Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: 'I want you to remember'. Leigh doesn't know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.
Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died - leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn't home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.
Overwhelmed by grief, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.
~I was sent a copy from the publishers-all opinions are my own~
I give it - 5/5
My review - What a beautiful story. I was instantly gripped with this book and I just adore Emily's writing. It was so beautiful and just flowed so nicely that I just couldn't put the book down. I had to know what was happening as it kept me so entranced.
Leigh is feeling distraught. On the night she kisses her best friend, her mother dies by suicide. She's upset she wasn't home, that maybe if she was she could have done something. Her mother left a suicide note and tells her she wants her to remember. But, Leigh is confused and not sure what her mother wants her to remember.
One day, a bird turns up outside her house with her mothers voice. Telling her she must travel to Taiwan to meet her grandparents. Leigh know she has to go, she has to travel to find out what her mother wants her to remember. Whilst being in Taiwan she learns of the Buddhist beliefs, that when a person dies their sprit stays for 49 days to deal with and let go of things that they needed to before they do. With the days counting down, can Leigh figure out what her mother wants her to remember? Being in Taiwan she starts to have memories, of herself and others, and she finds out more about her mother, things about her before she became a mother.
Leigh is half Taiwanese and half American. Her mother always refused to talk about her life in Taiwan, her family, her culture. And now, Leigh has a chance to meet her grandparents for the first time, to take in the culture, to learn and to find out more about her mother and what made her not want Leigh to visit this place but, now she's died she wants her to remember.
I love this story. There is so much in this book that just blew me away. Leigh, after learning about the Buddhist and their beliefs is able to look back on her life and also others.
This book is so much more than you would expect. It deals with a lot from grieving, suicde, depression, beliefs and so much more. It was a beautiful story and yet, so heartbreaking when you get deeper into the story and read more into the lives of Leigh and especially her mother.
If you're looking for a book to read I can't recommend this book enough!