Colours. What would the world be without them? Sad place, I dare to say… But imagine world in which all that you see AND all that you feel – have colour. Other people’s feelings are clear to you as you
can see the colours changing around them… Well, meet Nikki Kill – a girl with a rare condition called synesthesia. To say her world is a kaleidoscope wouldn’t be just a figure of speech… At first she does not realize that this whole colored world of hers is any different from others – so she talks about it openly, to the confusion (to say the least) of others. Once she realizes she is the only one who can see the world like that – she tries to hide it.
“I’ll explain later, I opened my mouth to say, but I knew that wasn’t true. I wasn’t in the habit of telling anyone about my dolphin blue, or any other color, and I wasn’t going to start today. “I just know,” I said, which turned out to be as close of an explanation to my synesthesia as there was anyway”
And explaining it? Well, she tried that over and over again, when her Dad tried to find out what exactly is wrong with her. So explaining was no fun whatsoever. Here is the conversation she had with a school counselor:
“So you are saying you’re too distracted thinking about colors to concentrate on your work,” he’d said.
“Not really,” I said, hating that I was having to talk about this once again, and that I hadn’t gotten any better at explaining it at eighteen than I had been at eight”
It got me thinking – how would you actually even try to explain it? Something that you consider natural part of your life. How would she know what is “normal” seeing colour and what isn’t? I sure did not envy her at all…
Well, considering her synesthesia, it is no wonder she wasn’t doing good at school…
“I’ll have to think, ‘Is it a three or an e’, and by the time I’ve figured it out, I’ve completely lost my train of thought”
Yup, 3 and “e” have the same colour.
So, as Nikki struggles at school, and discouraged – skips classes, gets to the point where her graduation becomes, well, “iffy” to say the least – she gets a phone call from another girl in her school… Thus getting involved into a whole world, which she had no idea about, and which was not a safe place. Peyton, the girl that called her, ends up beaten up in the hospital, Nikki starts getting flashbacks to the times her mother was brutally killed (no killers found).
“Crimson meant death.”
She knows her colours. Crimson was the one she saw when she found her mother in the big puddle of blood… That also was the colour she saw around Peyton at the hospital…
Meandering around the clues, getting into fights (working out at the dojang comes in handy when she needs to fight some pretty big attackers), overcoming her distrust in the police (they did not do a great job finding her mother’s killer, did they?), skiping so many classes in the meantime, that she is not sure if the last teacher who still had some patience left – won’t give up on her as well – she gets to the bottom of things…
But what she finds in there is the biggest surprise of them all.
I am not going to spoil everything and write it out there nice and clear. Enough to mention that Nikki discovers she is not the only one with synesthesia, that things aren’t always as they seem, and her world just might slightly turn its angle…
Oh and the police thing? Well, she’ll learn that not all of them are that bad.
The only thing I’m going to write about the ending of the book, is that it nicely leaves a field for the next books in the series 🙂
And this one was my absolute favourite quote:
“You know what they should teach in school? How not to become a bitter, mistrustful ball of numb when life shits all over you […] How to keep people at arm’s distance so you don’t lose your mind when they leave you, because no matter what they say, they always, always, always will, no matter what.
That would be a useful class”
As I was reading I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Nikki… She tries to be (and is) a tough girl, does not allow herself to love anyone, breaks up the relationships when she notices too much involvement from the other side… and yet I couldn’t stop thinking that deep down there inside she MUST yearn for love… She seems to be pushing people away from her at all time, hopefully she will find a soul she could trust, a person who will understand her well enough for the relationship to develop…
Great book! Wishing all the best luck to the Author, and hoping for the book #2 in the series!
About the Author
Jennifer Brown is the author of acclaimed young adult novels, Hate List, Bitter End, Perfect Escape, Thousand Words, and Torn Away. Her debut novel, Hate List, received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Bitter End received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Her debut middle grade novel, Life on Mars, was released in 2014, and her second middle grade novel, How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots, Traitors, and Missy the Cruel will be released in summer 2015. She also writes women’s fiction under the name Jennifer Scott.