This year I’ve made it my goal to read as many books as I can. Starfish was one of the first books I have read this year and all I can is that it’s brilliant. The author made Kiko so relatable and at times I really wondered whether I was reading about myself or Kiko. I understood the insecurities she felt about being half white half Japanese because of the stigma associated with Asian culture.
We follow Kiko as she deals with others criticising her appearance, her dreams, her actions and even her hobbies. Reading this book was eye opening, and hats off to the author Akemi Bowman as she let go of bottled feelings and told her story, hoping others would understand and feel hopeful. Things can get better.
The book was emotional because Kiko could never see the light in situations. When she never felt loved or beautiful, I wished I could somehow speak to Kiko and say that you are enough! You’re gorgeous and the world is yours! I absolutely hated the way she was being treated. Her family life wasn’t the best, with a mother who psychologically abused her. All she wanted was a mother’s love. It was heartbreaking to see how much she tried and didn’t know about family issues. Her mother was so self-absorbed and greedy. I don’t understand how Kiko dealt with her. Her mother faked everything whenever someone was around, when we know how unsupportive she is. This book really is an example that family isn’t always what it means.
I enjoyed the representation of social anxiety because I got how she felt. I liked how the author put “what I want to say” and “what I actually say” when Kiko is in a situation where she feels her word has no weight. It made the book more relatable because that has happened to me countless of times. I panic and I think that what I say doesn’t matter to anyone. But it does matter and Kiko slowly realised this toward the end of the book. She knew that her words mattered and her art told a story because by the end of the book she loved herself. She healed herself and was proud of her own skin colour and that was so empowering.
I didn’t have a problem with the romance in this book because, the author didn’t portray that love cures everything. Jamie helped her and reminded her that Kiko was enough and beautiful. Jamie understood how Kiko felt and what she needed to hear. I liked how the author developed a friendship between them both which then turned into a relationship. Jamie was there to support Kiko and I think if he wasn’t there, she would be too broken and her loneliness would negatively affect her more.
Her character development Kiko went through with the help of Jamie, Emery (Kiko’s friend), Hiroshi and even her brother was amazing. She learnt that it was okay to be different and embraced her features. Kiko became proud of who she was and accepted her unique beauty. Akemi Bowman’s writing is incredible and at points in the book I would stop and just think about what she had written because it was that deep. I loved her descriptions of Kiko’s art, it was so lyrical and I would even reread her lines. It’s amazing and I enjoyed every minute reading the book.
Overall, I have nothing bad to say about this book which is a first! The story had me hooked from the first sentence. I loved it and I’m glad to say it’s on my favourites pile.
Have you read the book? What did you think?