The Astonishing Color of After

Narrated by: Stephanie Hsu
Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (260 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Emily X.R. Pan's brilliantly crafted, harrowing first novel portrays the vast spectrum of love and grief with heart-wrenching beauty and candor. This is a very special book." (John Green, best-selling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down)

A stunning, heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love, and family, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng.

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Emily X.R. Pan (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"This beautiful, magical journey through grief made my heart take flight." (Holly Black, best-selling author of The Cruel Prince and The Darkest Part of the Forest)

"Pan's debut novel is not to be missed." (School Library Journal)

"An evocative novel that captures the uncertain, unmoored feeling of existing between worlds--culturally, linguistically, ethnically, romantically, and existentially - it is also about seeking hope and finding beauty even in one's darkest hours." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about The Astonishing Color of After

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Worth Reading Until the End

Although I did not connect with the Asian culture that was so prevalent in this book and at times it felt too descriptive and because of that slow, I was glad I listened to the book in its entirety. It provided insights into the world of depression and its impact on friends and family. It reminds us to be brave enough to have uncomfortable conversations and not make assumptions, and of the power of forgiveness in the healing process. Dreams and memories give us hope and fill us with life. At times it was difficult to follow all the various flashbacks and construct a sequenced timeline in my head. Ultimately, I loved the ending and this book left me reflecting on so many things - well worth the read!

3 people found this helpful

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My New Favorite

Here are some things about me: I’m a multiethnic (Japanese, Chinese, White) theater artist with depression and anxiety. I read and listen to books like I drink water. This book spoke to my soul in a way that I didn’t know was possible. The writing was beautiful. Fantastic imagery, tackled issues of identity without being didactic, explored death, family, and love without cliche or feeling too heavy. Buy this audiobook then buy the hard copy. Then gift it to a friend. Yes, it says it’s a YA novel because the protagonist is a teen, but it really does speak across age groups.

2 people found this helpful

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what a wonderful book

i had no idea what to expect, but this book is full of shock, grief, raw emotion, surprise, discovery... and truth. beautifully written.

1 person found this helpful

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Such a beautiful story

A new favorite for sure! I love all the emotions portrayed and the amazing shocking moments at the end of the book. I would definitely reccomend this for anyone looking for an amazing adventure with tons of twists and turns and for anyone wanting to read a beautifully written book.

1 person found this helpful

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Uhhhh my heart

I did not expect from the beginning to get out of this book what I did. It was a remarkable expression of emotion that left you wondering, crying and hopeful through out. Incredibly impressed, definitely recommend... I have never read a book quite like this one.

1 person found this helpful

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Impeccable writing, slow build

While the story itself seemed to move along rather slowly, the writing was outstanding and the ending was worth the read.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful fiction

A great rendition of the senses surrounding mental illness, loss, family, unanswered questions and suicide.

1 person found this helpful

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Just not for me

This is a wonderful, beautiful story where the telling just wasn’t my cup of tea. I think if it was significantly shorter, I would have enjoyed it more but the search in the middle was very very drawn out.

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Incredible

What a wonderful journey this book will take you on. I absoloutly loved it. It is colorful and hopeful reminding us of the power we have in our lives.

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Beautiful

This book is beautifully written. I couldn't stop listening. This book was well worth the time and I'd 100% recommend it to everyone I know.