Rumi Seto worries a lot because she doesn’t have the answer to everything. What should she eat, where should she go and who should she love? There is one thing that Rumi is 100% sure of though, that she wants to spend the rest of her life writing and performing music with her younger sister, Lea. Then Lea suddenly dies in a car accident and Rumi Is sent away by her mother to live with her auntie in Hawaii. Now that Rumi is thousands of miles away from home, she struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother and having no music in her life.
Akemi Dawn Bowman, the author of Summer Bird Blue is known for writing the most personal, beautiful, meaningful, poignant and hard-hitting stories and this books is exactly that! I felt so many emotions whilst I was reading this book, sadness, anger, love, pain and even happiness. This book managed to bring every single emotion through the pages. The writing style of Sumer Bird Blue is excellent it felt light but also felt lyrical at the same time. Another thing that I loved about this book were the pauses in between the real-time story to visit Rumi’s memories of the past.
The characters in this book are all extraordinary! Rumi such a well-rounded character. I felt so many of Rumi’s emotions. She was often incredibly conflicted and expressed how she felt through anger. Her emotions are all over the place throughout the book which is exactly how they should be if you have just lost your sister. Her character development throughout the book is one of my favourite character arcs in a book in a long time. Kai was a joy to read about, he made the book relaxed whenever he was a part of it. The ways in which he helps Rumi are so beautiful. Mr Watanabe’s character is actually one of my favourite characters from the whole book. He added so much to the story and I loved learning more about his character throughout the book. His little dog Poi is excellent too. Rumi’s Aunt is also incredible and never leaves Rumi’s side even when things get tough.
Music is such a huge part of this book and who Rumi is. She used to write songs and play with her sister Lea, so it means a lot to her. I liked reading about how she found comfort in music but could also at times finds it painful to listen to. I play the guitar and ukulele and related in many ways to how music made her feel. Having music be such a huge part of this book made a music lover like me, love the book even more.
This book is also a perfect read for anyone who has a strong bond with their sibling/s or for anyone who is looking to read about siblings. Rumi and Lea had an incredibly close relationship and we get to see this through Rumi’s memories. Some showing the relationship in a good light others showing it in a bad light. I found it incredibly interesting to read all about a sisterly relationship too as me and my sister are close.
Overall, this is an incredibly heart-warming and heart-breaking book all about teenage grief. This story made me laugh and it also made me cry. I will be recommending it to a lot of people in the future, just as I am doing now! Akemi Dawn Bowman has done it again and written a stunning novel!