Summer Bird Blue ๐Ÿ“•Review

Summer Bird Blue

Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Series:ย N/A
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: September 11th, 2018

Yeah, yeah…. I know. “Never judge a book by its cover” is common advice that’s important to follow and all that. But damn, I just have to say I fell in love with the art style on the cover of this one! Blue is my favourite colour (so bias) and it screams relaxing ocean vibes. Unfortunately for the main character, Rumi Seto, this tale is the opposite of a tranquil stroll along a beach.

Rumi’s world as she knows it has just been utterly destroyed by the tragic loss of her best friend and little sister, Lea. Her mom is immobilized by grief and teenage Rumi is sent from her home in the eastern US to go stay with her aunt in Hawaii. This upheaval and perceived abandonment doesn’t exactly help Rumi deal with her pain, to say the least.

Summer Bird Blue is all about Rumi’s difficult journey to overcome the tidal wave of miserable feelings that are triggered by loss. Everyone processes the pain of grief in their own way. The author did a fantastic job showing that the healing process is anything but a linear path to becoming “happy” again. Rumi has many ups, downs, and inbetweens while desperately trying to control her chaotic feelings throughout the story. Jealousy, anger, sorrow, loneliness, and feeling nothing at all… I felt her pain as I was reading through her past memories and present hell.

In my mind, awful experiences like this change the essence of who we are. A piece of us is destroyed when we lose someone we love. We need to forge that gaping hole into a bridge that leads to becoming a new us; an us who exists without the wonderful person we lost. That entire process is indescribably difficult, and that process takes time. That process may never truly be complete, either. No one else can make that road easier, no matter how badly they want to. This was shown perfectly by Rumi’s enraged interactions with her aunt, who was trying her best to help Rumi but simply couldn’t.

Before the incident, Rumi was an aspiring musician who jammed with her sister all the time. While struggling to accept Lea’s death, Rumi lost her ability to make music. I won’t ruin any plot details, but the title of the book and the healing power of music are essential aids to Rumi during her emotional battle.

Oh and you know what? Rumi is also asexual. This takes a minor role in the overall story (as it should… woot, respectful representation!), but introduced some themes I strongly connected with. Struggling to come to terms with how she feels about that love thing (and feeling hopelessly alone in that area) is yet another painful thing Rumi has to deal with. Lea was the only other person who seemed to truly understand Rumi, even more so than Rumi understood herself.

One line in particular spoke to me on a soulular level: “I told him I don’t know what it means to want a best friend that won’t date anyone else.” This line happens when Rumi was mulling over a difficult situation with another human who is sexually attracted to her. In my own experiences as a demiromantic asexual, it’s quite difficult to put into words how romantic attraction without sexual attraction works in my mind, and it ends up being awkwardly confusing for everyone involved.

Recently in the real world, I’ve had people sexually attracted to me for the first time in my life, but I just feel my regular friendship feelings towards them. I’m an empath and I feel awful, let me tell you. On the flip side, I’ve recently experienced rare and true romantic love for the first time ever towards someone who doesn’t love me back. Finding out they were dating someone else crushed my heart in a way that it’s never been crushed before, and I’ll never forgive myself for my reaction after they told me. Yep, “a best friend who doesn’t date anyone else” just about nails the description of an ideal dream partner I want. And just like Rumi, I feel so selfish and alone for thinking like that.

Seriously… thank you so much for giving me a romantic story I can relate to, Rumi (and Akemi Dawn Bowman). No matter the orientation, unrequited love is a complex mess of feelings for both the lover and the lovee, that’s for damn sure.

Overall, Summer Bird Blue is superbly written story about overcoming grief and the healing power of music. Add in the asexual representation, beautiful sisterly moments, and themes about learning to understand yourself, and damn, how can I not call this a perfect novel in my eyes?

My rating:ย 5 out of 5 Stack oโ€™ Books Emojis โ€“ ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ“š

Shout-out to the awesome Shameful Narcissist for recommending this book to me!

Check it out on Goodreads if youโ€™re interested in learning more.

โšกThanks for reading!โšก

If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblingsโ€ฆ I mean, articles here!

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I'm a wannabe writer and an avid video gamer with a slight (okay, maybe extreme) Amiibo addiction. I'm from the coastal province of Nova Scotia in Canada, eh. When I'm not gaming, I have a steady job thing I have to go to. It pays for the gaming thing though. :)

10 thoughts on “Summer Bird Blue ๐Ÿ“•Review”

  1. It mustโ€™ve been pretty good if you gave it a 5/5. I think creators underestimate the power of a good cover. Along those lines, I miss when people put effort into film posters; they all look the same now. They had more character to them when they were illustrated.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like a hell of a story, you can’t beat it when a book or a film or game really resonates with you and the narrative and/or characters really grab you that’s when you know it’s something really special.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Really enjoying your book reviews, keep up the great work!
    Also, I appreciate you sharing your experiences being asexual. I don’t currently have anyone in my life who is (aside from a girl from high school I never see but chat to sometimes on Facebook), but I like being informed so that I am a more understanding person about pretty much everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw! Thank you so much. I’m still kinda new to the whole book review thing so it’s been a process writing reviews, for sure, haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I spent so long not knowing what asexuality was, and that caused me so much heartache over the years. I make it a point to mention it as often as possible so more people learn about it. I appreciate all the support!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember walking into a used bookstore and buy Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin because I absolutely loved the color. I loved the book, too, so whew!

    Your turnaround for recommendation, reading,and review are exemplary #teachmesenpai I can’t wait to read this myself because even though we all process it differently, there’s something universal about dealing with grief. Even if I don’t go about it the same way as someone else or a character, I can always understand their underlying reasons for their coping method whether it’s adaptive or maladaptive.

    I love when books just have characters with LGBTQ+ identities as they are without a huge production just like it’s *gasp* normal. Especially when the books are set in a modern setting. I get how something like Montague Siblings would focus on it because of its setting, but if it’s in/around 2019 it shouldn’t be a huge deal. Been there, done that.

    Ugh, those two situations are the worst, and you’re dealing with both ends of the spectrum. Ugh. It’s another reason why I like Tod’s arc in BoJack because he deals with similar. Granted they do take some, er, creative liberties, but the themes are solid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! This one is way above average for my turnaround time, haha. I’ll give credit to the beautiful cover of the book ๐Ÿ˜›

      Yes!! Everyone doesn’t fit in a stupid box and we all need to learn about how other people exist in our world. No more hate, please. Just love and understanding, thanks. I loved the modern setting in this one, for sure.

      Ugh. It does hurt a ton but great learning experiences for me overall. I love Tod so much. He was the first open ace character I’ve seen in media. I also thankfully watched BoJack while I was dealing with most of this love drama, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What I loved about Tod was they showed that you can’t just put two ace people together in a relationship and everything will be perfect, because you need more than just similar attraction identity. It’s amazing how many people don’t realize that.

        Liked by 1 person

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