Friday, August 1, 2014

"Kaleidoscope" by Kevin Berry

(Stim Book 2)
by Kevin Berry

Kaleidoscope is the second book in Kevin Berry's series about Aspies, or people with Asperger's Syndrome. Also available: Stim (only $0.99; read my blog post).

Kaleidoscope is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Chloe is different. She has Asperger's Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder and probably a few other inconvenient conditions as well. She's a quirky, resourceful and clever psychology student, but her world is literally about to be shaken apart.
A devastating earthquake sparks a chain of events that spiral her life out of control. She's off her meds. Her oddly-named cat is missing. She doesn't know what she wants out of life any more. Misfortune and uncertainty don't mix well with bundles of energy and Chloe's tendency to ignore consequences. It's as if mayhem and trouble are her constant companions.
Will Chloe be able to cope with the earth-shaking events that rock her world?
Share her journey.

Praise for this Book
"This is a wonderful book, I highly recommend it to all readers, especially to anyone with someone with Asperger's or bi-polar disorder in their life. Berry brings this charming and ruthlessly honest story alive with a clear and distinctive voice." ~ Tahlia Newland for Awesome Indies
"A remarkable story told with sensitivity, Kaleidoscope describes the despair that follows a tragedy. But, ultimately, Berry’s message is one of hope, since out of chaos, anything is possible." ~ Lee Murray, author of A Dash of Reality, Battle of the Birds, and Misplaced
"5 Stars - The story is well-written and superbly edited. The characters endear themselves to the reader. Chloe’s intelligence is far more important than her various diagnoses. Her strength of character shines through the pages. I heartily recommend this book. It delivers a dose of understanding sweetened by a fast-paced enchanting story." ~ Amazon reviewer

Some of My Favorite Lines
"I fell anxious about flying as it is without having to deal with this kind of useless social interaction. I need my book as an escape, as a little bubble of life-support, as a controlled environment around me to distract me from the fact that I'm surrounded by hundreds of strangers in a tin can in the air that I can't get off if I have a panic attack."
"The nicest part of travelling is coming home again."
"It's a shock to come home and find home isn't where it used to be."
"I felt hesitant about letting anyone, even Robert, sort through my books one by one. They're too personal. Seeing and touching all of someone's books is a bit like fondling their underwear."
"Decisions are hard for me to make. Each one generates a whole heap of stress because of the uncertainty about whether the choice I make is the 'right' one."
"I can't keep myself out of bookshops for long. I love looking through the new titles, scanning my favourite shelves to see which books have been added or taken out, and rearranging any that are out of place. Sometimes I just like to handle the books, sniff their 'new book' smell and flip through the pages."
"I love the feel of my violin, and what it does for me. It's loyal and reliable and constant, like a good book."
"When I play music, it's as if I'm a storyteller, and I'm telling a story with elegant, passionate melody."
"For a while, I pondered over whether I should try writing a bestseller after all. How hard could it be? It would certainly keep me busy, though I would probably have to cultivate a coffee or alcohol dependency to do it properly, like professional writers."
"The way I see things is like through a kaleidoscope - disjointed and broken, ever-changing, yet somehow beautiful in a structured way. But it makes it hard, sometimes, to identify what people want or even who they are."

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Chloe is an Aspie like Robert, however, she suffers from a number of other conditions as well, most notably bipolar disorder. Chloe experiences the world "through a filter like a kaleidoscope; everything's there, but all jumbled up." She has difficulty making decisions, so she wears a set color for each day of the week and always orders the same take-out in order to avoid making decisions.
Chloe has been on medication for her bipolar disorder for seven and a half months, but she wants to quit and become herself again. But things are never easy for her. She comes home from visiting her father in Australia, only to find that her cousin Stef has moved them all to a new house. Not one to deal with change, Chloe doesn't react too well. On top of that, another massive earthquake strikes Christchurch. As a result, their new house is destroyed, there's no power or water, her cousin Marinda is missing, her cat Sex is also missing, and she becomes obsessed with earthquake statistics. And now she's also off her meds. How will Chloe get back on track?
Kaleidoscope is the sequel to Stim, this time told from the point-of-view of Robert's flatmate Chloe. Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but together they paint a fuller picture of the relationship between these two characters. It's interesting to read from Chloe's point of view this time, as we get an insight into her insecurities and quirks. She seems very "together" in Stim, but Kevin is probably an unreliable narrator because of his Asperger's Syndrome. I loved Chloe's neologisms (newly coined words, e.g., passenjerk, tripidation, idiosyncrazies, cuteability), and her passion for books and her violin. Through it all, the New Zealand earthquake is ever-present and is a whole character in itself. Chloe's attempt at writing a best-seller is a great touch.
A delightful and insightful read.

About the Author
Kevin Berry is an indie author. His particular niche is writing Aspie New Adult contemporary novels set in an earthquake zone. The first of these is Stim (published in October 2013), followed by Kaleidoscope (January 2014).
His first novels, co-written with Diane Berry as K. D. Berry, are: Dragons Away! (winner of the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2012 for Best New Talent), Growing Disenchantments, and Fountain of Forever (humorous fantasy).

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.