cover image Summer Bird Blue

Summer Bird Blue

Akemi Dawn Bowman. Simon Pulse, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8775-7

Bowman (Starfish) writes about a mixed-race young woman finding her voice through the arts in an emotionally taut story that explores the nuances of sisterly love. After surviving a car accident that kills her younger sister, Lea, 17-year-old Rumi is sent to live with her aunt Ani in Kailua, Hawaii, while her mother stays behind in Washington State. At first, Rumi can barely function: she isn’t eating, she isn’t really speaking, and she has lost all interest in the music she once loved to write. Ani’s neighbors—prickly old Mr. Watanabe, who is grieving over the deaths of his wife and son years earlier, and recent high school graduate Kai—capture Rumi’s interest. Through these growing relationships, she slowly finds her footing, as well as her desire to create new music. Rumi’s pain infuses the narrative, allowing readers a peek into her psyche through both present-day regrets (“I failed as a sister and a daughter”) and sections revealing relevant memories of Lea (“She’s always had it so much easier than me, and it’s not fair”). Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Penny Moore, Empire Literary. (Sept.)  [/em]