Kaleidoscope Eyes. Jen Bryant. 2009. Random House. 264 pages.
If only I had known this one was a verse novel, I would have read it much sooner! I'd been looking for a good verse novel for quite a while now.
What is Kaleidoscope Eyes about? Well, the year is 1968, and our heroine, Lyza, is going through some struggling times. Her mom's gone. Her grandpa's dead. Her older sister is acting even stranger than usual. She has a hippie for a boyfriend. 'Hairy' Harry. Her father's almost always gone, always busy doing something. And it just seems like everything is coming apart. Not just with Lyza and her family, but with the world, the country, in general. But Lyza has several things going for her. She has two of the best friends a girl could have: Malcolm and Carolann. True, these friends are very different from one another. (Tall, shy, black guy and a small, hyperactive white girl.) But together these three have a great time together. Together these three are family.
One day--after reluctantly being called into service--Lyza finds something remarkable, something special, something just for her eyes. You see, her grandfather has died. And the three of them (her dad, her sister, herself) have to sort through his house, his belongings. Lyza assigns herself the attic, and what she discovers--a letter with three maps--changes her life forever. Her grandfather has given her one last gift, one last adventure, and that means everything to her.
Soon this adventure is shared between the three friends (though not with her family). This adventure will make the summer of 1968 unforgettable!
Here's a sample of one of the poems:
Some nights, before I go to sleep,
I look through the lens of the
one Mom gave me
for my tenth birthday, just to see how, when I
turn the tube slowly around,
every fractured pattern that bends and splits
into a million little pieces
always come back together, to make a picture
more beautiful than the one before. (9)
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews