Can’t Wait Wednesday – Spotlight on STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman


“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.  It is a meme that I have  loved participating in for over a year now, but as Jill is no longer actively posting, from now on I’ll just be linking to Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted by Tressa, which is a spinoff of the original WoW meme.

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My selection for this week is STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman.  I just think Starfish sounds like it’s going to be such a beautiful and moving read.  I felt a connection to Kiko and what she was going through as soon as I read the synopsis and immediately wanted to follow her journey of self-discovery.  Couple that with the wonderful advance reviews below is this is a must-read for me.


STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Publication Date:  September 26, 2017


From Goodreads:

A gorgeous and emotionally resonant debut novel about a half-Japanese teen who grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school.

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

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Advance Praise for STARFISH


**A Junior Library Guild Selection

**Bustle’s New YA Novels from First Time Authors You Need to Read in the Second Half of 2017

**B&N Teen Blog’s Most Anticipated Debut Novels of the Second Half of 2017

“In an empowering novel that will speak to many mixed-race teens, debut author Bowman has created a cast of realistically complex and conflicted characters. . . . Through art, Kiko gains a voice and finally understands that she is worthy, desirable, and talented.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Bowman evokes Kiko’s quiet hurt, pain, and frustration with breathtaking clarity, all the while reinforcing the narrative with love and hope. The story will resonate deeply with readers who have experienced abuse of any kind, or who have been held back by social anxiety. Starfish is a stunningly beautiful, highly nuanceddebut.” —Booklist, starred review

“A deep and engaging story that will not only entertain but also may encourage readers to live their best lives.” —School Library Journal

“Moving.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Dazzling.” —Bustle

“This book is a gem.” —BookRiot

“A vibrant, complex and heartfelt story about finding your place in a sharp-edged world that never makes it easy.” —Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of Conviction

“Akemi Dawn Bowman’s quietly dazzling debut novel gave me the sensation of looking into a mirror. This story is a knockout, at once an incisive portrait of family dysfunction, a nuanced depiction of Asian-American adolescence, and an artist’s vibrant coming-of-age—a story so specific as to be universal. Brimming with confessional intimacy and the furious strength of empowerment, Starfish feels like the ache of being lost and the relief of finding home.” —Riley Redgate, author of Seven Ways We Lie and Noteworthy

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I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your CWW selection for this week. 🙂

24 replies
  1. Literary Feline
    Literary Feline says:

    This does really sound good! I haven’t heard of Starfish before, but it sounds like it will be a terrific read. I hope you enjoy it when you read it. I am adding this one to my wish list.

  2. Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1)
    Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1) says:

    Wonderful pick, Suzanne. I like the last sentence in the blurb — about her learning to be brave, and I guess not holding herself back? It’s something we all tend to do even if we don’t realize it but this sounds like a thoughtful and intense exploration of this with different situations.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I was lucky enough to get approved for an ARC of this a few days ago so I really can’t wait to read it. It sounds like such a beautiful story.

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