Review – Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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October 11, 2019 by ceresbooksworld


Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman


Publisher : Simon Pulse

Publication date : September 26th, 2017

Source : Paperback

Rating : Evil Love




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

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.

A William C. Morris Award Finalist; A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens of 2017; A Junior Library Guild Selection


Kiko was not accepted into the art school of her dreams. At the same time she sees her best friend again, for whom she has always had a crush on, and the latter invites her to come with him to California for the summer.

Kiko doesn’t have an easy life, she is half Japanese and her schoolmates have never been very nice to her. She is subject to social anxiety and her family is strange to say the least. Her parents are divorced, she doesn’t talk more than that with her brothers even if they live under the same roof. She’s looking for her mother’s attention, but she’s just horrible to her. It pushes Kiko to accept Jamie’s offer.

I loved this story, it was just great, the characters are interesting.

Kiko wants to change her life but she doesn’t know how to do it and Jamie will help her. Just the fact that she’s away from her mother is enough for Kiko to change. She’s going to find a mentor, Hiroshi, who’s really sweet.

Jamie is a very charming boy, he is happy to have found Kiko again and to finally be able to tell her his feelings. He will help her a lot and even if there will be ups and downs, their friendship will be stronger.

It’s the best book I’ve ever read about social anxiety, it’s easy to find your way around some aspects of Kiko’s personality. This book also covers other topics such as family problems and racism.

I discovered Akemi Dawn Bowman with this book and I might as well tell you that I am conquered. I also had the pleasure of meeting her at the YALC this year and she is a wonderful person, extremely kind.

Quick word: A book to be read by all teenagers.


Kiko n’est pas acceptée dans l’école d’art de ses rêves. Au même moment elle revoit son meilleur ami pour lequel elle a toujours eu le béguin et ce dernier lui propose de venir avec lui en Californie pour l’été.

Kiko n’a pas une vie facile, elle est à moitié japonaise et ses camarades d’école n’ont jamais été très sympa avec elle. Elle est sujette à l’anxiété sociale et sa famille est pour le moins étrange. Ses parents sont divorcés, elle ne parle pas plus que ça avec ses frères même s’ils vivent sous le même toit. Elle recherche l’attention de sa mère mais cette dernière est juste horrible avec elle. Ça pousse Kiko a accepter la proposition de Jamie.

J’ai adoré cette histoire, elle tout simplement géniale, les personnages sont intéressants.

Kiko a envie de changer de vie mais elle ne sait pas comment s’y prendre et Jamie va l’aider. Juste le fait de l’éloigner de sa mère suffit à ce que Kiko change. Elle va se trouver un mentor, Hiroshi, qui est vraiment adorable.

Jamie est un garçon tout à fait charmant, il est heureux d’avoir retrouvé Kiko et de pouvoir enfin lui annoncer ses sentiments. Il va beaucoup l’aider et même s’il y aura des hauts et des bas, leur amitié sera plus forte.

C’est le meilleur livre traitant d’anxiété sociale que j’ai lu, il est facile de se retrouver dans certains aspects de la personnalité de Kiko. Ce livre traite aussi d’autres sujets tels que les problèmes familiaux et le racisme.

J’ai découvert Akemi Dawn Bowman avec ce livre et autant vous dire que je suis conquise. J’ai aussi eu le plaisir de la rencontrer au YALC cette année et c’est une personne formidable, d’une extrème gentillesse.

En bref : Un livre à faire lire à tous les adolescents.

About the author

Akemi Dawn Bowman is the author of William C. Morris Award Finalist STARFISH, SUMMER BIRD BLUE, and HARLEY IN THE SKY. Her upcoming sci-fi series, THE INFINITY COURTS, is set to release in 2021, followed by her middle-grade debut, GENERATION MISFITS. A proud Ravenclaw and Star Wars enthusiast, she has a BA in social sciences from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She currently lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She is represented by Penny Moore of Aevitas Creative Management.


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