Book Reviews · Contemporary · Fiction · New Adult

The Colours We See | Kaisa Winter | Book Review

“The Colours We See” is a coming of age, YA contemporary novel that sheds light on some difficult themes such as drug addiction, alcohol, family problems, discussions about suicide and death.

I read this book with Chai N Books – Book Club as our May 2021 BOTM.

About The Book:

Author: Kaisa Winter.
Pages: 356.
Genre: New Adult | Contemporary | Coming of Age.

Purchasing Links

TW: Suicide Mention, Self harm, Dysfunctional Families, Death, and Drugs.


Hazel lands in America with nothing but a backpack, a craving for adventure, and a past she would rather forget. She is eager to live life as she always imagined it – free, wild, unpredictable.

When brilliant but aloof singer-songwriter Liam invites her to join his band as they tour all over the States, she doesn’t have to think twice. Suddenly she’s travelling, performing, and falling hard for this talented, complicated boy. But when things begin to spiral out of control, Hazel realises that no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun herself.

THE COLOURS WE SEE is an under-the-skin love story brimming with music, art, parties and heartbreak. How far can we go to escape ourselves before it’s too late to turn back? 

My Thoughts:

Hazel decides to take a road trip across America with only her backpack, hoping to live and discover herself while getting away from her dominating mother. She spends her first few days in America with her cousin, and when he hears her singing, they end up at an open stage in a pub. Hazel meets touring singer Liam, who is mesmerised by her skills. They have an instant attraction when they meet.

Hazel is invited to join the tour and, of course, she can’t say no because this may be her only chance to travel throughout the United States with no ties to the past. However, it is clear that it is not a perfect fairytale. As she deals with her emotions and Liam, a damaged soul with a strong drug addiction, the past comes up with her in many ways.

“He felt like a shard from a broken vase; forever cut off from the shape he could have been a part of, unable to find his place in the great puzzle, his edges dangerously sharp.”

― Kaisa Winter, The Colours We See

As the story progresses, we learn more about Hazel’s life and her past through various flashback chapters.


This novel addresses several difficult issues, including as drug and alcohol misuse, as well as the struggle with trauma and dysfunctional parents.

Besides these intense themes, friendship is the heart of the novel. The equation between the band mates as they travel through the roads is just so family like and heart-warming. This is truly a special part of the novel.

The friendship aspect has more depth than the relationship between Hazel and Liam. For me, that was underdeveloped.

It also touches on the themes of caring for others as they; about caring for yourself; about growing in understanding of each other and learning to identify troubling and manipulative behaviour. 


Kaisa Winter’s writing is amazing and lyrical. The way she pens down the emotions of the characters is just commendable.

“It’s easier to be sad in a foreign place. Everything feels new and less real, and you can hold on to the illusion that all your problems will go away at the next stop; just keep going down the endless road, chasing the mirage.”

― Kaisa Winter, The Colours We See

The comparisons made in the book are charming and are a beautiful part of the book.

“I wished he would speak to me, but as always when something troubled him, he turned into himself, rolling up like a hedgehog, spikes pointing outward. I knew better than to try and poke him.”

― Kaisa Winter, The Colours We See

There are beautiful descriptions of various locations like Los Angeles, New Orleans, California, etc. that will make your heart yearn for a long trip out with family/friends.


The characters are well developed with each having their own backstory.

Hazel is trying to escape the over protective and selfish claws of her mother. She grows with the story and develops from a lost traveller into a mature person.

Liam, who is struggling with his own life, fighting with his super-religious parents, is addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Other characters as Ivy, Lawson, are just as important as the MCs. They support the main characters well and blend smoothly into the plot.

What I didn’t Like:
*Sorry for some spoilers*

It’s not that I didn’t like, but the romance between Hazel and Liam didn’t work for me. I like them as individual characters but not as a pair. I would like to think of it as a deep friendship rather than a romantic relationship. (Of course ignoring the sex here).

And, the ending is something major and should be surprising, but didn’t hit me as hard as it should. Death of a character is something big, but here it didn’t affect me at all.

About The Author:

Kaisa Winter is a Swedish-born, UK-based, multi-creative scatterbrain. Before penning her debut novel, The Colours We See, she studied art and film production and produced a number of award-winning short films. She loves nature and the open road and has travelled five continents. Exploring the world and the human psyche sets her heart on fire and inspires her writing. She is now working on her next novel.

Final Verdict:

The Colours We See is a well-balanced and light-hearted story because it was just so pleasant to get absorbed in the characters and their struggles. Everything is portrayed as very real and convincing. I love the title, which is just so deep and beautiful in itself, and even the blue color cover page.

It is a story that is incredibly honest and relatable and there is no doubt that many readers will relate to it.

What to expect?

  • 🧑‍🎤Music and Shows
  • 🚌Road Trip
  • 💊Drugs
  • 👪Problematic Parents
  • 🧑‍🤝‍🧑Friendships
  • 👫Good Girl-Bad Guy Trope
  • ✍️Amazing Writing
  • 🎨Art

Definitely recommending to you all.

Congratulations to the Author for this amazing debut work.

5 thoughts on “The Colours We See | Kaisa Winter | Book Review

  1. I like the story and hazel character as her decision to travel to America although sounds like a great read.


  2. So happy to see you enjoying this book! I absolutely love Hazel and Liam, even though I always shipped Hazel and Lawson! Haha! I hope Kaisa writes a sequel!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I could resonate with Hazel over the fact that I want to go on a cross country trip of the US! Having never left India, going and exploring a totally new country is something I’m really looking forward to! 💃🏾

    Liked by 1 person

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