The BookBrowse Review

Published June 22, 2022

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

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Publishing Soon

Literary Fiction


Historical Fiction


Short Stories


Essays


Mysteries


Thrillers


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Biography/Memoir


History, Current Affairs and Religion


Science, Health and the Environment


Travel & Adventure


Young Adults

Literary Fiction

  • Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (rated 4/5)

Thrillers


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


Extras
  • Blog:
    6 Novels for Book Clubs That Reflect on Reproductive Rights
  • Wordplay:
    T O Thing W H T F I F I
  • Book Giveaway:
    Win a signed copy of Where the Crawdads Sing
Book Jacket

Kaleidoscope
A Novel
by Cecily Wong
5 Jul 2022
320 pages
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: Literary Fiction
Critics:
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A dazzling and heartfelt novel about two sisters caught in their parents' ambition, the accident that brings it all crashing down, and the journey that follows.

Everybody's heard of The Brightons.

From rags to riches, sleepy Oregon to haute New York, they are the biracial Chinese American family that built Kaleidoscope, a glittering, 'global bohemian' shopping empire sourcing luxury goods from around the world. Statuesque, design savant, and family pet—eldest daughter Morgan Brighton is most celebrated of all. Yet despite her favored status, both within the family and in the press, nobody loves her more than Riley. Smart and nervy Riley Brighton — whose existence is forever eclipsed by her older sister's presence. When a catastrophic event dismantles the Brightons' world, it is Riley who's left with questions about her family that challenge her memory, identity, and loyalty. She sets off across the globe with an unlikely companion to seek truths about the people she thought she knew best —herself included.

Using the brightly colored, shifting mosaic patterns of a kaleidoscope as its guide, and told in arresting, addictive fragments, Kaleidoscope is at once a reckoning with one family's flawed American Dream, and an examination of the precious bond between sisters. It reveals, too, the different kinds of love left to grow when tightly held stories are finally let go. At turns devastating and funny, warm and wise, sexy and transportive, Riley's journey confronts the meaning of freedom and travel, youth and innocence, and what it looks like to belong, grieve, and love on one's own terms.

"Wong (Diamond Head) captures the fierce bond and stark differences between two mixed-race Chinese American sisters, one of whom dies in a freak accident, in her penetrating latest...The author balances her characters' palpable emotions with whip-smart commentary on cultural commodification...It's a smash." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Told from various perspectives, skipping backward and forward through time, the kaleidoscopic narrative allows readers to form their own opinions about the Brightons and their decisions, getting a glimpse of the way people behave on the worst days of their lives and thereafter. A deftly written family saga that explores—and challenges—the contemporary American dream and the meaning of home and family." - Kirkus Reviews

"Telling a beautiful and heartbreaking story through fragments of the sisters' lives, Wong shows how they've been shaped by the many experiences they've lived through, and how different perspectives can change the way we understand the truth." - Booklist

"Cecily Wong's Kaleidoscope is an evocative novel about sisterhood, ambition, self-knowledge, and how we carry forward after loss. I imagine many readers will find themselves in these pages." - Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes

"Sparkling with sharp observations and deeply wise in its insights, Kaleidoscope is a moving portrayal of the tangled knot of sisterhood and the dizzying spiral of grief. Cecily Wong's dazzling second novel deftly explores the complex push-pull of family and ambition, and the ways we learn to define ourselves in—and out of—our loved ones' orbits." - Celeste Ng, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere

"Set in cities as vibrant as its characters, Kaleidoscope tracks a physical and emotional journey through grief, healing, and deeper understanding. In it, twin stories of sibling love and romantic love are woven together to ultimately tell a nuanced story of self-love. I ached for Morgan and Riley, for how strong their bond was despite the secrets they kept. Wong's wisdom of the heart shines." - Lucy Tan, author of What We Were Promised

Cecily Wong is the author of the novel Diamond Head, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, the recipient of an Elle Readers' Prize, and voted a best debut of the Brooklyn Book Festival. She is also the co-author of the New York Times bestseller Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, Self magazine, Real Simple, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of Barnard College and lives in Portland, Oregon.

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