Summer Bird Blue

Trigger warnings: car accident, sibling death, grief, panic attacks, drowning

I loved Starfish last year and was eagerly anticipating Bowman’s second book, knowing about her beautiful writing style and raw, honest discussion of dark issues. But did Summer Bird Blue live up to my expectations?



Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life.

My Thoughts:

I really loved how Rumi’s memories were woven so naturally into the prose, making both her and me shocked and freshly wounded. When you lose someone, memories often resurface at the smallest things at completely random times and the shock sweeps you off your feet, even years later. Bowman is such an intricate writer, crafting brilliant, complex characters and her attention to detail in creating the messiness of grief on page is sublime.

Rumi herself just captured my heart and made me cry multiple times. She’s a stubborn, headstrong, grieving teenager, who is just trying to rebuild herself after losing the closest person in her life and is so three-dimensional and real. Her emotions pour over the page and are so raw. Also, the inclusion of her questioning and identifying her aro-ace sexuality was naturally interwoven and  made me ashamed at how few books I’d read that had aro-ace characters in.

Bowman has become one of my favourite authors with her incredible writing style, which is also so easy to read that I ended up reading both Starfish and Summer Bird Blue in one sitting apiece. She also discusses mental health in such a raw and honest way, particularly how trauma affects our mental health and the importance of seeking help.

Summer Bird Blue is a heart-wrenching, beautiful and complex portrayal of grief with a stunning writing style, great characters and is definitely a story that I will treasure for a long time.

Add Summer Bird Blue on Goodreads


9 thoughts on “Summer Bird Blue

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