Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell

Kaleidoscope Song

South Africa is loud. Listen. Do you hear the song and dance of it? The chorus of Khayelitsha life? Every voice is different, its pitch and tone and intonation as distinct as the words we choose and how we wrap our mouths around them. But everybody has a voice, and everybody sings…Fifteen year old Neo loves music, it punctuates her life and shapes the way she views the wor...

Title:Kaleidoscope Song
Author:
Rating:

Kaleidoscope Song Reviews

  • Jami Leigh

    Lovely, lyrical, heart-shattering, and yet I want more.

    As a bi woman, I never felt connected with much of the queer community. I pass as straight when people don't know better, and for a long time, I was only out to a select group of people. This book perfectly captures the feeling I had back then. Should I? Would it be safe, or would it be screaming and recriminations and consequences? And then falling in love with someone who makes all of that fall away. Someone who's worth the risks and make

    Lovely, lyrical, heart-shattering, and yet I want more.

    As a bi woman, I never felt connected with much of the queer community. I pass as straight when people don't know better, and for a long time, I was only out to a select group of people. This book perfectly captures the feeling I had back then. Should I? Would it be safe, or would it be screaming and recriminations and consequences? And then falling in love with someone who makes all of that fall away. Someone who's worth the risks and makes you want to blast through the fear to claim your rightful identity. Someone you don't want to just pass off to family as a friend you're visiting, but to own that person as your romantic interest.

    This book catches all that and more. I had a hard time picking anything else up after this, I wanted to just wrap myself in the world for longer.

  • Lauren

    I didn't get to finish this one - Though I like music just fine I'm not a fan of YA books that are seeped in the subject; hence the 4 stars.

    However, Fox Benwell has beautiful writing. Like the book's subject, their words flow like lyrics and the love story like a poem. It's worth reading for the writing and alone.

    The setting was also enticing - the South African radio scene and the descriptions of the way the music makes the city and its youth come alive. Very enchanting.

  • Diana Laura (The Bookish Sisters)

    Full review here:

    I want to start off by saying that there’s no way in heck this review will do justice to this amazing, magnificent, beautiful book. So go buy it now. Even before you read this review because that’s how amazing it is. Trust me on this. You need this book in your life.

    Neo’s story might be fictional but there is nothing but the truth in Fox Benwell’s words. Even though she is a fictional character, there are actually a lot of Neos out there

    Full review here:

    I want to start off by saying that there’s no way in heck this review will do justice to this amazing, magnificent, beautiful book. So go buy it now. Even before you read this review because that’s how amazing it is. Trust me on this. You need this book in your life.

    Neo’s story might be fictional but there is nothing but the truth in Fox Benwell’s words. Even though she is a fictional character, there are actually a lot of Neos out there fighting for their rights and fighting to survive when they shouldn’t have to. They should be able to live their lives like any other human in this Earth. Some might have it easier than her, some have gone through horrible things we can’t even begin to imagine.

    Kaleidoscope Song is a small contribution to this cause (that shouldn’t even be a cause). It creates awareness. It makes you think and want to help and it makes you want to educate yourself.

    I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. If Benwell’s words resonated so much with me (a straight Mexican young woman), imagine how much it would mean to a lesbian or anyone from the LGBTQIA+ community.

    PLEASE pick up this book as soon as you can.

  • Diana Sousa

    Fox Benwell has such a way with words – they don’t just paint you a picture, they play you a symphony. And in a book all about music, and passion, and how everything can be turned into a song, into music if you just listen carefully, these words pick you up and take y

    Fox Benwell has such a way with words – they don’t just paint you a picture, they play you a symphony. And in a book all about music, and passion, and how everything can be turned into a song, into music if you just listen carefully, these words pick you up and take you along for an amazing journey that hits all the right notes.

    This book is for the music lovers, for young people in love, for people figuring themselves out, for those curious about the world, what it can offer you and how you can change it. For the explorers, for the quiet ones listening to their own world, music always in their heads, for the ones who want to dance and the ones who want to create, to leap from their boundaries. It’s for everyone, just as music is everywhere.

    Neo’s story is one of passion, music, love, self-discovery, exploration, the risks and power of raising your voice. She lives in a society that expects certain things of her, a path she can’t follow if she must stay true to herself. It’s the story of how she finds her own way through tradition and expectations, and how she makes her mark. It’s happy and it’s sad and it’s contemplative – but above all it’s true to itself and real.

    Fox Benwell is an amazing storyteller, and this book and its characters will stay with me for a long while. It has beautiful prose, a moving story, and a mixture of feelings and emotions that are proof and consequence of a book that reaches deep and moves you, that makes you think, wonder. I can’t recommend it enough.

