My Thoughts On… Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
**A copy of this book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review**
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Ink Road Books
Published: 4th April 2019
Source:: Review Copy from Publisher
Add It: Amazon UK Goodreads.
Summary: Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying. What to eat, where to go, who to love. But one thing she is sure of she wants to spend her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea. Then Lea dies in a car accident, and Rumi is sent to live with her aunt in Hawaii. Now, miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, feeling abandoned by her mother, and the aching absence of music. With the help of the “boys next door” teenage surfer Kai, who doesn’t take anything too seriously, and old George Watanabe, who succumbed to grief years ago Rumi seeks her way back to music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish. With unflinching honesty, Summer Bird Blue explores big truths about insurmountable grief, unconditional love, and how to forgive even when it feels impossible.
This is one of those – I loved it so much, I don’t even know how to review it – kind of books so I want to first start of by apologising if this review is just a big slur of READ IT, READ IT NOW. Because I mean, aside from thinking that you should definitely do this, I think it’s good to get some specific reasons as to why you should be reading the book, right?
Second of all, I have to admit that I have been dying to get my hands on this book ever since I heard about the asexual rep. I haven’t read too many books with this yet and so I wanted to know if it was done well or not. The answer? It was done exceptionally well. Honestly, I have never felt more connected to a character than I did to Rumi. I felt her struggles and had been through her pain myself. It was just so incredible to be able to relate so very much to a character on a page. This is something that I will never forget and I am forever grateful to Akemi Dawn Bowman for dealing with it in such a realistic and relatable way.
To finish up this little summary of my initial thoughts, Summer Bird Blue blew me away. It is an emotional rollarcoaster that I absolutely adored from the very beginning until the very end. It is so incredibly well written and really pulls you into the story – essentially making you completely forget that you are not a part of the world it’s set in. I felt so many things for Rumi and was just incredibly happy with how the book ended. It was just an absolute dream book to read for so many, many reason and I cannot recommend you read it enough.
Best Things About the Book
- Asexual Rep! – Honestly, can not get over how much I truly loved the rep in this book. It was just absolutely wonderful to read. Akemi has captured it so well.
- Friendships – This book really looks at how important friendship is and how it can help us to be better people. I really loved the friendship group that Rumi finds herself in when she finally arrives in Hawaii
- Kai and Mr Watanabe – These two characters were by far my favourites of this book. They were just so different and yet both helped Rumi in their own unique ways. It was just so wonderful to get to know this amazing characters.
- The Music – I really fell in love with the way that Akemi described music in the novel. It made me appreciate music so much more. I love how Rumi finds her way back to music in the story as well. It is just so descriptive and lovely.
- The Treatment of Grief – This book, by and large, deals with the very sensitive topic of grief and dealing with the loss of a loved one and Akemi has done this in an incredibly sensitive and emotional way. It’s just so wonderful to read and it is so easy to follow Rumi on her journey. This is a book that may help someone who has lost someone close to them and just isn’t sure if anything will ever be okay again.
Not so Good Things
- Some of the descriptions from Rumi felt a little too sexual for me personally. This is an odd thing to put in here, especially considering I just said I loved the rep in this book but there were just a few moments where the descriptions that Rumi gave of the male characters that pulled me out of the book because it didn’t feel true to her character – in my own opinion. This may not be the same for other people but just from my personal experience of life. Regardless of this, I still absolutely loved this rep and this book so it definitely didn’t detract from my reading of the story.
- Rumi’s sister was painted as this most amazing angel person who didn’t seem to do anything wrong. I understand that we’re only seeing her sister through Rumi’s eyes but Rumi is so often harsh with herself that I feel like a conversation with her mum at the end, talking about some of Lea’s less “nice” qualities would have rounded the book up a little bit. Again, this was a small nitpick of mine and definitely doesn’t stop the book from being amazing.
A large part of the book focuses on music and Rumi’s relationship with it. What music helps to make you feel better when you’re feeling down?