion in this book is powerful and will be a story that stays with me for a very long time. This should be a book everyone reads, you will not be disappointed!
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  • krista ☽
    January 1, 1970
    look at the cover it is gorgeous i cant wait untill it comes out , i hope it will be just as beautiful & powerfull as Starfish.
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely. Haunting. Heartbreaking. I basically couldn't put this book down once I started it. Akemi's beautiful writing, rich characters, and excellent storytelling captured me and didn't let me go. In a single car crash, Rumi loses the sister who is also her best friend, the future they had planned together as musicians, and the mother who can't cope with the loss of her daughter. Sent to stay with her aunt in Hawaii, Rumi's grief and resentment grow. Her sister didn't have any choice in leaving Lovely. Haunting. Heartbreaking. I basically couldn't put this book down once I started it. Akemi's beautiful writing, rich characters, and excellent storytelling captured me and didn't let me go. In a single car crash, Rumi loses the sister who is also her best friend, the future they had planned together as musicians, and the mother who can't cope with the loss of her daughter. Sent to stay with her aunt in Hawaii, Rumi's grief and resentment grow. Her sister didn't have any choice in leaving her, but her mother did. She can barely stand the sight of the instruments she and her sister used to play and even the thought of playing music again sends her reeling. But she's going to have to. Because she made a promise to her little sister to finish their last song... the song they were writing when Lea died. Rumi's uses her anger to keep everyone at a distance, but her new neighbors are the only two people who don't seem frightened of it. There's Kai, the surfer boy who can be almost as insensitive as she is, but is also weirdly endearing. And there's Mr. Watanabe, the reclusive old grouch who may be the only one really capable of understanding Rumi's insatiable anger and grief. Maybe, just maybe, with a few unlikely friendships and time, Rumi will finally be able to find her way back to the music she lost and the sister she loves. Fair warning: bring tissues. This book is an emotional rollercoaster. If the dead little sister didn't give it away, I'm telling you hear. This book deals really heavily with loss and grief and anger and sometimes it feels a bit like a suckerpunch to the gut. And yet... it's also really lovely. The emotion feels so authentic. Even at her very worst, I can sympathise with Rumi and understand why she's acting in the way that she is. And the relationships between Rumi and Lea (through her memories and grief) as well as her blossoming friendships with Kai and Mr. Watanabe all feel so genuine and relatable. I have a sister, so I am very drawn to sister stories, but also probably a bit critical of them because of that. And this one gets it right. All the complexities of sisterhood and family. The love and the fighting and the competitiveness. I love books with a really genuine arc of loss, grief, and recovery, and this book does it really well. I also love that while Rumi's relationships with Kai and Mr. Watanabe are influential in her recovery--as is the relationship with her aunt--it has more to do with the passage of time and her only journey than any one thing they say or do. Nobody is swooping in to save her. She has to find a way to do that--even clawing and fighting--herself. I also really love the way the possible romance subplot with Kai is handled in this. Rumi's confusion about her own orientation and her relationship with Kai was very much the C arc in a story with several more important ones, but it was handled thoughtfully. It's also kind of nice to read a book where characters can have deep and important relationships with friends and loved ones without prioritizing romantic relationships above them. Friends, sisters, aunts, mothers, can all be just as important-if not even more so-- than significant others. I feel like stories aren't always good at acknowledging that, but it's a really important point for Rumi, who isn't at all sure that she is interested in any kind of romantic relationship. Basically, this book was just exceptionally wonderful. I fully plan to go read Starfish now, which if it is half as good as this I'm going to love it. If you're a fan of contemporary YA , particularly ones that explore loss and grief and recovery--like Goodbye-Days by Jeff Zetner or We Are Okay by Nina LaCour--then this should be a must-read.**Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
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