  • Kuzu

    Have to think about this one... the tone was so gentle and romantic for most of the book that a corrective gang-rape and a murder in the last third really threw me for a loop

  • Olivia (Books and Big Ideas)

    Review also posted on my blog,

    **Disclaimer: I received an electronic ARC of this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    is a new release from Fox Benwell centered around the South African music scene and treatment of LGBTQ issues. Now, it appears that the synopsis (above) has changed since I requested the book, potential out of fear of it being a "spoiler," so I really want to mention this as it is a huge

    : one of the issues this book

    Review also posted on my blog,

    **Disclaimer: I received an electronic ARC of this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    is a new release from Fox Benwell centered around the South African music scene and treatment of LGBTQ issues. Now, it appears that the synopsis (above) has changed since I requested the book, potential out of fear of it being a "spoiler," so I really want to mention this as it is a huge

    : one of the issues this book deals with is corrective rape. (This is the practice of men raping queer women to "cure" them by showing them what they're supposed to like.) Even knowing this going on, it still came when I didn't quite expect it. It isn't terribly graphic, but it does not downplay the issue,and ultimately it ends with an uplift. Frankly, lesser authors would have left the story shortly after the tragedy instead of unpacking it and emphasizing that our community survives and endures. Furthermore, Benwell's author's note is great at explaining the complex situation in South African in regard to LGBTQ rights and attitudes, as well as his own privileges.

    What's immediately apparent in

    is the distinctive detail and voice. I admit to not knowing much about South Africa, so I am unsure how accurate some parts are, but the detail indicates it was well-researched. This can make it a little confusing and first--Facebook and cassette tapes?--but that just makes it a worthwhile window into a world we here in American don't think too much about. Neo's voice--especially her connection to music is also so vivid and beautiful, and particularly poignant to a fellow music-lover (and queer girl) myself.

    I loved seeing Neo grow into her own voice (or song, as the narrative says) as she got her own radio show and grew more confident in her identity. I very much rooted for the romance between Neo and Tale, and a lot of that attests to how well Neo's complex feelings are communicated. There is palpable tension--not just the sexual tension before they get together, but the fears of being found out. Some of the tension dissipated as Neo successfully sneaked out of her house over and over, but then there were new tensions. I do wish a got a little more of the minor characters in their group, but shout out to Neo's little brother, Jesu, is also so cute and loving and made me cry.

    There's also an extensive playlist/list of songs in the back that are mentioned or Benwell drew inspiration from--mostly South African tunes--that are going to be interesting to check out! I definitely recommend this book (if you are prepared for/comfortable with the subject matter) for its detail, voice, characterization, and storyline! It is also a pretty quick read because the chapters are quite short.

  • Melissa

    This one gets a trigger warning: rape and major character death. There will be spoilers in this review. The no-spoiler review: I cried through the last 70 or so pages of this book. It is a hard read. That said, it is also a beautifully written and evocative book about music and the power of voice and song, set in South Africa. A book about love that is forbidden and glorious.

    Kaleidoscope Song

    Fox Benwell

    ~fiction, teen, POC, LGBTQ, South Africa, music, 'corrective' rape, death, visible vs invisibl

    This one gets a trigger warning: rape and major character death. There will be spoilers in this review. The no-spoiler review: I cried through the last 70 or so pages of this book. It is a hard read. That said, it is also a beautifully written and evocative book about music and the power of voice and song, set in South Africa. A book about love that is forbidden and glorious.

    Kaleidoscope Song

    Fox Benwell

    ~fiction, teen, POC, LGBTQ, South Africa, music, 'corrective' rape, death, visible vs invisible, family, consequences, hope, love

    Music infuses every inch of this story. Neo has been in love with sound since she can remember. She can hear the rhythm and tone in everything, from the cadence of crowds to the swish of brooms and staccato beat of basketballs. Not to mention all of the lullabies sung by mothers putting their little ones to bed to all the songs played on the radio. The author captures the rhythms and beats in Neo's head perfectly with his writing style - sentence fragments and word choices and more.

    And when her favorite radio station is hosting a show at a local bar, she knows she has to sneak out and experience it. What she doesn't expect is to be utterly mesmerized by the lead singer of the first band, a girl named Tale.

    She can tell her bestbest friend, Janet (who is obsessed with the radio show's host, Max), everything about that night except Tale. She knows that she must keep that part of her life utterly hidden, even from the person she's known longest and best. Her feelings are dangerous in every way.

