Review: Kaleidoscope Eyes – Jen Bryant

kaleidoscope eyes
Title: Kaleidoscope Eyes
Author: Jen Bryant
Publication Date: May 12, 2009
Opening Sentence: “I wake up every morning to Janis Joplin.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon

When Lyza helps her dad clean out her late grandfather’s house, a mysterious surprise brightens the sad task. In Gramps’s dusty attic, Lyza discovers three maps, carefully folded and stacked, bound by a single rubber band. On top, an envelope says “For Lyza ONLY.” What could this possibly be? It takes the help of her two best friends, Malcolm and Carolann, to figure out that the maps reveal three possible spots in their own New Jersey town where Captain Kidd (the Captain Kidd, seventeenth-century pirate) may have buried a treasure. Can three thirteen-year-olds actually conduct a secret treasure hunt? And what will they find?

In a tale inspired by a true story of buried treasure, Jen Bryant weaves an emotional and suspenseful novel in poems, all set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War during a pivotal year in U.S. history.

Once upon a time I tried to write a review for Kaleidoscope Eyes and failed. Then I tried again… and again… and again….

I loved Kaleidoscope Eyes so much, but for some reason I’ve been at a loss for words to say about it, so please excuse this sure-to-be short review. The length of it doesn’t reflect on the book at all.

The title of this book doesn’t give much away about the subject matter of the story, so I was excited to find out it’s about pirate treasure AND it’s set in 1968. (Woo, historical fiction! Many adults are probably crying right now because the sixties are technically “historical”.) The story itself was so great. It could have become too childish in regard to pirate treasure or too heavy in regard to the tough time period, but Jen Bryant balanced everything out and made the story wonderful to read. It was never forgotten that there was a war going on or there was struggle with racism, but it didn’t overpower the story and that really appealed to me. This is a novel in verse, so there were times I wished something had been explained more fully, but there was never anything in the story that seemed unclear or unfinished.

All in all this was such a fabulous random pick and I’m so glad to have read it. Every single scene and character was amazing and unique and really helped thrust the plot forward. I would recommend this book to just about anyone, especially considering it’s a quick read.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

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