Kaleidoscope Hearts (Hearts #1) by Claire ContrerasKaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras
Published January 2015
Series: Hearts #1
Genres: New Adult
Format: eBook
Buy it on Amazon
Check it out on Goodreads

He was my older brother's best friend.
He was never supposed to be mine.
I thought we would get it out of our system and move on.

One of us did.
One of us left.

Now he’s back, looking at me like he wants to devour me. And all those feelings I’d turned into anger are brewing into something else, something that terrifies me.
He broke my heart last time.
This time he'll obliterate it.

Estelle “Elle” Reuben is picking up the pieces of her shattered heart as she slowly lets go of the remainders of a shared life with her boyfriend of three years and deceased fiancé Wyatt. After putting their house up for sale, she moves in with her brother Victor. What she didn’t expect was to cross path with Oliver Hart again, her older brother’s best friend and the guy who broke her heart way back. But despite a rather tumultuous shared past, Oliver is dead set on reconnecting with her.

What I loved about this book:

  • Nothing too outstanding to mention here…

What I felt needed improvement:

  • The two moronic main characters
  • The dull plot
  • Some scenes and fact didn’t feel real

Kaleidoscope Hearts reviews flooded my Goodreads feed a while back and I thought I might as well give it a go myself. And while – as you will have guessed – the many reviews on Goodreads were highly positive, I must say that for once, I can’t follow suit and share the same high opinion of this book.

Unfortunately, most of that was due a week plot and to the utterly moronic and completely anti-heroic main characters.

First, let’s discuss the plot. Estelle is mourning her fiancé Wyatt, who she had been with during the last 3 years. She moves back to her brother’s place (in the same town, if I dare say) and suddenly, out of the blue, she runs into her former crush Oliver, who also happens to be her brothers best bud. Yeah, like they never would have met before that day, since they live and work in the same city and all… But anyway, this encounter brings old feelings up again, and turns out Estelle is still mourning what could have been with Oliver all those years ago before she met Wyatt.

So Estelle really bothered me. She’s total pushover with totally unnatural reactions. What annoyed me was the way she mourned after Wyatt: like he was a god who taught her everything she knows and made her into what she is today, when objectively, all we ever hear about Wyatt are quite negative things. In fact he was controlling, condescending, jealous and temperamental. This made me think a lot about Consolation, by Corinne Michaels, where the heroin mourns the perfect image of her husband, and forgets how unhappy she sometimes was with the actual person. I can understand this in Estelle’s situation, even though it proves that Estelle is a naive person that got attached too quickly after her “fiasco” with Oliver, years back. She doesn’t come from a broken home, but she was definitely looking for affection and someone to get attached to, and quick.

Yeah, and the way it is described in Kaleidoscope Hearts, the relationship Estelle and Wyatt had before he dies felt weird and unreal. How can you get so serious in 3 years? Get engaged, move in together, open a gallery? How can you do all these things when something is fundamentally wrong with the relationship and ALL of Elle’s family and friends noticed?

I found the Kaleidoscope Heart Sculptures that Elle makes (and all the metaphors around them) very poetic, but there were so many references to them that it soon became pathetic. It felt like Elle never got over Oliver and had a full-on fixation on what he did to her, which translated into a frantic and repeated heart-sculpture making. And Wyatt, Elle’s deceased fiancé, knew what they stood for, and even went so far to encouraged this special kind of mourning after a relationship that never got to be. I mean she mourns more over never having had Oliver years back than she does over loosing her actual fiancé.

“It’s a heart. They always break at some point. Sooner or later someone will come along and shatter if anyway – might as well be you.”

It was definitely too much unwarranted drama, extremely whiny passages, and not enough twists and turns to make the story interesting. The only thing that kept me reading was wanting to find out what the hell happened between Elle and Oliver so long ago – and frankly I just rolled my eyes when I found out.

“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 a bad.”

Now on to Oliver. I found him to be one of the worst male heroines ever: his actions, past and present, just show how much of a chicken he is, and too afraid to act when he should have. Not sexy. There was a whole bla around him feeling he would betray his best friend if he dated his younger sister, but that really isn’t a valid reason for what Oliver did to Elle. It just demonstrates, again and again, how much of a coward Oliver really was. Sure, he got better with age and wised up (and actually comes down with some really romantic shit in the end) but he sure was a prime idiot before.

“She made me smile on days that laughter seemed impossible. She made me see hope in things I didn’t know existed.”

The writing was written in 1st person, mainly from Elle’s point of view, but it did leave some room to occasionally dip into the depths of Oliver’s mind. The whole writing was OK, even though I found it a bit too dreamy/spiritual/metaphoric/cheesy/bordering on whiny. I mean sure, there are some very nice and true quotes in this book if you take them out of context, but all in one book it was just too much.

The ending was just very predictable, but thankfully some of the scenes leading to it were cute, nice and some even funny to some extent. Kaleidoscope Hearts wasn’t a bad read per se, but I’ve certainly read much better books with more passionate characters and more realistic storylines.

Detailed Rating
3 Stars
1.5 Stars
4 Stars
All the feels
2.5 Stars
Overall: two-stars