I just this moment finished this book and I can't say enough how much love, hope and healing I am feeling because it exists. I want to sit down properly and write out what's what here but I had to immediately shout to whomever is out there reading/listening... this book is AMAZING!! Every word was perfection and the chapters look like a toddler got ahold of a highlighter and went to town, that's how much quotable awesomeness there is within. Ok, first sleep then (hopefully) coherent gushing in the morning.
"I draw a girl with arms that reach up to the clouds, but all the clouds avoid her because she’s made of night and not day."
Oh man I am starstruck with this book... Starstruck and ensnared. This book is emotionally brutal and beautiful, and gripping in the most poignant of ways. Even though I'm not the exact targeted audience... I'm not biracial, I never dealt with the agony of divorce, my anxiety is off the chart but outwardly, socially, I look like a regular, "normal" mess. I still consumed, nay... DEVOURED this beautiful gem... I LOVED every second... I was Kiko... I KNEW..I felt... I winced.. I cried... I was learning to navigate crippling social anxiety... dealing with a toxic mother/daughter/family dynamic and searching for a way to rely on myself to exist and coexist in a scary, chaotic world.
"I know not every family is the same. We all have different personalities and names. Different colors in a box of crayons. Different shades in a box of graphites. And maybe love looks different to different people, the same way beauty looks different. But the kind of love I need isn’t the kind I have. I guess I’m still trying to find a way to be okay with that."
"I don’t want to need anyone. I want to stand on my own two feet. I want control of my own life and my own emotions. I don’t want to be a branch in someone else’s life anymore—I want to be the tree on my own."
The writing was so smooth and effortless I kind of want this review to be a compilation of quotes...let the writing speak for itself....BUT I'm a slightly narcissist book reviewer so I have to put my 2 cents in. Anyway... I found myself breazing through... happily unaware of my page progression. The characters were rich and lovable and loathsome and brilliant all at the same time. Kiko' s anxiety was so tangible and relateable that my own panic rose, chest constricted and pulse galloped every time she ran into triggers.
"I live my life in the small space between “uncomfortable” and “awkward.”
I can relate!
One of my favorite characters was the most amazing Art/Life mentor, Hiroshi. He was like an introspective Zen master who knew all the right things to say and expressed them in all the right ways.... visually, verbally, charismatically , intrinsically.
"Don’t live to please the starfish, especially when their happiness is at the expense of yours. That is not love. That is narcissism. There’s an entire ocean out there, Kiko—swim in it.”
And then there was Jaime. Oh sweet Jaime, how I adore thee! He may have seemed a little bit too perfect but in a world of abuse, anxiety and uncertainty I'll take Perfect every time, greedily. This guy was so swoon worthy that I am still thinking of his unconditional, slightly unbelievable, loyalty and love for the girl who comes off as utterly broken and hopeless yet happens to be the strongest most self aware, resilient character in the book. She is an amazing work in progress and Jaime is aware enough to recognize her awesomeness.
There was just too much incredible, and loads of amazing with all sorts of feeeeeeels!!!
I can't recommend this book highly enough!! THOUGH there are a few trigger warnings:
*anxiety triggers abound
*parental neglect/verbal/mental abuse
There are also amazing triggers like:
*coming to terms with what cannot be changed
*learning to rely on oneself instead of using people as crutches to deal with Life
*learning to love thyself and find beauty in the mirror...
It showed that Beauty comes in all flavors and it can be found in random, unconventional places.
"Artwork isn’t finished just because you’ve colored up to every corner on the page. Artwork is finished when you get to the end of your sentence."
I know this was slightly long but I can not convey enough that this book is BRILLIANT!! Read it, you'll thank me later!!