    When she meets Tale, and her band, she finds a kind of acceptance and love she never expected. And when she gets a job, through her strict father who works the front desk at the radio station - surrounded by music - it seems like her life couldn't be better.

    But people, including her restrictive parents and overbearing boss, are watching her. Especially as she finds her voice and produces her own show. She decides to ignore warnings from friends and others and use her show as a platform, not understanding the consequences. And, walking back home from a Pride march hand-in-hand with Tale, the worst happens. It's horrific and horrifying. [[spoilers]] They are surrounded by men and Neo is raped while she listens to Tale being beaten to death. Some of the men, she knows. And works with.

    The hopeful part is that Neo learns the power of her voice and how to use it, at the very end. She decides to live and use her experiences to fuel engender hope and help for others like her.

    There is a very good afterword from the author, acknowledging his privilege as a white British man (FtM, trans), with resources for LGBTQ folks. There is also a comprehensive playlist of the music Neo loves at the end.

    I do recommend this book.

  • Abby

    (I rated this book 3.5 stars).

    I'm really confused about my feelings for this one. The story itself was beautiful, raw, and emotional, albeit incredibly difficult to read (as a victim of corrective rape myself). But something about it rubbed me the wrong way.

    Spoilers below!

    Normally I am incredibly outspoken about the constant killing of lesbians in stories. Not as much so here; I understand that this wasn't meant to have a happy ending and the summary makes that very clear. However, I don't know

    (I rated this book 3.5 stars).

    I'm really confused about my feelings for this one. The story itself was beautiful, raw, and emotional, albeit incredibly difficult to read (as a victim of corrective rape myself). But something about it rubbed me the wrong way.

    Spoilers below!

    Normally I am incredibly outspoken about the constant killing of lesbians in stories. Not as much so here; I understand that this wasn't meant to have a happy ending and the summary makes that very clear. However, I don't know how I feel about a man, especially a white man, telling this story. I feel like it wasn't his to tell, even if he did live some of his life presenting as a gay woman and even if there was evidently a lot of care taken to make sure everything was written with sensitivities to the culture in mind. I'd like to see a story like this told by an actual South African lesbian; not by a white man (but of course black lesbians are almost never picked up by publishers lol). Men writing tragic lesbian stories rubs me the wrong way in general. WHITE men writing tragic black lesbian stories rubs me the wrong way even more.

  • Caitie Pugh

    This book wasn't bad by any means, I think it sheds light on a disturbing/somewhat unknown part of some cultures. I guess the part I didn't like was the music, not that it was

    it just got old after a while. I got the whole picture of "music isn't your future, but the main character does stuff anyway." I got it--teenagers make mistakes. However, I

    giving the author props for discussing corrective rape, a term I'd never heard before. I feel bad for not liking this more, and for not bein

    This book wasn't bad by any means, I think it sheds light on a disturbing/somewhat unknown part of some cultures. I guess the part I didn't like was the music, not that it was

    it just got old after a while. I got the whole picture of "music isn't your future, but the main character does stuff anyway." I got it--teenagers make mistakes. However, I

    giving the author props for discussing corrective rape, a term I'd never heard before. I feel bad for not liking this more, and for not being able to pinpoint what exactly it was that I didn't like. But sometimes there are just books that you cannot find a reason for....so I'm sorry.

    but maybe it was the writing that I didn't like? Not sure.

  • Mimi Thebo

    We have to write the world we know, not just the world we are. If every author had to stick to their biographical or biological details, literature would be an impoverished place. That said, when you write another culture, you have to do it well and with great sensitivity, and Fox Benwell does do it well and with great sensitivity. This is an extraordinary book.

    Benwell takes us on a journey to South Africa and into the experience of Neo, a music-loving teen who discovers she loves another girl.

    We have to write the world we know, not just the world we are. If every author had to stick to their biographical or biological details, literature would be an impoverished place. That said, when you write another culture, you have to do it well and with great sensitivity, and Fox Benwell does do it well and with great sensitivity. This is an extraordinary book.

    Benwell takes us on a journey to South Africa and into the experience of Neo, a music-loving teen who discovers she loves another girl.

    Beautifully written, steeped in atmosphere and with fully-rounded characters, this is one of those rare novels to which I could completely surrender. I loved Neo and her (flawed, but believable) family, friends and workmates and let myself be completely carried away by the sounds, the smells and the story.

    So when the painful bit came, it hurt as badly as any author could want. It has been over a fortnight, and my eyes still fill with tears when I think about it.

    This is a real, true, beautiful book based on meticulous research that brings the pain of girls in Neo's situation alive for any reader who wants to see.

Books Finder is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.