Rating – 4 stars
I had been meaning to read this book for a while now, only never got around to it. And I am so glad I did it. I was kinda losing my faith in the YA genre to be honest.
Reason being, most books are half baked attempts at writing or they are simply too unrealistic. One major grievance I have with the genre is the almost always non-existent parents. Like really why do over 80% YA books have parents that are MIA is beyond me. I get it the book is not about them or even for mature audiences but is it so hard to have a sentence which explains the reason of them being MIA without it sounding like its lame.
I get it, there are parents who are really not cut out to be, they can be so consumed in their own life they don’t bother much with the existence of their own kids, their own flesh and blood. There can be dead parents, a parent gone missing, someone who walked out, etc, etc, but 80 % of the writers just forget them. Like the need to offer an explanation does not exist.
My other issue with the genre is that often writers focus only on the hormones factor. There is definitely a lot of curiosity that develops around the time. The opposite sex suddenly becomes more interesting and the words that come to mean a lot are – first base, second and all the way. Yeah we get it, but can there be at least some semblance to a plot while all of that happens.
Jessica Sorensen came to my rescue literally, with this book. Just when I was beginning to think maybe I should cut back on my YA stack. Her book, has been definitely one of the most realistic portrayals of teen characters having a hard time in their life that I have come across. Prior to this I had never picked up any books by her, now I will try to read her work as often as possible, so long as it engages me.
In The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, the first in a series – Sorenson introduces us to Callie Lawrence and Kayden Owens, the protagonists of the series which deals with the issue of abuse.
Both Callie & Kayden have known each other all their life, but it isn’t until an incident one evening at a party, thrown by Kayden’ parents do they really start to know each other.
In a horrific moment, Callie walks in on Kayden being brutally assaulted by his dad and despite being afraid, intervenes and saves Kayden from further injuries and possibly death.
Prior to this, Callie has known the Owens to be the picture perfect happy family, they have had dinners at her place and her family has been invited to Kayden’ quite a few times as well; but the horrific reality of the Owen household was always concealed until this moment.
Kayden, the youngest of the three brothers, has been on the receiving end of his father’ wrath for as long as he can remember, but with his elder brothers out of picture, he is done for. His brothers fed up and tired of the abuse by their father, and their mother’ negligence to stand up for them or herself, moved out as soon as they turned 18. And while they could have reported their dad, to save their younger brother, they did nothing.
Their dad dons a completely different image for his public persona by hosting parties, donating to charities etc. So no one on the outside can even think of him being such a monster to his own kids.
While Callie has really loving parents and an older brother who do care for her, she has her own issues that plague her. She does not say it explicitly for the majority of the novel, but you get it that she was raped at the age of 12, on her birthday. In her own room, while there was a party going on outside, with the other children playing hide and seek.
The heinous act is committed by a person known to Callie, so well and his words and act not only make her feel dirty but also so repulsed by what has happened to her that she never comes out in the open with what happened to her to anyone. Except for her best friend Seth.
Seth who has scars of his own. The reminder of a horrific incident, that was inflicted upon him due to his sexuality. He too is a victim, just like Callie. He is the one person Callie is most comfortable with. They have a to-do list of things, that they have made, to help each other and themselves, overcome their fears and face their worst possible nightmares.
Until the night of the intervention, Callie and Kayden are mere acquaintances. She knows him as being a player on the football team her dad coaches, and she is known to him as the town freak for the major part. But that one moment, wherein Callie saves Kayden changes everything.
Kayden never had anyone standing up for him, he was so used to his dad beating the shit out of him, it never even occurred to him, someday someone could & would save him. He feels thankful to Callie and slowly starts to get to know her better while they attend college. He starts noticing Callie, and is attracted to her. The feeling is mutual. But there are obstacles.
For starters, Kayden is dating Daisy, a pretty girl who is a bitch (cliché, of course) and Callie is understandably freaked out at the mere thought of being close to anyone, let alone being intimate.
How these two mutually help each other overcome the trauma of their terrible pasts, is the story of the book. Although it doesn’t end there. Nope.
The cliffhanger though not surprising is terrifying in maddening proportions.
What I loved about Sorensen’ book was that though there is a lot of angst and sexual tension, it’s not the only thing going on for the book.
Together Callie & Kayden have it in them to help each other out, but that does not necessarily mean they can have a happy ending. And while there is a lot of attraction that keeps pulling them together, there is a history they both have which helps them both understand each other and be a really great couple if they can make it. But they will have to work for it. Their love can be perhaps the best thing that happened to them or it could be possibly the worst. It all depends, whether they can help each other heal at all or would their relationship unravel both of them in the worst possible way, seeing that they can mutual dependence on each other comes across as being too symbiotic, which can be quite dangerous too.