Leigh Chen Sanders, a fifteen-year-old girl grieving the death of her mother, balances between reality and magic, past and present, and between two different worlds as she searches for her mother, who she now believes to be a bird. In this story of ghosts and family secrets, Leigh learns about grief, reconciliation, mental illness, and her own identity through powerful imagery, suspense, and engaging storytelling. In a secondary classroom, “The Astonishing Color of After” is suitable in literature circles and as a novel study. The novel’s themes of mental health, suicide, and grief can be broached through reflections and projects. Log in to read the full review.