By Claire Contreras
Kaleidoscope Hearts is another one of those books that drew me in with the cover, it’s just beautiful.
In the beginning we’re introduced to Estelle (Elle) and quickly discover how bad the past year has been for her. She’s packing up the home she shared with her fiancé Wyatt, who died a year earlier. Still in mourning, she knows she has to move on and selling their home is a big step. While waiting for the house to sell, she moves in with her older brother Vic, and on that first night she’s met with the one man she had hoped she’d never see again, Oliver: Vic’s best friend and the man who broke her heart.
From here, the book alternates between the past and present, flashing back in time to past events between Elle and Oliver, starting when she was 16 and he was 19. In these flashbacks we see them spend several years making out at random events, until they finally give in to their desires the night before he leaves for med school. After he leaves without waking her for a goodbye, he doesn’t see or contact her for a year. It’s not until he learns she’s engaged to Wyatt does he realise what he’s done and what he’s lost.
In the present, Oliver is determined to correct his past mistakes and pursues Elle in the hopes she’ll give him another chance. We see Elle try to fight her attraction to Oliver as she holds on desperately to her anger, and her insecurities manifest often she sees and hears about Oliver’s encounters with other women. At first refusing his advances, she spends more time with him after he suggests she bring art to the kids at his hospital. It’s there he discovers where her true passions and skills lie, in making kaleidoscope hearts.
Oliver: “Shattering hearts,” he comments, his teeth grinding. “It’s fitting.”
Elle: “They’re not shattering hearts, they’re kaleidoscope hearts,” I correct him.
Oliver: “What’s the difference? You make them with broken pieces.”
Elle: “The difference is that it’s already broken, but I use the pieces to rebuild it. The difference is that the heart has a second chance, and maybe it’ll get broken again, but it’s already shattered, so maybe the fall won’t be as bad.”
So I thought this book was a nice read, and Oliver does seem like a catch, but for some reason I just can’t give this book 5 hearts. It’s well written and the story flowed very nicely, blending the past with the present with POVs from both Elle and Oliver. I think my main two problems are these:
1 – I don’t exactly know how Oliver broke Elle’s heart. It seemed to me that she was the aggressor, always coming on to him and pushing his boundaries. She never told him she loved him, she never asked him out, she slept with other men, and she knew he was leaving when she finally convinced him to sleep with her. With all of that, I don’t see what he did wrong and why she felt so hurt and betrayed by him, other than the fact he never called her after he left. But again, she never told him how she felt so how can he be blamed for that?
2 – Ignoring my personal opinion that Oliver didn’t do anything wrong, both Elle and Oliver think he did. With that in mind, I found it interesting that he never really told her he was sorry or that he regretted his actions. At least he doesn’t initially. He comes back into her life and hounds her for a date until she gives in. And yet when he pursues her in the beginning, he’s apparently still sleeping with other women and is very blasé about Elle being upset over it. I found this quite insensitive, especially given what she was still going through in regards to Wyatt’s death. If you’re truly sorry, just say it. If you really want a future with a particular woman, stop sleeping with other women. Don’t come at her like a bull in a china shop. Don’t think you can win her over in a heartbeat with your charming smile. Be a man. Say you’re sorry and mean it. From memory he eventually does, but I would have preferred he did it from the start.
Oliver: This is life. This is what happens when you stop living in the moment. People grow up. They change, they move on, and you find yourself wishing you had looked up in time to walk with them.
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