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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 7 star ratings
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    This book is amazing

    I have no Words, this book is amazing! I loved Reading it so much
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    a stunning book

    Starfish was absolutely stunning. Inside and out. I have never felt so many emotions whilst reading a book nor have I ever felt so connected to a character. I related to Kiko so so much. We share the same social anxiety struggles and I just adored her. There are no words to describe how beautiful Akemi Dawn Bowman writes and I implore everyone to pick up this book.
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    A Beautiful And Heartwarming Story

    Starfish tells a story about a young half Japanese woman Kiko, and her emotional journey of self discovery and strength as she struggles to cope with being rejected from her dream art school, Prism. With her best friend, Emery, leaving town, Kiko loses her crutch and starts to make the first steps into the world on her own, and her less than understanding, and self absorbed mother doesn't make it any easier for her. Gradually as the story is told, Kiko learns about the true meaning of beauty, friendship, and family and finds a strength in her she didn't realise she had, but was there all along. "I feel weird just standing there listening. Do other people do that? Move from circle to circle, socialising with everyone like they all know each other? It seems invasive. I don't know the rules." This novel is told from Kiko's point of view, which I absolutely loved. So much of what she said resonated so strongly with me, particularly when she describes and draws about her experience with social anxiety. The anxiety was represented beautifully, and there were so many points in the book where I felt it was echoing exactly the sorts of things I've felt. In my head, I was mentally saying. "This is me. This is me. I've been there," so many times, which made the whole story all the more poignant and personal. I love the little descriptions of her sketches at the ends of the chapters an seeing how they evolved as Kiko grows as a person and learns about how to be strong and deal with her hideous mother which has had such a strangling and suffocating effect on her, and her siblings. I adored that as the story progressed, she was self aware enough to realise that she needed to do a bit of healing, on her own. That Jamie can't 'save' her, and before she can let people into her life, and love them, she needs to learn to accept and love herself, This book is just beautiful and I cannot recommend it highly enough. * This ebook ARC was provided by Black & White Publishing through NetGalley for an honest review.
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    Poignant and amazing.

    Ebook provided by NetGalley for review! Thank you. Beautifully written and poignant this is the story of half-Japanese Kiko and her emotionally abusive, manipulative white mother who constantly criticizes Kiko and her looks. Apparently she can do nothing right and this has given Kiko a severe case of anxiety and co-dependency, initially leaning on best friend Emery she switches to childhood friend Jamie after Emery leaves for college. Two shy brothers, and a father I'd like to know about, plus a fascinating Japanese artist round out an interesting cast of characters. The character development was brilliant and I loved how Kiko matured and grew up and learned to handle her anxiety and become independent. I absolutely loved the story and I thought it flowed very well. I was drawn in and I couldn't put it down, I loved Akemi's writing style and I can't wait to read more from her.
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    Absolutely lovely!

    I received an eARC from @inkroadbooks/ Black and White Publishing, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Kiko, an aspiring artist, is about to graduate from high school and ready to leave home. Wanting to escape from her toxic relationship with her narcissistic mother. When Kiko is not accepted in her no.1 art school, which would have been a fresh start away from home, she decides to travel to California with her childhood best friend. It is there where she tries to find her identity in this world and deals with obstacles in her life with the help of her friend and an artist who takes her under his wing. This book touches topics like racism, anxiety, sexual and emotional abuse, and suicide. The way Akemi Dawn Bowman weaved all this into the story was authentic; it felt real. Kiko is a great narrator, I liked how she switches from what she wanted to say to what she actually said. Or how detailed she describes her anxiety, something I can identify with. And how her descriptions of her drawings at the of a chapter were so visual for me and matched her feelings in that moment. I absolutely loved reading Starfish and love the cover!
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