Thursday, April 29, 2010

Caleb + Kate by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma

Caleb + Kate is a re-telling of Romeo and Juliet and a reminder that true love still exists. Kate and Caleb couldn't be more different. Being the heiress of the Monrovi Inn, Kate is both rich and popular. But she's bored. She wants more meaning in her life and she discovers that when she meets Caleb. Caleb makes her feel like she's never felt before. This could be a love that lasts a lifetime. The only problem is Caleb clearly doesn't fit into the life she's grown up with. In fact, he works at the Monrovi Inn with his father doing maintenance. And to top it all off, Caleb and Kate's family have a deep-rooted history that hasn't been resolved. With all the odds against them will Caleb and Kate be able to save their love for each other? What will it take?

This novel was very sweet. This was a great read that I think all teenagers who have ever been or dream about falling in love should read. It explores faith and love and God in a way that I've never read about in young adult literature. And although this is considered a Christian religious novel, it's not preachy or overbearing. It's a genuine novel about two teens who test their faith and the limits or lack thereof of God's love.

But this is also a novel about the human experience of love. Will we fight so hard for someone that we love? Caleb and Kate tell us that we will. They cherish each other and do things for each other that made me evaluate my own relationships. Selfishness and doubt will get in the way but in the end they overcome the forces working against them for each other. I wish Caleb had fallen in love with me!

Something I also really enjoyed was the writing. The characters were realistic and the pacing was great. At the beginning of each chapter there was a quote from Shakespeare which was fun to fit in with the current conflict going on in the novel. Caleb + Kate also spoke a great deal about family and friendship. When normalcy gets turned upside down as it did with Caleb and Kate, everyone is affected. I think that Kate and Caleb's family, being sometimes supportive and sometimes stubborn as most families are, was a great portrait of families struggling to make ends meet. And Kate's friends, at first calling Caleb simply a "cabana boy", come to understand their love for what it really is and try to accept their new relationship.

Overall, this novel was fun, quick, and sweet. It makes you think about your own relationships and gives you insight into how other people fit love into the world. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I think you will too!

Rating: 4.0

So I ask you all a question: do you think true love exists? Do you think people can stay in love even when everything is working against them? I'd love to hear what you think!


Kelsey said...

Nice review! I didn't realize this was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. How awesome!

I'll definitely have to track down a copy now :)

jessjordan said...

I don't quite see how this is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo's family was well off; they just were at odds with Juliet's family. In Caleb + Kate, Caleb seems, well, nothing like Romeo.

Don't get me wrong. This book looks sweet, the cover's really pretty, and I'm sure it's a nice romance. But I just don't get the whole "retelling" thing.

jessjordan said...

p.s. Thanks for the review. I hadn't heard of this one before.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I agree with that either. But I think it's compared with Romeo and Juliet because they families are at odds with each other. Like a modern re-telling.

Anonymous said...

I think it's definitely a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. The odds are the same and it's the same general story. But, just because some certain details are different can be seen as a good thing. If it was exactly the same as what Shakespeare wrote, it wouldn't be a story worth reading because you would have already read it. Also, yeah, it is in modern times, things would have had to be changed anyway.

It sounds like a great book. I've read some christian young adult books, and it always seems too preachy. But i read a preview of this book and found that the way the author tells the story makes it so that religion doesn't take over the entire book. She allowed it to really mix with the way things were told.

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