This is the first novel in verse I’ve read on my Kindle (and because of that, I have no idea if the formatting I saw is how the author intended it). As with many novels in verse, I wouldn’t categorize this as poetry, so I think that classification is misleading. The language, for the most part, is pretty straightforward here.
What this novel IS is a great story, told in the briefest of captured moments. It’s like telling an entire life through a slideshow of conversations or scenes. It’s hard to do such a condensed story well, and Bryant does it exceedingly well.
Lyza is a teen in the 60s, dealing with a mom who abandoned the family, a black best friend in a still quietly segregated town, local boys being killed in Vietnam, a feminist big sister, a suspicious and exhausted father, and a mystery involving maps left to her by her grandfather. All of these pieces weave together to make an engaging, smart story. Will Lyza’s mom come back? Will her best friend’s older brother come back from Vietnam? Will they find pirate treasure? Is her sister really a heartless feminazi? Read it and find out!
Lyza is an observer and a thinker, and I like the kaleidoscope element throughout. Most of all, she’s a girl I would have been friends with when I was a kid.
(Review copy of Kaleidoscope Eyes from my local library)